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TagJames Tour

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Jim Tour at COSM 2021 on our zero carbon future

Flash Graphene: Born Again Plastic Is Planet-Friendly

Chemist James Tour outlined a new approach to carbon waste at COSM 2021: Use electricity to turn it into graphene, to be recycled as new materials

Remember that mindblowing scene in Back to the Future II where Doc Brown shows up in his flying Delorean and throws trash into the “Mr. Fusion” unit in the back — and it’s instantly converted into fuel? We aren’t quite there yet. But if what Rice University synthetic chemist James Tour told COSM 2021 proves right, then we can take current trash — e-waste, food waste, useless wood, discarded plastic, old tires, etc. — and reclaim it at low cost to make materials that we can incorporate into many technologies. Tour and his team have developed methods for turning carbon waste into graphene, an allotrope of carbon that can be stacked to form graphite (best known as the “lead” in…

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Matt Scholz at COSM 2021 on Innovations in Biotech

Manipulating Molecules: Combining Info + Nano for Better Medicine

At COSM 2021, scientists like Jim Tour and entrepreneurs like Matt Scholz offer a window into how we are learning to manipulate the building blocks of life

Yesterday COSM 2021, philosopher of science Stephen Meyer, synthetic organic chemist James Tour, and biotech entrepreneur Matthew Scholz looked at how nanotechnology (working directly with very small things, like molecules) will advance biology and medicine. “Oscar Wilde said nature imitates art,” Meyer opened by saying. And today we’re going to see that “technology is now able to imitate and even in some ways, improve upon nature.” He noted that since the 1960s we’ve been learning that living cells function because of the actions performed by molecular machines—those molecular machines are built using information. For example, consider the cell’s power source: A rotary engine called ATP synthase in the mitochondria of cells produces the energy. As a camshaft with lobes spins…

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Seattle Skyline at Sunset with Space needle

Venture Capital Manager at COSM 2021 to Listen and Learn

The Managing Director of Seattle-based Madrona Venture Group will moderate two panels on new technologies that can shake things up

In 2019, Madrona’s Matt McIlwain moderated a panel at the COSM 2019 Technology Summit, “AI’s Role in Unlocking Human Potential.” The panel followed tech pioneer and prophet Ray Kurzweil’s livestreamed address in which he predicted that we will merge with our computers by 2045 — The Singularity: “Our intelligence will then be a combination of our biological and non-biological intelligence,” he explained. We will be apps of our smart computers. Or will we? And if that happened, would it be progress? Already, we freak out when we can’t find our phones, or our computers crash, or the internet is down. Or the power goes off. Yet Isaac Newton changed physics with a pen and paper. So did Albert Einstein. McIlwain…

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The Andromeda Galaxy

Veteran Science Writer Says We Won’t Meet Intelligent Aliens

Not because they are not there but because vast interstellar distances make them unreachable

“It does not matter if intelligent life exists elsewhere. We will never find each other,” says veteran science writer Alex Berezow. He’s not saying they are not out there. He is throwing cold water on our chances of contacting them. Some things, he admits, have changed: Thanks to advances in astrophysics, we now know that there are billions of exoplanets in the Milky Way alone, leading most of the scientific community to conclude that life probably does exist elsewhere in the universe. Those who do not believe so are now considered the kooks. And while alien abductions are still not in the mainstream, UFOs are — so much so that the U.S. intelligence community just issued a report on them. Alex Berezow, “We are…