About AthenaLab: The activities of AthenaLab include applied scientific research, technology development, marketing, and scientific education. AthenaLab is named after Athena, the Greek Goddess of wisdom, victory, and technical crafts.

What a Universe!

Many times I’ve wondered how much there is to know.” — Led Zeppelin

(Conrad dot Schneiker at Gmail dot com — No Soliciting Please.)

Nano-E-Beam NanoTech Inventions

Micro-Replicating Systems

Prospects for Stratospheric Industrialization

NanoTech History (Shoulders, Feynman, Gunkel)

The Father of the Neutron Bomb (Sam Cohen, Book)

The Provably-Ultimate Scientific Framework (Book)

Physics, Math, and Life

Geometric Calculus

Collective Electrodynamics


About the cover artwork: Bryan McIntyre is MATEC’s graphic designer (Maricopa Advanced Technology Education Center, http://www.matec.org). On their behalf, he did the 2nd series of proposed logos for the Arizona Nanotechnology Cluster (http://www.aznano.org). (I was one of the founding board members of the cluster.) Fortunately the other board members chose another one of Bryan’s logos, so I was able to obtain rights to this one. This logo was based on a suggestion of mine, and after the intermediate round of feedback and tweaking on all the logos, this one turned out very much better than what I’d originally imagined. Plus it still looks great when enlarged (although I’ve reduced the resolution of the web images to produce smaller files for faster loading), even though it was never intended to be scaled up much beyond postage stamp size. So I wanted to put in a word for those who made it possible: “Thanks!”.

Here’s some simple and amusing nanotech “art” that I cooked up with Mathematica, Nanotube Modeler, and the Gimp. The 2 suns are carbon Bucky Balls (C240 fullerenes), and the 2 saguaros are carbon nanotube segments. Why 2 suns and 2 saguaros? I’m from beautiful “Two-sun” (Tucson) AZ, which was the Astronomy Capital of the World, and has 2 Saguaro National Parks (East and West).

Nano-E-Beam NanoTech Inventions

At present, I’m not pursuing additional nanotech patents beyond the 4 previously-granted ones.

I’ve subsequently come up with much better concepts for coherent atomic-point electron beam emitter systems that I’ve placed in the public domain (see link below). These developments have great potential for miniature near-atomic-resolution low-voltage electron microscopes, and for alternative types of graphene-based nanoelectronics (including 2-d ballistic electron nano-optics for very high speed mixed signal applications).

I haven’t produced full write-ups for these things yet, but here are some very preliminary notes:

·         Prospects for Coherent Nano-Electron Beam Technology (PDF)

Micro-Replicating Systems

Micro-Replicating-Systems (PDF)


The ongoing factory robotic revolution has yet to reach the micro-scale, in part due to over-fixation on integrated circuit manufacturing approaches to micro-mechanical systems (MEMS). In particular, high-performance micro-motors have been major {technical and economic} stumbling blocks. In this case, it makes sense to drastically scale down more conventional approaches (with suitable adjustments).

Once such technology is in hand, it opens the door to alternative micro-construction processes (given moderate product redesign to facilitate micro-assembly processes), including the development of micro-robotic micro-construction systems that can mass produce copies of themselves. (In this context, integrated circuit manufacturing processes would primarily be used to mass produce useful pre-fabbed {building blocks and templates}, rather than to produce finished networks of MEMS.)

Our initial micro-robotically-constructed target products include (1) sub-nanometer-precision {positioning and manipulator} systems that could also be used for atomic force microscopes (AFMs) and micro-optical microscopes (MOMs), (2) sub-nanometer-resolution micro-scanning-electron-microscopes (micro-nano-SEMs), (3) sub-nanometer-resolution micro-inert-ion microscopes (micro-nano-IIMs)}. In combination, these would be breakthrough instrumentation systems for {nanotech and biotech} research and development. There are some very-important micro-nano-level {scanning and fabrication} applications that would become feasible with affordable arrays of such systems.

Micro-robotic production systems for such products could consist of micro-robotic modules (MRMs) that could be arranged into micro-assembly-lines for producing micro-products. Of course MRMs are one of the most important end products that could be produced.

Conventional mass production technology is suitable for prototyping thousands (103) of MRMs, which could then self-replicate millions (106) of similar MRMs. Subsequently, MRMs could be used to {develop and produce} further-scaled-down micro-manufacturing-systems that could economically produce billions (109) of 2nd generation MRMs that could produce trillions (1012) of end products (including still-smaller 3rd generation MRMs). And so on. The 2nd generation MRMs could integrally-incorporate capabilities for {hybrid nano-optical microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and multiple-nanotube-based manipulator fingers}.

