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NOTE CHANGE OF DATE: 9th April 2003: "Nanotechnology comes naturally"

We are on the brink of controlling matter on the nanometre (millionth of a millimetre) scale, resulting in a whole new world of technological possibilities now widely known as nanotechnology. But what is the best way to approach the nanoworld: from the top down (making small things even smaller) or from the bottom up (putting molecules together)? Which lessons can we learn from the nanometre-sized molecular machinery in the living cell? And what will be the benefits and risks of the new technology?

In "Travels to the Nanoworld" (Perseus paperback 2001), and more recently in Prospect magazine (November 2002), Michael Gross has argued that nanotechnology based on molecular interactions is bound to work, as the living cell demonstrates. Learning from Nature can also show us ways to defuse the "grey goo" scare, i.e. the idea that nanomachines going wild might obliterate our living planet.

Michael Gross, formerly a research fellow at the Oxford Centre for Molecular Sciences and now a science writer in residence at LondonŐs Birkbeck College, will discuss his views on nanotechnology and also, at the end of the Cafe, present his latest book, "Light and Life" (Oxford University Press, 2003).

No ticket, no booking, no experience required.

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