Robert Freitas

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Robert A. Freitas Jr. (born 1952) is a Senior Research Fellow at the nonprofit foundation Institute for Molecular Manufacturing in Palo Alto, California,[1][non-primary source needed] a faculty member at Singularity University,[2][non-primary source needed] and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation.[3][non-primary source needed]


Freitas holds a 1974 Bachelor's degree majoring in both physics and psychology from Harvey Mudd College, and a 1978 Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from Santa Clara University School of Law. He has written more than 150 technical papers, book chapters, or popular articles on a diverse set of scientific, engineering, and legal topics. He co-edited the 1980 NASA feasibility analysis of self-replicating space factories[4][importance?] and later published the first technical design study of a hypothetical medical nanorobot, the respirocyte, in a refereed medical journal.[5][non-primary source needed]

Freitas began writing his Nanomedicine book series in 1994. Volume I, published in October 1999 by Landes Bioscience while Freitas was a Research Fellow at the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing, was the first book-length technical discussion of the potential medical applications of hypothetical molecular nanotechnology, medical nanorobotics, and nanomedicine.[citation needed] Volume IIA was published in October 2003 by Landes Bioscience while Freitas was serving as a research scientist at Zyvex Corp., a nanotechnology company headquartered in Richardson, Texas, during 2000-2004.[citation needed][importance?]

In 2004, Freitas and Ralph Merkle coauthored and published Kinematic Self-Replicating Machines, a comprehensive survey of the field of physical and hypothetical self-replicating machines.[6] In 2006, Freitas and Merkle co-founded the Nanofactory Collaboration,[7][non-primary source needed] a research program to develop a working diamondoid nanofactory.

In 2009, Freitas was awarded the Feynman Prize[8] in Nanotechnology[9][non-primary source needed] for his work in mechanosynthesis, nanomedicine, and self-replicating machines.

In 2010, Freitas was issued the first U.S. patent on diamond mechanosynthesis.[10][importance?][11][non-primary source needed] As of 2017, Freitas holds 10 issued patents in the fields of mechanosynthesis and medical nanorobotics.[importance?]

Freitas created the sentience quotient (SQ) concept in 1977-78 as a way to describe the information processing rate in living organisms or computers. In the 1980s he performed several telescopic SETI searches for extraterrestrial artifacts and published extensively on xenology.[importance?]


  • Robert A. Freitas Jr., Nanomedicine, Volume I: Basic Capabilities (Landes Bioscience, 1999) ISBN 1-57059-645-X
  • Robert A. Freitas Jr., Nanomedicine, Vol. IIA: Biocompatibility (Landes Bioscience, 2003) ISBN 1-57059-700-6
  • Robert A. Freitas Jr., Ralph C. Merkle, Kinematic Self-Replicating Machines (Landes Bioscience, 2004) ISBN 1-57059-690-5
  • Robert A. Freitas Jr., Nanomedicine: Biocompatibility (S Karger Pub, 2004) ISBN 3-8055-7722-2

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