Nanobots and Nanotubes: Two Alternative Biomimetic Paradigms of Nanotechnology

Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent

in Genesis Redux

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print August 2007 | ISBN: 9780226720807
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226720838 | DOI:
Nanobots and Nanotubes: Two Alternative Biomimetic Paradigms of Nanotechnology

More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • History of Science and Technology


Show Summary Details


This chapter argues that materials scientists working in the hot, new area of nanotechnology exhibit an approach to the project of artificial life that contrasts sharply with the traditional approach of computer scientists. Nanotechnology is being publicized with revolutionary claims of “shaping the world atom by atom.” Biomimetics is the cement that holds together various groups exploring the potentials of the nanoscale. The chapter then uses the popular works of Eric Drexler and Ray Kurzweil to demonstrate the mechanistic approach, and the writings of Richard Smalley and a few other chemists to represent the organicist model. The propagandists of nanotechnology have both near-term and long-term expectations for their research. The design of nanomaterials appears to rely on a specific, underlying view of matter that revives a number of antimechanistic notions such as emergence; spontaneity, or dunamis; and, above all, complexity.

Keywords: nanotechnology; artificial life; biomimetics; Eric Drexler; Ray Kurzweil; Richard Smalley; nanomaterials

Chapter.  6547 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.