In the latter half of the 20th century, we focused our research efforts on setting foot on the moon, exploring the uncharted regions of space, and building spacecraft that could bring us to the stars and back. It was the era of physics and engineering.
Susan Hockfield, a neurobiologist and former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, believes that the next scientific frontier is the confluence of biology and engineering.
New technologies are increasingly being built out of biological parts. The idea of biological engineering, or using inspiration from biological structures to build things, has been in people’s hands and minds for a while. What’s new is the acceleration of these kinds of technologies.
It’s important because when we look at the challenges we’re facing, in terms of population growth and our food resources and our water resources and our healthcare resources, it’s pretty clear that if we’re going to go from our current 7.7 billion [people] to over 9.7 billion by 2050, we’re going to need some new technologies in order to increase productivity without using up all the resources on Earth.
(Image credit: ejaugsburg/Pixabay)