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|Subject: The MNT Bookshelf- Part 2 (NanoMedicine)||Date: 3/14/2000 3:23 AM|
|Author: GregTrocchia||Number: 76 of 3861|
Since we have a request:
>I just found it, so I can't comment on its quality, but there is another full-text book on the subject on-line @ http://www.nanomedicine.com/
Perhaps we can get some folk to sign up to review some of these for the board...
The subject of tonight's section of the MNT Bookshelf is Robert A. Freitas Jr's book Nanomedicine Volume 1: Basic Capabilities. The information in the site is indeed a copy of what is in the book. I do not believe the entire content of Volume 1 is currently on the website, indeed the website makes clear that it is still a work in progress. Access to the text is clumsier (if less expensive) than the physical book.
With that I will discuss Volume 1 in the expectation that what I say will hold for the website, once said website is complete. First off, let me be clear that I concur unreservedly with The Foresight Update's headline: Nanomedicine is indeed "A Classic in the Making". That said I feel compelled to point out that Nanomedicine is not for everyone. If a dense tome with lots of equations, tables, and technical terms galore is something you find off-putting, I would definitely suggest one at least check out the website prior to getting the book. If you are able and willing to put the effort into reading this book, you will be amply rewarded with a breadth of understanding and vision of what is possible that is little short of breathtaking.
Of all the potential revolutions to which MNT can give rise, perhaps none has the transformative potential of the medical applications. Considering what I believe the cornucopia box (a prospective non-medical application) could do, asserting the primacy of medical applications is saying something. Still, in order for anything else to make a difference, one must first be alive. That an MNT based medical technology could give us "control of the aging process" (this is promised to be in a Chapter, 29, in Volume 3) is potentially the most radical change to the human condition since the start of the human race. The fact that immortal is often used as synonymous for divine illustrates this most clearly.
In the community of skeptics, it is axiomatic that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof". Given the audacity implied by the topics listed for Volume 3, it is entirely appropriate that Frietas first revisit the territory covered by Nanosystems and make the case that MNT will some day be developed. From there, he proceeds by doing an in-depth study of the basic capabilities and limitations in areas such as: Sensors, Power, Locomotion/Manipulation, Communication, and Computation. This Herculean effort fills Volume 1. Volume 2 will examine system engineering level concerns in similar depth. Volume 3 deals with the applications implied by the capacities discussed in Volumes 1 and 2. Given how extraordinary the contents of Volume 3 are likely to be, using the Nanosystems approach (that is rigorously building a case for one's claims, step by step, arguably to the point of overkill) is entirely justified. This approach, of course, has the side effect of leaving me impatient for the publication of Volumes 2 and 3, which won't be this year, you can be quite sure of that.
There are wonderful parcels of information throughout Nanomedicine: the fact that waste heat may well be the limiting factor for in vivo nanobots, that isotope separation atom-by-atom using mass as the sort criteria ought to be doable, that nanobots will fit handily inside cells but will find moving around inside the cell without causing disruption to be a (and perhaps the major) challenge. Such is the quality and number of this information that I would hazard to say that from now on anyone who writes about the medical implications of MNT without, at least, being aware of the contents of Nanomedicine is talking through his/her hat.
Greg- for the record, I have not met Freitas (though I hope to in the future) nor am I associated with Landes (his publisher) or Zyvex (his NEW employer)
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