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September 12th, 2006

The New Atomic Scientists

“There’s great potential,” Hurt says, “to use nanomaterials in the body.” The goal of the project, he says, is not to declare all nanomaterials dangerous or safe, but to determine which are toxic and why. Their work could guide the industry toward engineering the toxicity out of the materials, in effect creating a safe and green nanotechnology.

The project doesn’t stop there, however. Also on the team is sociology professor Phil Brown, who is studying the social and ethical implications of nanotechnology. His work will also focus on how best to communicate the exposure risks to the public—including the faculty and students who handle them as part of their research. “Most nanomaterials are still in the lab,” Hurt explains, making it the ideal time to assess their risks.


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