May 2009

Homo floresiensis, Crows,
and the Baldwin Effect

May 30, 2009

Tool maker Innovative tool maker Some scientists have expressed surprise that Homo floresiensis made and used stone tools despite having remarkably small brain. I can see two reasons why this should be no cause for astonishment: One is the intelligence of crows, the other is the Baldwin Effect. Crows An adult H. sapiens brain typically […]

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How to Learn About Everything

May 27, 2009

The internet almost makes it too easy My recent post “How to Understand Everything (and Why)” discussed an untaught, integrative kind of knowledge, and why it is so important in science and engineering — how it can leverage specialized knowledge and improve the trade-off between bold innovation and costly blunders. I discussed the nature of […]

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A Third Revolution in DNA Nanotechnology

May 22, 2009

3D structural DNA nanotechnology Designs and TEM micrographs (100 nm scale bars) “Self-assembly of DNA into nanoscale three-dimensional shapes”SM Douglas, et al., Nature, 459:414–418 (2009). In a new paper, Shawn Douglas and his colleagues at William Shih’s lab have demonstrated the first systematic method for building multilayer 3D nanostructures of DNA. In his commentary, Tom […]

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A Map of Science

May 20, 2009

A comment on my previous post reminded me of a wonderful visualization that amounts to a map of the whole of science, generated by citation-based clustering of almost a million papers. The image above is a view of an extraordinarily information-dense representation, not just of connections among fields, but of their content. At 13,566,672 pixels, […]

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How to Understand Everything (and why)

May 17, 2009

Too much to know, lots to know about In science and technology, there is a broad and integrative kind of knowledge that can be learned, but isn’t taught. It’s important, though, because it makes creative work more productive and makes costly blunders less likely. Formal education in science and engineering centers on teaching facts and […]

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The Technology Roadmap Translated: Russian

May 13, 2009

The Technology Roadmap for Productive Nanosystems explores how current laboratory techniques for atomically precise fabrication can be extended to develop progressively more powerful fabrication technologies; it focuses on current capabilities and next-stage applications, then outlines paths toward high-throughput molecular manufacturing. The Russian Academy of Sciences has now made a translation of the Technology Roadmap [pdf] […]

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A DNA Origami Box

May 10, 2009

A DNA origami box Design (A), with a cut-open and full view (B, C) of a cryo-EM map* “Self-assembly of a nanoscale DNA box with a controllable lid”ES Andersen, et al., Nature, 459:73–76 (2009). A paper in the current issue of Nature reports the fabrication of DNA origami boxes ~35 nm on a side; to my […]

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Slides for Berkeley Talk
on Molecular Nanosystems

May 6, 2009

Click to download pdf Framework-directed self assembly I’ve now posted the slides for my Berkeley talk on objectives and experimental directions in biomolecular/inorganic composite nanosystems: Click here to download. The talk was a keynote at the 2009 Berkeley Nanotechnology Forum. I’ve described some of the concepts and motivations in an earlier post, and this technology […]

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Nanotechnology and Nuclear Reactions

May 4, 2009

Not nanoscale Both nanotechnologies and nuclear reactions involve interactions between small things, but so far as I can see, they won’t have much interaction with each other at a really basic level. Nanotechnologies have potential applications to processing materials and making devices that are useful in nuclear technologies, but the nuclear interactions themselves are in […]

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