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Nanotechnology: Playing God?

With the blue sky potential of nanotechnology, there’s always plenty of hype for the unwary to buy into.  Yet if you’re too dismissive, you can miss the real news when it happens.  Consider then what appears to be a major theoretical advance in nanotechnology.

A Princeton scientist has demonstrated by computer modeling a new way to manipulate the spontaneous arrangement or “self-assembly” of nanoparticle configurations.  Using what they have dubbed “inverse statistical mechanics,” his team generated a two-dimensional version of the three-dimensional honeycomb lattice (instead of a ho-hum triangular lattice), thus achieving in two dimensions what could be world-changing in three.

Though theoretical rather than practical, this advance is a big deal, as it seems to greatly expand the scope of what future experiments can attempt. One scientist says, “In a sense this would allow you to play God.”  Read the whole article.

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Mr. Moffat is a freelance writer in Bethesda, Md.

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