Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


Home > Press > Report shows U.S. public faces widening information gap on nanotechnology

Elizabeth Corley, associate professor of public policy in ASUís School of Public Affairs at the College of Public Programs in Downtown Phoenix. Photo: Felipe Ruiz-Acosta
Elizabeth Corley, associate professor of public policy in ASUís School of Public Affairs at the College of Public Programs in Downtown Phoenix. Photo: Felipe Ruiz-Acosta

As the global nanotechnology industry continues to produce cutting-edge consumer products, the scientific community is leaving a key part of the U.S. public behind when sharing knowledge of this new field of science, according to a new study by Arizona State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Report shows U.S. public faces widening information gap on nanotechnology

Phoenix, AZ | Posted on January 11th, 2010

Nanotechnology involves controlling matter of an atomic and molecular size to develop devices of an incredibly small scale, usually 100 nanometers or smaller (tiny enough to fit through a surgical mask). The technology has expanded to offer more than a thousand consumer products from over 24 countries, including the U.S., China, Canada and Germany. Nanoscale materials now are in common electronics such as iPods, as well as cosmetics, automotive and medical products.

As reported today in the January issue of The Scientist, researchers found widening gaps in nanotech knowledge since 2004 between the least educated and most educated citizens. Americans with at least a college degree have shown an increase in understanding of the new technology, while knowledge about nanotechnology has declined over time for those with education levels of less than a high school diploma, according to the study.

"Unfortunately, people with little or no formal education - those who need outreach the most - aren't getting as much information about this issue, which will likely become even harder to understand over time," says Elizabeth Corley, Lincoln Professor of Public Policy, Ethics and Emerging Technologies in Arizona State University's School of Public Affairs, and co-author of the study.

Well-educated people who are already "information-rich" are learning about nanotechnology from traditional outreach efforts such as museums, Corley says.

Closing these informational gaps among public audiences "is a necessity, especially in light of a projected 2009 U.S. budget that has reduced spending for Ďeducational and social dimensions' of nanotechnology to $33.5 million from $39.2 million in 2007," the article states.

"There is a real urgency to find ways of communicating effectively with all groups in society," says Dietram Scheufele, John E. Ross Professor in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and co-author of the study. "Unless we find ways to close these learning gaps, we will create two classes of citizens - those who are able to make informed consumer and policy choices about these new technologies, and those who simply can't."

But there is a silver lining. The study also found that the Internet is one of the most effective methods in closing gaps and informing the less educated about nanotechnology. "Online and social media are some of the most promising tools for making sure we reach all members of the public with information about science and technology," says Scheufele, "and tools like Digg, Twitter, or Facebook will only become more important down the road."

Corley and Scheufele analyzed data from national surveys conducted over the last five years. The study was funded by the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at ASU.

The School of Public Affairs is part of the ASU College of Public Programs at the Downtown Phoenix campus. The College embraces students and faculty dedicated to rigorous education and research in the service of social and economic change.

Academic units within the College include the Schools of Community Resources and Development; Criminology and Criminal Justice; Public Affairs; and Social Work. Areas of expertise include: improving the quality of life for individuals and families from all backgrounds; innovative approaches to public management; and nonprofit leadership and organizational effectiveness.

To view the complete report, visit:


About Arizona State University
Arizona State University is a creating a new model for American higher education, an unprecedented combination of academic excellence, entrepreneurial energy and broad access. This New American University is a single, unified institution comprising four differentiated campuses positively impacting the economic, social, cultural and environmental health of the communities it serves. Its research is inspired by real world application, blurring the boundaries that traditionally separate academic disciplines. ASU serves more than 64,000 students in metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, the nation's fifth largest city. ASU champions intellectual and cultural diversity, and welcomes students from all fifty states and more than one hundred nations across the globe.