The genesis of trillion-module MRM micro-nano-SEM systems would naturally revolutionize {molecular-level biotech, sub-10-nm nanoelectronic integrated circuit production, combinatorial chemistry, and custom micro-nano fabrication of macroscopic quantities of metamaterials}, and so on.

Prospects for Commercial Stratospheric Industrialization

This is a few-page overview of some interesting possibilities for commercial stratospheric industrialization, pertaining to solar power, materials processing, and other topics.

·         Prospects for Commercial Stratospheric Industrialization (PDF).

NanoTech History (Shoulders, Feynman, Gunkel)

These are the slides for my talk at The Feynman Anniversary Symposium, on February 12 and13, 2010, at the University of South Carolina:

My Conversations with Richard Feynman Regarding Nanotechnology (4+ MB PDF)

The following chapter was allowed 3 times the standard chapter length limit for the published papers in the proceedings of The First Los Alamos Conference on Artificial Life (held in 1987). It contains a wealth of interesting and often-overlooked historical material on nanotech:

NanoTechnology With Feynman Machines: Artificial Life and Scanning Tunneling Engineering (4+ MB PDF)

Be sure to also see the original space nanotech prognosis of Patrick Gunkel from his massive futurism study, The Future of Space (1975), which unfortunately didn’t get included in my Los Alamos chapter.

Nanocosm (William Atkinson)

[(offsite link to excerpt)] This is an interesting, informative, and sometimes rambunctious reporting on interviews with many key nanotech players, interwoven with overviews of the nature and significance of their respective technological developments. (There are some iconoclastic doses of Feynman-like irreverence towards certain self-proclaimed nanotech gurus mixed in for good measure. It's sometimes overdone, but given Feynman’s private comments, he would certainly more than halfway agree, and would almost certainly be smiling with delight if he were still alive.) The author’s audience is venture capitalists and the technically interested public. The author generally favors approaching nanotech from a generalized biological perspective, and sees profound implications in biology’s nanotech beyond merely serving as an existence proof. (See the end of the NanoScam link above for additional comments on this book.)

Some Other Missing Nano-History

Sam Cohen, Father of the Neutron Bomb

“Shame: Confessions of the Father of the Neutron Bomb (Fourth Edition, 2015)”

Sam Cohen passed away on 2010-11-28. RIP.

This fourth edition (2015) supersedes the old/original printed (2000) version (and the later second and third editions). It incorporates a new overview and postscript chapter by Charles Platt called “The Profits of Fear”. It also has a much more provocative new title. (I want to be on record as having urged Sam to consider a more moderate change of title.) This is the controversial and myth-shattering book on national security that was turned down by every conventional publisher and agent that I contacted (despite Sam's previously successfully published books). [(PDF) (about 1.1 MB).] The second (and later) editions explicitly give you permission to put it on your web site, or to print and sell full and unaltered copies of it, among other options. See the copyright page for details. Among other changes Sam requested or otherwise approved of, the second (now fourth) edition has all the original expletives fully restored. I've also fixed a bunch of typos and misspellings and updated the bibliography.

You might also be interested in Sam Cohen’s 1998 article, “Needed: A Real ABM Defense (PDF)”.

Some publishing history: I converted the raw manuscript file (produced by Sam’s daughter) into standard book format, did the subsequent technical editing work, created the index, and made arrangements for print-on-demand publishing. (Please don't hold my amateur efforts against Sam.) The printed version of this book has now been available for many years, but soon after a (non-exclusive) publishing agreement was made, the greedy publisher quickly and drastically raised prices way above what many people were willing to pay. At the same time, to drive sales through their own web site, they reportedly lowered standard discounts to other outlets, so Amazon.com dropped Shame. Moreover, Amazon.com only showed the earlier planned World Scientific version of Shame (which the publisher inexplicably cancelled, while I was in the midst of making initially-requested editorial changes), which of course was marked as unavailable. At long last, years later, Amazon.com now carries the obsolete version of Shame again. To their credit, BarnesAndNoble.com has carried it for the duration.

After Shame was published, Sam Cohen’s daughter got another interesting book of Sam's similarly published. It's called “Automat: Jess Marcum, Gambling Genius of The Century”. Jess was one of Sam’s many brilliant and peculiar co-workers at RAND.


