“Reconverging Technologies: Space, Nano, and Fountains of Paradise”

The Society for the History Of Technology (SHOT) will be holding it’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. in October of this year.  SHOT is an organization dedicated to:

“…the historical study of technology and its relations with politics, economics, labor, business, the environment, public policy, science, and the arts.”

This year, Professor W. Patrick McCray will be presenting a paper entitled “Reconverging Technologies: Space, Nano, and Fountains of Paradise”.  The paper’s abtract states:

“Central to the plot of Arthur C. Clarke’s 1978 book ‘The Fountains of Paradise’ is the concept of a space elevator. His book appeared at a time of renewed international interest in space exploration and space colonization. Within a few years, however, pro-space advocates like K. Eric Drexler turned their attention to promoting nanotechnologies and molecular manufacturing. While Clarke’s vision was, of course, never realized, his idea of a space elevator gained renewed life following the widespread scientific attention paid to novel carbon nanostructures in the 1980s and 1990s. While still in a liminal state that blends fantasy and actual engineering studies, proposals for a space elevator resemble the visionary engineering analyses that marked the early Space Age. This paper explores the reconvergence of space exploration and nanotechnology as witnessed by the interest in space elevator technologies and the engineers advocating them.”

Too bad another event is going to be going on at the same time or I might want to attend 🙂  I’m sure the papers will be published afterwards…