Re: Smalley-Drexler debate

From: Eugen Leitl (
Date: Mon Dec 01 2003 - 12:38:37 MST

On Mon, Dec 01, 2003 at 06:04:35PM +0100, Christian Szegedy wrote:

> I suppose that you did not read the whole correspondence. The emphasis is
> on the word "mechanical".

There's a continuum spread from unconstrained molecules reacting in
solution/gas phase, over reactions in crystals/solid phase, over what
enzymes are doing to manipulative proximal probe/machine phase chemistry.

Smalley doesn't have the expertise to reason about the latter, arguably
(I haven't read the recent exchange over three lists en detail) he is
hazy on what the enzymes are doing.
> Smalley says that chemical replicators are possible, but they are very
> limited in their capabilities.

Smalley keeps saying this brief sentences. Standing alone they don't mean
much. The more he is saying, the less I'm impressed by the reasoning
behind these statements.

(I'm a chemist, have been interested in nanotechnology since early 1980s,
have been exposed to Drexler's work since I've read
Nanosystems preprints on a PIs table he got while at Stanford, have
some slight molecular bio exposure and polymer science/modelling work,
and imo it is way to early to rule anything flat out. It does increasingly
start to look good for machine-phase, though).

-- Eugen* Leitl leitl
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