Richard Jones posted a thought provoking article at Soft Machines titled “Was Feynman the founder of nanotechnology?“, a question to which most people would instantly answer ‘of course!’
Nanotech, by it’s nature, i.e. complex and hard to relate to the real world has tended to foster a number of these self perpetuating myths. While Richard and Chris Toumey discuss how “that attaching one’s vision to someone with the genius, vision and charisma of Feynman is an obvious temptation,” in this case citing Eric Drexler, he is not the only guilty party
Almost every business plan or funding proposal we see cites the NSF figure of the 2015 trillion dollar nanotech market, a figure which as far as we can see was plucked out of thin air, although by association with the NSF it must automatically be true.
While these numbers have been so widely quoted that they are noiw accepted as fact rather than speculation, we wonder whether the increased pressure to deliver a sizeable chunk of that trillion dollars as we count down to 2015 will lead to a revision of this number.
Of course as we have discused ad nausuem, a market size for nanotech is as useful to most companies as a market size for chemistry – and perhaps even harder to define.