The Provably-Ultimate Scientific Framework (Book)

The Provably-Ultimate Scientific Framework (PDF).

This is a forthcoming work in progress. Here’s the cover page, followed by some other excepted pages:

What is the most-generally-important scientific knowledge of all?

The Provably-Ultimate Scientific Framework
is the Universe’s Structurally-Fundamental
Logical God Pattern that Biases Evolution for
Whatever More-Effectively Tacitly-Uses God

This features the provably-Universal Greatest Common Good
and its {corollary and provably-primary} methodical-science of
provably-unified Universal Logical-Ethical Realism. This means
the universe logically-embodies a {pervasive, objectively-subtle,
and fundamentally-normative} bias for progressive Renaissance.

These {logically-primary but operationally-secondary} ethical-economic realities are very
counterintuitive until they’re known {logically, systematically, analytically, and reflexively}.

The Enlightenment Era developed {improved, positively-influential, yet logically-flawed}
visions of the perfectly-naturally-lawful universally-supreme God of objective-ethics.

Science can now at last deduce aptly-logical corrections to those visions that
provably-yields their objectively-ultimate realization (and thus vindication)
as the {absolutely-fundamental and constitutively-logically-normative}
characteristic quality of our universe’s
corollary {co-fundamental and constitutively-omnipresent} characteristic
quality of (relationally-structurally) universal logical coherence.

Translation :-) Logic’s remarkable ability to prove its semi-universal limitations (which are thus objectively-knowable features of reality, despite precluding omniscience) provably-reflects its {semi-infinitely-polymorphic yet transcendentally-coherent} normativity. While this universal logical-normative order makes inferring Gods intuitively plausible, its great cognitive-transparency makes doing so extremely error-prone. This {high-leverage but underdeveloped} field is the integral logical-ethical heart of all science, and is thus the ultimate lever of progress.

Science can now prove (by reflexive inverse falsification and allied means) the categorically most-generally-important universal-prime-directive theorem of all possible {scientifically and religiously}-fundamental unifications (which involves logic’s innate objectively-universal factual-normative-values). This theorem thus encompasses the universal senior scientific method that ({despite, and due to} our inevitably {incomplete, imprecise, and flawed} knowledge) proves that our wonderfully semi-infinitely {complex and resourceful} (albeit often harsh) universe {integrally, and thus implicitly}-provides the best {scientifically and religiously}-ultimately-fundamental cognitive-economic {virtue-criteria, and thus supreme ethical-evolutional policy-compass} for realistically maximally-feasible {mutually, collectively, and cumulatively} good progress — which dramatically-exceeds presently-stunted socio-techno-economic levels.

Here’s a subset of suggestive quotes (from a much longer list in the text) that are compatible with our thesis:


“The most pervasive fallacy of philosophic thinking goes back to neglect of context.”

—John Dewey

“Logic is invincible because in order to combat logic it is necessary to use logic.”

—Pierre Boutroux

“[…] proofs should be given through ideas and not voluminous computations.”

—David Hilbert

“If we wish to understand the nature of the universe, we have an inner hidden advantage: we are ourselves little portions of the universe and so carry the answer within us.”

—Jacques Boivin

“Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry.”

—Richard P. Feynman

“The important things in the world appear as the invariants of transformations.”

—Paul Dirac

“[…] when we return from error, it is by knowledge we return.”

—Augustine of Hippo

“In opposition to the foolish ignorabimus [(referring to the supposed inability of ever really knowing ultimate things)] our slogan shall be: We must know — we will know!”

—David Hilbert

Editorial note about that “{...}” and “((…))” stuff

“Creative people must be stopped!”

—from a bumper sticker seen in Silicon Valley

It’s often difficult to readily follow an idea involving a combination of conceptually-multidimensional factors when it’s spread over multiple sentences (or paragraphs). This is one reason that works on philosophy are so often {mind-numbingly tedious, or else misleadingly oversimplified}. Unfortunately the challenges of mentally parsing long run-on sentences likewise tend to {needlessly overwhelm short-term memory, and thus thwart expedient comprehension}.

A One-Page Overview

Q: So, What is the most generally-important scientific knowledge of all?

A: It’s the provable-existence of the scientifically-universal logic of normative-values that we can know as a provably realistically-strong approximation — despite our inevitable residual {fallibility and ignorance}.


