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April 3rd, 2009

Are nanotechnology robots next?

Visiting professor talks about need for ethics in nanotechnology research

When most people hear the word nanotechnology, they usually dismiss it as science-fiction nonsense -- visions of molecular-sized robots are often the first thing to spring to mind.

But the application of such theoretical technology may be closer than most think. During a Thursday morning forum at Iowa Wesleyan College, Akhlesh Lakhtakia, a visiting professor with the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics at Pennsylvania State University, warned that moral and ethical decisions about nanotechnology soon will have to be made.

"Until recently, the government has turned a blind eye to this issue," Lakhtakia said. "I don't want to sound alarmist, and I don't want to give you hype. We must educate the future generation, and we must focus on university education."

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