A friendly discussion hosted by Prof David MacKay and Dr Chris Forman. Dr Forman is interested in applying biophysics to develop novel materials and technology to improve sustainable engineering and manufacturing and is based at the Institute of Manufacturing (IfM).
Abstract: Can we combine catalysis and information processing? For example, biological cells are non-linear, non-equilibrium, stochastic machines that use energy to incorporate information into matter at the molecular level. Biomolecules then routinely self-assemble to manage flows of electrons, excitons, protons, photons and ions in complex colloidal environments such as soil, oceans, tissues or blood. Can we harness similar processes to make ‘a self-assembling catalytic processor’? e.g. a computer controlled battery or fuel cell?
Perhaps the first 'catalytic processor' would simplify the creation of the next one thereby resulting in Moores Law Two; the end result might be a global internet capable of managing chemistry locally (a 'synthernet'). Hopefully, such a distributed 'all-element' neutral infrastructure could manage compatability with biological systems and provide base level services such as manufacturing, energy, water, waste processing and computation locally everywhere at the cost of soil, water, land, sunlight and a blisteringly good understanding of non-equilibrium quantum chemistry. Not grey goo. Green goo!
This talk is part of the Winton Discussions series.