Universal scientific logic is just a more-refined version of conventional logic that {explicitly and systematically} features the {scientifically primary and universally applicable} logical-value system that is {provably-implicit in, and thus derivable using} basic conventional logic.

Since all scientific methods are applications of logic, this primacy of logical-value has powerful {implications and applications} — despite logic’s inevitable {limitations and complications}.

These results preempt many of the philosophical tar pits that have notoriously-retarded any systematic consolidation of a provably-primary logical-ethical framework of all scientific philosophy. These results circumvent “is-ought” problems that have thwarted {proving and applying} scientifically-supreme norms of {social ethics and economics}. Indeed, logic instrumentally-constitutes the universal greatest good, and serves as the scientific master-key for:


But don’t worry! This still leaves our world with an endless supply of major problems. :-)

Physics, Math, and Life

Geometric Calculus, A Unified Mathematical Language for Physics

[The rest of this subsection is copied from the Geometric Calculus R & D Home Page. Highly recommended‼]

Agenda. This web site is dedicated to perfecting a universal mathematical language for science, extending its applications and promoting it throughout the scientific community. It advocates a universal scientific language grounded in an integrated Geometric and Inferential Calculus.

Geometric Calculus is a mathematical language for expressing and elaborating geometric concepts. Spacetime algebra is an application of this language to model physical space and time. It is the core of a universal language for physics, providing invariant formulations of basic equations and a powerful computational engine for deducing their consequences.

Inferential Calculus integrates deductive and statistical inference into a coherent system for matching scientific models to empirical data. It provides a unified framework for data analysis, image/signaling processing and hypothesis testing from incomplete data. Thus, it supports the semantic bridge between theoretical constructs and empirical realities.

Modeling. Scientists make sense of the real world by constructing models to represent the structure of things and processes within it. Geometric Calculus provides a rich language for the construction and analysis of mathematical models. Inferential Calculus provides a framework for their empirical validation.

This site is devoted primarily to the development of Geometric Calculus with many applications to modeling in physics, mostly the work of David Hestenes. A companion web site on Geometric Algebra is at the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge. Inferential Calculus and Modeling are treated in greater depth at other sites.

Collective Electrodynamics — by Carver Mead

Back in the early-mid 1980s, I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to repeatedly see Richard Feynman and Carver Mead over the course of several months—both were very down-to-earth but awesome minds. Carver Mead is one of the great technical and entrepreneurial pioneers of VLSI design technology and silicon “neural networks”, among other things. I think Carver’s latest book is a huge (albeit partial) step towards an improved (more realistic) quantum electrodynamics.

Here is one of the Amazon.com reviews “Collective Electrodynamics”, written by Munir F. Bhatti (Los Angeles, CA), with minor {formatting changes, spelling corrections}:

“Despite his preface upbraiding physicists for their work of the past 50–75 years, the main text makes reasonable claims based upon well-founded experimental and theoretical results. The book endorses earlier work of Einstein, Feynman, Riemann, Lorentz, Maxwell, Planck, and others while making computational and conceptual adjustments to accommodate modern experimental results.

Also in the text, Bohr and other die-hard quantum statisticians are continually under attack for their poo-pooing of possible phenomena, algorithms, and concepts behind the observed quantum behavior. Bohr and his clan, apparently, claimed that the statistics made up the whole baseball team of quantum physics—and that we should not, and could not, look further.

In refuting this micro-labotomic approach of Bohr, Dr. Mead makes reference to systems—macroscopic in size—that exhibit quantum behaviors. While he mentions lasers, masers, semiconductors, superconductors, and other systems in the text, the primary results of the book hinge upon experimental results from the field of superconductors. He points out that physics can be split into several areas:

·         Classical Mechanics explains un-coherent, uncharged systems such as cannon balls, planets, vehicles, etc.

·         Classical Electrodynamics explains un-coherent, charged systems such as conductors, currents, and their fields.

·         Thermodynamics explains how macroscopic statistics, such as temperature and entropy, guide the time evolution of systems.

·         Modern Quantum Mechanics tries to explain coherent, charged systems.

Here 'coherent' refers to quantum coherency, where many particles/atoms march to the same drum such as the photons in a laser, or the electrons in a superconductor, or any isolated one or two particles. Another description of coherency is that the states are quantum entangled; their time-evolution depends upon each other.

