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III. The Present State of Nanotechnology

e. The U.S. National Programs

1. National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI)U.S. government involvement in nanotechnology can be traced to 1998. In that year, an “Interagency Working Group on Nanotechnology” was formed. It sponsored workshops and studies on the subject. Two years later this became a Federal initiative. In 2003 there was a “21 century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act.

The 2003 Nanotechnology Act calls for a plan which is to be updated every 3 years (notice: research and production according to a plan, not "market forces"). The latest national plan on nanotechnology was developed in 2007, and it replaces the 2004 plan.

Some features of the 2009 budget:

Total spending: $1425 million in 2007, an estimate of $1491 in 2008, and $1527 in 2009.

Compare this with a twofold increase every yearц at the beginning of the U.S. involvement in nanotechnology:

1997 - $116 million; 1999 - $230 million; 2001 - $460 million (source: “Experts blast US nanotech report” by Clement James,vnunet.com14 Sep 2007).

The amount of money the U.S. spends on nanotechnology is very small. It is comparable only to a portion of its military aerospace program. For example:

"The United States has a $2 billion UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) annual budget (2006). The FY-07 budget request includes $1.7 billion for UAV buys and research programs and $9.9 billion between FY-08 and FY-11" (souce: "Considering Military and Ethical Implications of Nanofactory Level Nanotechnology" by Brian Wang, 2006).

Scientists such as Ralph Merkle think that in the sphere of nanotechnology a grand effort should be made, comparable to the "Apollo" program (landing a man on the moon), in order to achieve significant results within the next 10-15 years. Refusal of the U.S. government to spend more points to a systemic crisis within the U.S. society.

Let's look at who is included in the 2007 U.S. nanotechnology plan called "Productive Nanosystems: A Technology Roadmap". 


Paul Alivisatos

Paul Alivisatos, Chancellor's Professor of Chemistry and Materials Science, UC Berkeley, and 


Pearl Chin

Director, Materials Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Pearl Chin, Research Fellow, Foresight Nanotech Institute


M. Ferrari

K. Eric Drexler, Chief Technical Advisor, Nanorex


Doon Gibbs

Mauro Ferrari, University of Texas-Houston Institute of Molecular Medicine - NanoMedicine

Doon Gibbs, Deputy Director for Science and Technology, Brookhaven National Laboratory


W.Goddard III

William A. Goddard, III, Professor of Chemistry and Applied Physics, California Institute of Technology and Director, Materials and Process Simulation Center


W. Hasseltine

William A. Haseltine, President, William A. Haseltine Foundation for Medical Sciences and the Arts


S. Jurvetson

Steve Jurvetson, Managing Director, Draper Fisher Jurvetson


A. Kawczak

Alex Kawczak, Vice President, BioProducts and Nanostructured Materials, Battelle


Ch. Leiber

Charles M. Lieber, Professor, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University


Ch. Peterson

Christine Peterson, Vice President, Foresight Nanotech Institute


J. Randall

John Randall, Chief Technology Officer, Zyvex


J. Roberto

Jim Roberto, Chief Research Officer and Deputy Laboratory Director, Oak Ridge National Laboratory


N. Seeman

Nadrian C. Seeman, Professor of Chemistry, New York University and President, International Society for Nanoscale Science, Computation and Engineering


R. Snyder

Rick Snyder, CEO of Ardesta, Chairman of Gateway


J.F. Stoddart

J. Fraser Stoddart, Board of Trustees Professor of Chemistry, Northwestern University


T. Waitt

Ted Waitt, Chairman of Avalon Capital Group and the Waitt Family Foundation

Judging from the composition of the committee, the direction of nanotechnology is determined by leading members of the capitalist class and outstanding researchers in the field. 

Next: DARPA program in nanotechnology

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