Foresight Institute

The Foresight Institute is a nonprofit organization with the goal to inform the general public about advanced nanotechnology, especially in view of the possibilities that are to be expected with molecular nanotechnology ( MNT).

History and Mission

The Foresight Institute was founded in 1985 by K. Eric Drexler and Christine Peterson, Drexler's ex-wife, a year before the publication of Drexler's Engines of Creation. It is located in Palo Alto, California, in Silicon Valley.

The primary objective of the Institute is not the fastest possible development of MNT, but the education on and the development of guidelines for the safe and responsible use of va with molecular nanotechnology. These guidelines will be developed for years and steadily improved. They are recommended as a basis for discussion of politics and enjoying steadily increasing popularity in the research community.

The Foresight Institute is basically a positive attitude about MNT and takes the position that an earlier development is better than a later development because MNT has enormous potential to alleviate the most urgent problems facing the world today and in the foreseeable future. These include environmental degradation, malnutrition, drought, disease, poverty and scarcity of fossil fuels and fresh drinking water.

All these problems also contribute to the initiation and intensification of individual and inter - state conflicts, so that improvement would be possible in this respect. Research on MST is performed by the sister organization Institute for Molecular Manufacturing ( IMM).


The members of the institute have already spoken several times before the U.S. Senate, to draw attention to the possibilities and dangers of MNT and promote the exploration of these opportunities and risks.

Since 1989, the Institute organizes annual conferences on MNT, where the state of research is presented and exchanged, and entrepreneurs have the possibility to make contacts.

The Institute's website has a very extensive collection of resources available in the network to all sorts of topics that are related to nanotechnology related. There is also an approximately quarterly " Foresight update", a newsletter that reports on important events and upcoming conferences since the last update.

The American media scholar David M. Berube points out that all the mentioned activities (as well as an aggressive strategy of fundraising ) the Foresight Institute has created its own brand of "Nanotechnology " and marketed, like the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, which also to the founding figure K. Eric Drexler leads: "They are Both proponents of Their Own brand of nanotechnology. " (David M Berube: Nano- Hype: .. The Truth Behind The Nanotechnology Buzz New York, Prometheus Books 2006, p 247) Berube debunked this organization that presents itself as a kind of social "watchdog " organization ( watchdog organization ), in his book Nano - hype as a sort of nanotechnology promotion Machine: ie It is in this organization is a huge advertising machinery in their own right, whose influence extends to the heads of government of all Western societies.

Prizes and awards

The Foresight Institute has awarded several prizes and awards:

  • Feynman Grand Prize. Named after Richard P. Feynman, this price represents is the highest, which the Foresight Institute has offered. It is awarded for the first demonstration of an 8 -bit adder of 50 nm in size and a robot arm 100 nm in size, an important basis for future nano computer or molecular manufacturing. The prize was awarded in 1996 and is worth U.S. $ 250,000.
  • Feynman Prize. 1993, 1995, 1997 and annually since 1997 and are per $ 5,000 awarded for theoretical and practical research that serve to advance the development of MNT.
  • Distinguished Student Award. This prize is awarded every year since 1997 to the most promising students in the field of nanotechnology and is worth U.S. $ 1,000.
  • Foresight Prize in Communication. This prize is " awarded to outstanding journalistic or other communication services that contribute to educating the public about molecular nanotechnology or other nascent key technology which has a great impact on society or the environment " for since 2000. The prize is worth U.S. $ 1,000.