With the global population anticipated to increase from today’s roughly 7.5 billion to almost 10 billion by 2050, how will we meet the exploding energy, food, water, health and healthcare demands sustainably? New technologies emerging from the convergence of biology and engineering promise to meet these demands and to change our world for the better. This 21st century convergence has the potential to be every bit as revolutionary as last century’s convergence of physics and engineering, which produced the digital technologies that profoundly reshaped our world. So writes Susan Hockfield, a world-renowned biologist who from 2004 to 2012 served as the president of MIT, in The Age of Living Machines. She brings readers into the invention process of some of the breathtaking new technologies that are coming our way: Virus-built batteries. Protein-based water filters. Cancer-treating nanoparticles. Mind-reading bionic limbs. Computer-engineered crops. The development of these technologies, Hockfield writes, is the scientific story of the 21st century — one that holds the promise of overcoming some of the greatest humanitarian, medical, and environmental challenges of our time.
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