Foresight Institute

Foresight Institute

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The Foresight Institute is a Palo Alto, California
Palo Alto, California
Palo Alto is a California charter city located in the northwest corner of Santa Clara County, in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, United States. The city shares its borders with East Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Stanford, Portola Valley, and Menlo Park. It is...

-based nonprofit organization
Nonprofit organization
Nonprofit organization is neither a legal nor technical definition but generally refers to an organization that uses surplus revenues to achieve its goals, rather than distributing them as profit or dividends...

 for promoting transformative technologies. They sponsor conferences on molecular nanotechnology
Molecular nanotechnology
Molecular nanotechnology is a technology based on the ability to build structures to complex, atomic specifications by means of mechanosynthesis. This is distinct from nanoscale materials...

, publish reports, and produce a newsletter
A newsletter is a regularly distributed publication generally about one main topic that is of interest to its subscribers. Newspapers and leaflets are types of newsletters. Additionally, newsletters delivered electronically via email have gained rapid acceptance for the same reasons email in...


The Foresight Institute has several running prizes, including the annual Feynman Prizes
Foresight Nanotech Institute Feynman Prize
The Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology is an award given by Foresight Nanotech Institute every year for significant advancements in nanotechnology. It is named in honor of physicist Richard Feynman, whose 1959 talk There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom is considered to have inspired the beginning of...

 given in experimental and theory categories, and the $250,000 Feynman Grand Prize for demonstrating two molecular machines capable of nanoscale positional accuracy and computation.


The Institute was founded in 1986 by K. Eric Drexler
K. Eric Drexler
Dr. Kim Eric Drexler is an American engineer best known for popularizing the potential of molecular nanotechnology , from the 1970s and 1980s.His 1991 doctoral thesis at MIT was revised and published as...

, no longer with the Institute, along with his then wife Christine Peterson, who is now President.

Two sister organizations were formed: the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing and the Center for Constitutional Issues in Technology.

Foresight Institute was founded "to guide emerging technologies to improve the human condition" but focused "its efforts upon nanotechnology
Nanotechnology is the study of manipulating matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Generally, nanotechnology deals with developing materials, devices, or other structures possessing at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometres...

, the coming ability to build materials and products with atomic precision, and upon systems that will enhance knowledge exchange and critical discussion". In May 2005 the Foresight Institute changed its name to "Foresight Nanotech Institute" and narrowed its mission to "ensure beneficial implementation of nanotechnology. Foresight is accomplishing this by providing balanced, accurate and timely information to help society understand and utilize nanotechnology through public policy activities, publications, guidelines, networking events, tutorials, conferences, roadmaps and prizes."

In June 2009, the institute reverted to its original name, and broadened its mission to "studying transformative technologies".

See also

  • Center for Responsible Nanotechnology
    Center for Responsible Nanotechnology
    Center for Responsible Nanotechnology is a non-profit research and advocacy organization with a focus on molecular manufacturing and its possible effects, both positive and negative...

  • Center on Nanotechnology and Society
    Center on Nanotechnology and Society
    The Center on Nanotechnology and Society is an affiliate of Illinois Institute of Technology and is housed at IIT’s Chicago-Kent College of Law...

  • Nanomedicine
    Nanomedicine is the medical application of nanotechnology. Nanomedicine ranges from the medical applications of nanomaterials, to nanoelectronic biosensors, and even possible future applications of molecular nanotechnology. Current problems for nanomedicine involve understanding the issues related...

  • Transhumanism
    Transhumanism, often abbreviated as H+ or h+, is an international intellectual and cultural movement that affirms the possibility and desirability of fundamentally transforming the human condition by developing and making widely available technologies to eliminate aging and to greatly enhance human...

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