Our preoccupation with information technology's forward bounds has obscured no less radical changes in other branches of technology. The cloning of sheep and other marvels of biotechnology have, to be sure, attracted attention to that field, but far less attention has been paid to improvements in material sciences. Here is a book that can serve as a primer. Not written for the technically faint of heart, this book by an associate editor at Nature is a dense but accessible introduction to such subjects as photonics, "smart" materials, and nanotechnology. The author does not spell out the consequences for international politics, but with some effort they may be imagined. The replacement of many of the functions of oil as a lubricant and fuel, for example, is far from inconceivable, with consequences for Middle Eastern economics and politics that bear reflection.
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