Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology

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Overview

This brilliant work heralds the new age of nanotechnology, which will give us thorough and inexpensive control of the structure of matter.  Drexler examines the enormous implications of these developments for medicine, the economy, and the environment, and makes astounding yet well-founded projections for the future.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Nanotechnology, or molecular technology, involves the manipulation of individual atoms and molecules, something the human body already does.In Engines of Creation , Drexler attempts to predict, justify, quantify, and caution us about this important new field in engineering. His book could have been the first and foremost discussion of this fascinating subject. But Drexler strays from the topic with annoying regularity. He devotes too little space to the possibilities of nanotechnology and too much to esoteric and opinionated discussions of philosophy, politics, information science, defense, human relations, etc. Nanotechnology will indeed become a reality, and the public needs to be informed. It is therefore unfortunate that Engines of Creation was not written more clearly or directly. Kurt O. Baumgartner, International Minerals & Chemical Corp., Terre Haute, Ind.
Michael Swaine

Little Engines That Could

A scientist becomes a perfect superman after injecting himself with self-replicating microscopic machines that continually repair his organs. A man rents a device that sets tiny machines loose in his brain, rewiring it so that he becomes, for a brief time, a different person. A cell-repair nanotech machine -- a "nanny" -- fed with one person's DNA and set to repairing another's cells, begins turning the second person into the first. Infoviruses systematically reprogram human genes, redirecting evolution. Society is reshaped from top to bottom by nanotechnology. Experimental nanomachines escape from the lab and destroy the world.

Mere science fiction, you say? Of course. Specifically, these are the plots of several science fiction stories appearing in Nanotech, a collection of cautionary tales in the subgenre of nanotechnology-based science fiction, edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozios (Ace Books, 1998; ISBN 0-441-00585-3). Science fiction writers were profoundly influenced by the publication of Eric Drexler's Engines of Creation. In that book and in the more technical Nanosystems: Molecular Machinery, Manufacturing, and Computation (John Wiley & Sons, 1992; ISBN 0-47-157-518-6), Drexler defined the field of nanotechnology, mapped out its challenges, and articulated its most promising avenues of research. A number of science fiction writers staked out nanotech as their chosen science to fictionalize, and a subgenre was born.

Others besides science fiction writers were influenced by Engines of Creation. Researchers around the world have been exploring the possibilities for nanotechnology since the book's publication. Last fall, Drexler's Foresight Institute brought the leading researchers together to explore the state of the art in nanotechnology today. So far, none of the predictions of nanotech science fiction have come true. So far.
— Dr. Dobb's Electronic Review of Computer Books

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385199735
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/28/1987
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 298
  • Sales rank: 1,054,137
  • Product dimensions: 5.17 (w) x 7.96 (h) x 0.69 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2005

    great book

    I was not sure what exactly be created with nanaotechnology, but after reading this book it really opened my mind to the endless possibilties. You don't need a background of science to understand this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2004

    #1 Nanotech Nonfiction

    THE best nonfiction intro to nanotechnology, by the man who started it all, K. Eric Drexler. A must-have book on the topic. If you'd like a dramatic presentation of what nanotech will be able to do once it's here, try the new novel NANO by John Robert Marlow ('the most important piece of fiction written to date' says Nanotechnology Now's online review). ENGINES is the best nonfiction book on this topic; NANO the best fiction. If you want the full picture, read both.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2003

    A revolutionary book...

    Despite a massive assault by its critics, 'Engines of Creation' is a truly revolutionary work, and Eric Drexler should be commended for launching a worldwide discussion on the topic of molecular manufacturing, or molecular nanotechnology (MNT), as some refer to it. First of all, this is a book that needs to be updated (the opening chapters deal in-depth with protein design and a later chapter tries to paint a picture of a future network of information known as 'the Internet'). But the remainder of the book is timeless. The true merit of 'Engines of Creation' comes not from the argument of whether or not manipulation of individual molecules is possible. We already know that it is. Our bodies are filled with nature¿s own molecular machines. But the true worth of this book stems from its assumption that such technology will develop into a worldwide enterprise and will have enormous consequences for the human experience. The importance of the examination and study of those consequences cannot be overstated, and Drexler formed the Foresight Institute in an attempt to grapple with many of these issues. (Although personally, I recommend The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology as the best 'think-tank' on MNT¿s benefits and dangers). The power to thoroughly and inexpensively control the structure of matter will effect every aspect of the human experience, and although it is a worthy endeavor to speculate on the implications for medicine, space exploration, ending poverty, etc., none of these benefits will be realized if we fail to work out a reasonable system of governance in the nanotechnic era. The development of molecular manufacturing will lead to the creation of new weapons of destructive power, possibly give rise to demagogues, and provide the conditions necessary to precipitate a dangerous, and possibly world-threatening, arms race between competing nanotechnic nation-states. Although we have faced these concerns since the dawn of the Nuclear Age, it remains unclear as to whether or not the same principles of mutually assured destruction will apply. 'Engines of Creation' sparks the debate on how we will deal with the new problems that arise from man¿s ability to manipulate molecules, and in doing so, it provides an invaluable service to the human race. Those concerned about our future and the world in which we live should read this book, because molecular manufacturing will define that future world... >>>> Britt Gillette, Author of the nanotechnology thriller 'Conquest of Paradise'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2002

    Definate buy

    I have to say I'm not surprised, I knew Technology would go this way. But I didn't realise that it would be this soon. This book is very important as these events will be happening in our life times and barely anyone knows about nanotechnology, as I am writing this there are only about 3 Universities which offer Nanotechnology as a course, even now its not a full course but part of another one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2011

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