Talk:K. Eric Drexler

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search


What does the K stand for?? Georgia guy 18:10, 20 Mar 2005 (UTC)

K stands for Kim.

"Drexler's work on nanotechnology has been criticized as naive by scientists such as Nobel Prize winner Richard Smalley. Smalley argued that nanomachines would have to resemble chemical enzymes more than Drexler's idealized assemblers. Drexler and his followers have launched repeated attacks against Smalley in the media. Most professional nanoscientists have distanced themselves from Drexler in recent years, and regard him more as a publicity seeker than a serious scientist."

Can someone cite places or even a place where Drexler or "his followers" attacked Smalley in the media? Attacking what he said about nanotechnology/chemistry I can see, but this reads as ad hominem. I am going to edit this. If someone wants to revert it, please cite sources for such matters as "publicity seeker." Hkhenson 17:37, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

Well thank god there are people out there who have a scientific understanding and at least a grasp of basic physics. Drexlers view of the world is not just naive it is impossible. That`s not to say that you cannot micromaschine let`s say a gear, it is just that it will never be able to be used in a more complex maschine that actually produces something. Drexler actually imagines a minaturization of facilities like we have today just way smaller - on the nanometer scale. That shows a total lack of understanding real world nanotechnology but worse of all is like believing in the easter bunny at the age of 40.Slicky 04:59, 7 September 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, molecule-sized devices could never be able to produce something as complex as, say, a protein, or a DNA strand, or a human cell.
Oh, wait a minute... — Xaonon (Talk) 04:20, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
The four part debate on Chemical and Engineering news reffered to in the article is a good discussion of the possible critisms of Drexler's views. If somone could be bothered to sumerise it, it would make a more well referenced and impartial discussion of this area. Ralphmcd (talk) 02:27, 13 February 2007 (UTC).
Xaonon: Cells and biomolecules are produced by chemistry (albeit of the supramolecular variety) and thermodynamics, not by mechanics. There is a vast difference!
It is certainly true to say that the professional scientific community wants nothing to do with Drexler, although I couldn't provide a source for that statement. I have been working in the field since his infamous book came out, I have worked and met with many of the top names in the game, and I am yet to meet someone I respect scientifically who thinks they can learn from Drexler. All the same, it's a bit much to attack him for his naivety - if you look at his education, you will realize that you couldn't expect him to have understood the differences between working on the bulk and the nanoscale (although I suppose you could argue that he should have looked into it). He did do some imaginative science fiction writing, and generated a lot of public interest in nanotechnology (which in turn has generated a lot of funding for many of us) - it just needs to be clear that that's what is was, and not hard science.
TheBendster (talk) 23 September 2007, 11:55 (UTC)
Yeah, Drexlers ideas are very naive and it's obvious to anyone with a basic understanding of chemistry or physics. His assembler animation is just lol, down there everything is in furious thermal motion and no flat surface exists, he should have at least tried to map the atoms in his "tools". The whole idea that nanomachines can build evolving nanomachines is even more ridiculous and dangerous also as it scares people with a scenario that is COMPLETELY impossible. Nature produces the best possible evolving nanomachines, and they are anything but gray goo. To think that mechanical machines or even proper nanomachines could do better then nature at evolution or even evolve at all is extremely naive. Molecular assembly is certainly possible but it's nothing like Drexler's nanoassembler, instead its a clever mix of chemistry, biology and electronics. If Drexler were serious about his mission he would have learned chemistry, physics and molecular biology by now and know what is wrong with his ideas so it's no excuse that his education is inadequate.
And finally the real father of nanotechnology is and always will be R.P.Feynman, the real Genius, his brilliant physics courses are a must read for everyone interested in the ways of Nature. (talk) 21:50, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

There are two URLs for references to the 1981 PNAS paper (which was what started Eric down this path -- not Engines of Creation in 1986) that are missing!

The URLs are the authoratative PNAS copy (abstract with a pointer to what I think is an image scanned PDF copy): [1] the web site has a more htmlized version: [2]

I believe the PNAS version has a list of papers which refer to Eric's paper while the IMM version may have URL references to external sources.

Robert (talk) 17:35, 11 July 2008 (UTC)


Sorry, I fail to understand what specific professional disagreement, detailed as it my be, is doing on a personal biography wikipedia value. It looks woefully out of place. Scientifically speaking the arguments made there are near to complete rubbish. But even so those arguments are not relevant and eggriogiously over detailed to a biography page. My main qualm with the controversy section is the sheer length of it and the level of irrelevant specifics. Both make it out to look like there's some actual controversy on the person in question (Eric K. Drexler). When in fact it's just one person with too much free time bickering about his ideas. Just my 0.02$ as a wikipedia reader. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:43, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

I completely agree with the last comment. The section is strangely long. Some wiki editor should do something about it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:34, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

Actually, the controversy over Drexler is perhaps one of the most important things about him over the last decade and has resulted in a huge discussion in the nano community. While in the 90s he was largely respected, in the early 2000s he has been insistently shoved aside by the nano community to the point that he has become rather marginalized. If you want proof of this just read the above talk section about "K"--it randomly asides into Drexler bashing. Really, this is actually somewhat old news. The bulk of this controversy happened from 2000-2005. Now that all the nanoexcitement has fizzled a good bit its become less of an issue. However, I think the controversy section is still warranted for that reason.--Etherfire (talk) 00:47, 24 June 2011 (UTC)

Having reread the entire section again, I see absolutely nothing in it, after the first paragraph, that has anything to do with Drexler. The simple way to solve this problem is to trim the whole thing down to the brief description, as in the first graf, then link to the separate page. Another solution would be to move the entire section to the nanotechnology page. Yes, mentioning that Drexler-Smalley exchanged had triggered a major internal debate within the field is important, but that's where its relevance to Drexler ends. Alex.deWitte (talk) 04:36, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

Mechanosynthesis grant[edit]

I propose adding the following sentence to the end of the Controversy section:

'In 2008 UK government funding of 1.5 million pounds over six years was provided for research working towards mechanized mechanosynthesis. The project leader is Professor Moriarty of the University of Nottingham in partnership with the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing, amongst others.' See — Preceding unsigned comment added by Star A Star (talkcontribs) 08:17, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

Nanotechnology at MIT[edit]

Although much of the field credits Drexler's book (1986) as the initial impetus, Drexler had founded the MIT Nanotechnology Group about two years earlier. There is almost no information about the group on-line. The group has no web page that I could find, although many of its original members (excluding then-students) may still be at MIT. In the early years, Drexler was a rather charismatic visionary, but his relevance faded as the field had become more accepted. Alex.deWitte (talk) 04:43, 30 November 2011 (UTC)