The thrust of Carver's book: QM applies to all matter—not just small systems or isolated particles—is well made. He brings up experimental data from superconductors to illustrate that the phenomenon of coherent quantum entanglement can, and does, occur at macroscopic scales; and that such behavior is very quantum. Thus he proves, quite convincingly, that quantum mechanics applies to all coherent systems.

He then closes by making some very important points.

(1)   He shows that quantum behavior of such systems can be expressed in quantum language (wave function), relativistic language (four-vectors), or electrodynamics (vector potential, scalar potential) in an equivalent fashion. This is important, as it proves that a superconductor is macroscopic, exhibits quantum behavior, and that these quantitative results agree with those found from the other approaches.

(2)   He makes the point that the quantum and relativistic equations show that electromagnetic phenomena consist of two parts: one traveling forward in time; the other backward in time. Feynman and others have said this for a long time, and he shows how thermodynamics (or un-coherent behavior) forces what we see as only time-evolution in one direction in un-coherent systems.

(3)   He illustrates, modeling single atoms as tiny superconducting resonators, that two atoms that are coherently linked will start exchanging energy. This causes an exponential, positive-feedback loop that ends with each atom in a quantum eigenstate. Thus quantum collapse is neither discontinuous, nor instantaneous; and in fact makes a lot of sense.

(4)   He explains, using four-vectors, that all points on a light-cone are near each other in four space. This point—together with (2)—shows that there's no causality contradiction between relativity and quantum mechanics. For example, he explains that two entangled particles, such as photons light years apart, can affect each other immediately if one falls into an eigenstate, since the four-dimensional distance between them (R1 dot R2) is zero. Although separated in three space, they're neighbors in four space. Through these demonstrations and proofs, he successfully suggests that there is a way to further develop the 'behavior of charged, coherent systems' such that quantum mechanics and relativity will agree—but the conceptual changes he suggests are necessary and must be further developed. Also, he admits that a better, more appropriate mathematical and computational methods will be needed, since the complexity of coherent systems runs as n^2.

Pleasantly, then, the book makes elegant, defensible, mathematical and conceptual steps to resolve some nagging points of understanding. Also, the narrative gives the best introduction to electrodynamics and quantum mechanics that I've ever seen. Since the theoretical criticisms and experimental data are quite valid, his proposed resolutions are eye-opening and valuable. The methods he suggests greatly simply thinking about complicated quantum/classical problems. New approaches for future theoretical research are also suggested. Despite the dark tone in the preface, the book is positive, enlightening, and well anchored to accepted, modern experimental results and theoretical work.

It's a short book, about 125 pages, and well worth the read. Familiarity with classical and quantum physics, and special relativity, is required to get the most out of it. As you can tell, I enjoyed it tremendously.”

Apeiron — The Saner Fringes of “Alternative Science”

Important note: I am a big fan and admirer of the great pioneers of quantum theory and general relativity, and I certainly recognize the oftentimes semi-awesome engineering utility of the conventional theories, and I’m an avid subscriber to the leading mainstream science journals, such as Science and Nature. While the overwhelming percentage of outside-the-mainstream “dissident science” is wrong-headed, recall that the earliest works of quantum and relativity theory were not initially warmly received by the mainstream, and arose in the same era as the oft-repeated cynical remarks (including from Max Plank) to the effect that science progresses through the death of the old guard. Also recall that {Schrodinger, de Broglie, Einstein, Bohm, Bell, and others} restlessly searched for {improvements, alternatives}. The {discovery, recognition} of genuinely {viable, realistic, comprehensive} alternatives may require the sort of new data that won’t be available until the advent of {100+ meter telescopes, 1,000,000 km scale space interferometers, continental scale superconducting networks, and so on}. After that, I suspect that the enchanting brilliant technical wizardry of general relativity will turn out to be somewhat too-general and somewhat too-relativistic, and will be radically revised. Meanwhile, I expect that some of the key ideas for such a revision are already lurking outside the present scientific mainstream.

So with the above caveat, I recommend that you check out the online journal (plus archives thereof) and various books featured at: APEIRON, Studies in Infinite Nature. Relative to my “ultra-realist” scientific framework, I find perhaps 10% of the articles plausible (although the majority are still generally technically excellent and insightful), and roughly 25% of the books at least semi-plausible, which I regard as a very rare and remarkable concentration of such material.

(Despite its unfortunately extremely-provocative and somewhat-misleading title, the print journal “Galilean Electrodynamics” is also an interesting and moderately high-quality scientific resource.)

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