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The VisioneersHow a Group of Elite Scientists Pursued Space Colonies, Nanotechnologies, and a Limitless Future$
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W. Patrick McCray

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691176291

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691176291.001.0001

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California Dreaming

California Dreaming

(p.183) Chapter 6 California Dreaming
The Visioneers

W. Patrick McCray

Princeton University Press

This chapter considers the “existential crisis” faced by nanotechnology. A few years after nanotechnology blossomed into a global research initiative that consumed billions of government and corporate dollars, questions began to emerge over about what nanotechnology was and who was a nanotechnologist. Fundamentally, nanotechnology's own history was the catalyst for its existential angst. Vastly different interpretations of nanotechnology, both as a research program and as a vision for the future, emerged between Drexler's early publications and the launching of a major national initiative in the United States two decades later. To complicate things further, just as enthusiasts co-opted Gerard O'Neill's ideas, Drexler's visioneering took on a life of its own.

Keywords:   nanotechnology, science, technology, existential crisis, Gerard O'Neill, K. Eric Drexler

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