This should be Eric Drexler's moment in the sun. Instead, his colleagues are treating him like the crazy uncle in the attic.Nanotechnology, the field Drexler helped kick start, has become a far-flung, multibillion-dollar discipline, sparking innovations in medicine, consumer products and pure science. But most of today's nanotech specialists say Drexler's vision of molecule-sized robots is science fiction, not science fact. Others predict disaster if Drexler's dream ever comes to pass.At stake is more than just academic bragging rights. Businesses, governments and universities have wagered enormous sums of money on nanotech research and development. But no sizable bet has been placed on Drexler's nanobot notion."I don't rule out anything that might happen in the 22nd or 23rd century," said Kevin Ausman, executive director of Rice University's Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology. But Drexler's itty-bitty robotics "isn't nanotechnology that anyone is working on experimentally, or even has the beginning of a coherent plan to achieve."My Wired News article has more.

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