Home' Technology Review : May June 2012 Contents Notebooks 11
able color PDFs) and their catalogue data.
It is not di cult to lend books digitally, as
technologies used by Netflix and Amazon
show. Patrons of thousands of libraries can
already borrow over 200,000 purchased
and scanned e-books free from the Inter-
net Archive. Most large publishers have
recently banned e-book sales to libraries,
but we hope this restriction is temporary.
Even as we acquire current e-books, we
need to scan existing ones, but again, this
work is already under way. We scan 1,000
books a day at 31 libraries in seven coun-
tries with funding from libraries and foun-
dations. Scanning centers such as those at
the Boston Public Library and the Library of
Congress digitize hundreds of books a day.
Libraries working with the Internet Archive
have already put over two million public-
domain books online for free downloading
and lending, and for use by people unable
to read printed books.
Now is our chance to build an online
library accessible to all. To equal the Bos-
ton Public Library or university libraries
like those at Yale or Princeton, we need 10
million books. These could be acquired in
four years for approximately $160 million.
The DPLA, with its broad support, can help
build this library system, or it could end
up building an overly centralized library by
using collective licensing systems like the
Book Rights Registry.
If we work together, we can achieve
universal access to knowledge by building
on the positive lessons of the Internet and
World Wide Web.
BREWSTER KAHLE (PICTURED ABOVE) IS THE FOUNDER OF
THE INTERNET ARCHIVE. RICK PRELINGER IS AN ARCHIVIST,
WRITER, AND FILMMAKER.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner elicits
awe, envy, and the question "How
did they do that?" It is 20 percent
more fuel e cient than previous compa-
rable airliners, its cabin is more spacious,
and its windows dim with the touch of a
button. Fully explaining how it was done
is complex, but the first part is simple: it's
all about advanced materials. A body and
wings made from a carbon fiber composite
confer enhanced fuel e ciency, for example,
while the windows incorporate an electro-
Most people don't realize that it can take
20 years or more for a newly discovered
material to be incorporated into commercial
products. Lithium-ion batteries were pro-
posed in the mid-1970s but were not broadly
adopted until the late 1990s. Superconduc-
tors, solar photovoltaics, and solid-state
lighting emerged over similar time frames.
That is far too long given the role advanced
materials could play in addressing many of
the nation's most urgent needs (see "High-
Speed Materials Discovery," TR10, p. 48).
Once a new material is discovered, the
current best practice for tailoring it to the
market is a long sequence of steps involv-
ing many repeated experiments. Each step
serves a di erent purpose, such as property
optimization or process scaling. Engineers
have to grapple with and ultimately control
dozens of electrical, chemical, and mechani-
Predictive software models could com-
plement and in some cases replace this
time-consuming experimentation, but such
tools are lacking. To make matters worse, an
overly proprietary and fragmented commu-
nity inhibits a culture of sharing knowledge,
data, and tools. As a result, good inventions
lie dormant, and development cycles remain
linear and slow.
In the case of the Dreamliner, Boeing
realized that materials development didn't
have to be linear. The company unified its
multinational supply chain into a single vir-
tual design platform. Design changes made
in Japan became immediately visible to
partners in the United States, and a global
team cycled through thousands of designs
before a single screw was turned. This kind
of collaborative, networked approach could
revolutionize and significantly speed up the
Last year, President Obama launched an
ambitious new program called the Materi-
als Genome Initiative, which aims to help
the U.S. materials community foster similar
approaches. But while the federal govern-
ment can encourage change, it will be up
to scientists to put this new vision to work.
Over the past two decades, advances in
nanotechnology have given us the tools to
synthesize, characterize, and model mate-
rials at the nanoscale---the scale at which
materials' behavior can be controlled. We
need to nurture an accompanying national
infrastructure for materials development in
computation, experimentation, and data
informatics. Combined with a more open,
collaborative approach, these tools will
accelerate the discovery and deployment
of advanced materials.
CYRUS WADIA IS ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR CLEAN ENERGY
AND MATERIALS R&D IN THE WHITE HOUSE OFFICE OF SCI-
ENCE AND TECHNOLOGY POLICY.
We need to accelerate the
deployment of advanced
materials, says Cyrus Wadia.
Links Archive March April 2012 July August 2012 Navigation Previous Page Next Page