Following Doug’s recommendation, I ordered a copy of Cyrus C M Mody’s Instrumental community: probe microscopy and the path to nanotechnology. I have just started reading the book; I will post updates as I read through. From the first few pages, here are some interesting thoughts:
In several cases, however, we will see that the best opportunities–for both commercial and academic actors–lay in moving probe microscopy away from marketable applications.
That is, a market for probe microscopy developed not because th probe-microscopy community’s members focused solely on applied research with commercial value, but because the community’s members were moving in many directions at one. Probe microscopists pursued almost every gradation of basic and applied, curiosity-driven and problem-driven research.
Another interesting idea that came up early in the book is the ability for small university labs to pursue research which can have huge economic potential, and the impact of this on the academia-industry interface.
On the whole, a nice one (even though I have hardly read ten pages) and strongly recommended!