Thank you for your invitation to send you initial views on this joint study. First let me say that I'm very pleased that OST/DTI have commissioned this study. I have been very interested in Nanotechnology for some 25 years since Professor Norio Taniguchi (a personal friend of mine) was the first to coin and publish the term in 1974 some condiderable time after Richard Feynman published his fascinating and challenging paper " There's plenty of room at the bottom" (1959) accurately predicting the emergence of ultra-precision machining technologies and thus Nanotechnology. I was a member of DTI's National Initative on Nanotechnology Committee (1986) and took part in its "mission" to Japan that year. As a member of the RAEng Management of Tech Project in 1990 I recommended that the Academy should give Nanotechnology a high priority in widening our membership and today as you will know we have at least six who are world experts in the field. Later, the Academy sponsored a chair at Cranfield in Engineering Nanotechnology. Professor Roger Whatmore FREng FIM holds this chair. He and I are currently planning a Fellows' Briefing on Engineering Nanotechnology at the RAEng with Elizabeth Horwitz for Thursday 9th October to be chaired by Sir Alec Broers [ as you know an early nanotechnologist during his time at IBM ]
I was one of the founder members of the European Society for Precision Engineering and Nanotechnology [euspen] which from 2000 has built up a strong membership across Europe and the rest of the world....some 75 Corporate members and individual members totalling about 480 and growing. This initiative is strongly supported by the EC which funded the development of "VisionOnLine" which provides professional development courses across Europe in Micro and Nanotechnologies both in seminar and computer on-line forms. The Headquarters of euspen is at Cranfield University and the current President is Dr Paul Atherton;the CEO of euspen Ltd. is Dr Deborah Corker [www.euspen.com].
It is from this background that I make the following initial recommendations:
1. It is very important to set out and recommend definitions especially for
nanoscience,engineering nanotechnology and molecular nanotechnology not forgetting
mention of the key subset of nanometrology etc.....I agree.
2. A brief history of its growth and roots (touched on above) could be helpful in getting journalists "on board" etc is desirable. This is set out in the paper/report that I, Professor Whatmore and other colleagues wrote in 2000 "Nanotechnology:International Developments and Emerging Products" a copy of which I will send you in the near future.
In conclusion,I think the aims/targets you have set out are right and wish you all success in this important task; I will be happy to help in any way short of joining your Working Group. Please let me know in due course.
Professor P.A.McKeown OBE FREng