Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Is meso the new nano?

There is an interesting article Emergent Physics the Mesoscale: Report from the special Kavli session at the 2012 APS March meeting by Sam Bader on The Back Page of the May edition of the American Physical Society News.

It sounds like there was a fascinating and contrasting series of talks by Bob Laughlin, Bill Phillips, Angela Belcher, Bill Bialek, and George Whitesides. Apparently Phillips "gave short shrift of the concept of emergence, discarding it mercilessly."

I would be interested to see copies of the talks. Has anyone seen them online?

Overall, this latest focus on the "meso" seems to be driven by hopes of a new burst of funding like what happened with nanotechnology in 2000. [See this brief piece in Science] In the end I think that initiative was a big disappointment scientifically. I feel the whole field was hijacked by people who just relabelled whatever they were doing as nanoscience or nanotechnology. To me it should have been all about control and manipulation at the nanoscale, e.g., single molecule electronics.

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