The Engines Of Creation

Will Eric Drexler's nanotechnology do for the next century what silicon chips did for this?

Space and time are relative. Our behavior is ruled by our subconscious mind. The most powerful machines are built one atom at a time. When the history of human civilization is rewritten a few centuries hence, the name Eric Drexler just might appear alongside those of Einstein and Freud. Drexler, 43, is the founding father of nanotechnology, the idea of using individual atoms and molecules to build practical machines.

Drexler was an M.I.T. undergraduate studying genetic engineering in the mid-1970s when he had his epiphany: if you could engineer DNA on a molecular level, why not build machines out of...

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