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Positively disruptive. Nanotechnology and the future of biology and medicine (from a physicist perspective)

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Nanotechnology will transform manufacturing, energy production, access to clean water, pollution reduction and prevention, and more functional materials that are stronger, lighter, and cheaper. Two of the areas wherenanotechnology will make a substantial and more fundamental scientific and industrial impact are biology and medicine. Biology and nanotechnology are starting to evolve and feed off each other, in a virtuous cycle where scientists use nanotechnology to learn the fundamental processes of biology, and in turn nanotechnology learns from biology how to construct increasingly sophisticated bioinspired materials . In the end a completely new material science will emerge incorporating knowledge from both and physics is key in the whole process.

The potential of the field is slowed down by a conservative establishment that is not interested in radical change. Progress in this field can only be achieved by a highly skilled and diverse group of women and men scientists who feel comfortable working across disciplines. The disruptive nature of many of the possible applications of new technologies in biomedicine threatens the current industrial and academic models, and this situation is worsened by the influence of big business interests. However the power to disrupt is seen as an opportunity for new, rapidly growing technological countries, such as South Korea and Singapore…

This talk is part of the Cambridge University Physics Society series.

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