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Atomic Clusters

October 30, 2012

I apologize for not posting anything in such a long time.  Some of you have also been leaving me comments which I haven’t responded to.  I’ve been busy working a project which takes atoms, places them randomly in a small cube of space, and then solves how they would snap together into a molecule.  Well, I’ve figured out how to do this for certain types of atomic bonds anyway.  On a neat sidenote, I also got the chance to program in some condensed matter physics, watching them vibrate and emit radiation.  Here’s a picture of one such molecule.

On my computer screen, the atoms vibrate and shake in 3D. I’ve really been enjoying myself.  Knowing how to program advanced 3D simulations comes in handy.  I have plans to study a lot more physics, and even eventually get into some quantum chemistry.  The more I learn about these things we call “atoms”, the more I’m convinced there’s practically an infinite number of ways they can be assembled.  Our world has the potential to be practically anything if we’re only skilled enough to snap these little things together in the right way.

During my lifetime, over the next fifty years and beyond, molecular manufacturing will be coming into existence.  Nanotechnology.  3D printers are the first versions of them, but they’ll be getting a whole lot better with time.  I hope to see a world where we can download a blueprint for a toaster and “print” it out, using a nano-assembler.  When I daydream about it, I see a world where physical things are as easy to share and distribute as digital documents are today.  Food could be printed out, like the replicators in Star Trek.  Appliances, furniture, whatever you need.

This is one of those things that rides on the back of computational speed.  Before we had fast computers with large amounts of memory, you could only calculate these molecules coming together and vibrating in very basic scenarios.  Faster computers lets you simulate things with greater complexity.  But then again, with better tools, you can design and build faster computers, so a sort of positive feedback loop is set up.

Topics: Philosophy, Physics | No Comments »

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