Every so often, a truly breathtaking technical development happens. "Windows on the world of atoms" (Science & Technology, Aug. 30), on scanning probe microscopes, signaled such a development.

So-called nanoscience will create new markets in biosciences, computers, manufacturing, and entertainment, to name a few. As you note, Japan has already kicked off a $250 million atom-manipulation project. What are we doing, as a country, to nurture American competitors and assure a sustainable position for ourselves? What's our national policy? We can't miss this boat.

Michael L. Holzer

Westport, Conn.

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