For more information, please click here

Elizabeth Corley
Lincoln Professor of Public Policy, Ethics & Emerging Technologies
Associate Professor of Public Policy
ASU School of Public Affairs
(602) 496-0462

Corey Schubert
Manager of Media Communications, ASU College of Public Programs
602.496.0406 office
602.370.6128 cell

Copyright © Arizona State University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press


Synthetic biology needs robust safety mechanisms before real world application: Ethics and technology hold the key to the success of synthetic biology September 17th, 2015

March 2016; 6th Int'l Conference on Nanostructures in Iran July 29th, 2015

PETA science consortium to present at Society for Risk Analysis meeting December 10th, 2014

PETA science consortium experts to present at international nanotechology workshop: PETA International Science Consortium, Ltd., Is a Sponsor of Nano Risk Analysis II September 12th, 2014

Preparing for Nano

Durnham University's DEEPEN project comes to a close September 26th, 2012

Technical Seminar at ANFoS 2012 August 22nd, 2012

Nanotechnology shows we can innovate without economic growth April 12th, 2012

Thailand to host NanoThailand 2012 December 18th, 2011


Iranian Company Mass-Produces Self-Cleaning Nanopaints November 14th, 2015

Hygienic Nano Floor Coverings with Application in Production Lines, Therapeutic Centers Head to Market November 3rd, 2015

Application of Graphene Structures to Produce Fireproof, Anticorrosive Nanocoatings October 21st, 2015

Iran Producing 9 New Nano Drugs October 17th, 2015


Overtaking science fiction with physics: 33-year-old physicist at the University of Kaiserslautern receives 1.5 million euros of EU funding November 29th, 2015

'Material universe' yields surprising new particle November 28th, 2015

Dimensionality transition in a newly created material November 27th, 2015

Nanoparticles simplify DNA identification and quantification November 27th, 2015


SUNY Poly Welcomes DPS as the Global Engineering Firm Opens Its U.S. Advanced Technology Group Headquarters at Cutting-Edge ZEN Building November 20th, 2015

Pioneering research boosts graphene revolution November 17th, 2015

University of Leeds Expands Structural Biology with Purchase of Multiple Titan Krios TEMs from FEI November 10th, 2015

Iran Signs MoU to Export Nanodevices to China November 9th, 2015


Nanoparticles simplify DNA identification and quantification November 27th, 2015

Scientists 'see' detailed make-up of deadly toxin for the first time: Exciting advance provides hope for developing novel potential method of treating pneumococcal diseases such as bacterial pneumonia, meningitis and septicaemia November 25th, 2015

Electric fields remove nanoparticles from blood with ease November 24th, 2015

Production of Nanocapsules Containing Omega-3 Powder in Iran November 24th, 2015


Overtaking science fiction with physics: 33-year-old physicist at the University of Kaiserslautern receives 1.5 million euros of EU funding November 29th, 2015

'Material universe' yields surprising new particle November 28th, 2015

Iranian Scientists Discover New Catalyst to Remove Pharmaceutical Compounds from Wastewater November 28th, 2015

RAMAN Spectrometry Makes Characterization of Various Nanostructures Possible November 28th, 2015


ORNL microscopy captures real-time view of evolving fuel cell catalysts November 21st, 2015

Increasing Impact Resistance of Polypropylene by Nanoparticles November 20th, 2015

CE & Mobile, ADAS Makers Look to MEMS/Sensors Industry for Enhanced User Experiences at MEMS Executive Congress US 2015 --Smartphone, wearables, ADAS, VR Companies Engage with MEMS/Sensors Suppliers at MEMS & Sensors Industry Groupís annual executive event November 6th, 2015

On the road to ANG vehicles: Berkeley Lab researchers find a better way to store natural gas as a transportation fuel October 27th, 2015

Personal Care

Ceapro Presents Unique Advantages of Its Disruptive Pressurized Gas Expanded Technology (PGX) at 2015 Composites at Lake Louise November 10th, 2015

Nanofilm Introduces Clarity AR Lens Cleaner for Anti-Reflective Superhydrophobic Lenses August 20th, 2015

Sediment dwelling creatures at risk from nanoparticles in common household products August 13th, 2015

Engineering a better 'Do: Purdue researchers are learning how August 4th, 2015

Safety-Nanoparticles/Risk management

Sea traffic pollutes our lungs more than previously thought November 21st, 2015

Silver Nanoparticles Coating on Paper through Biological Methods September 22nd, 2015

Nanotech expertise earns Virginia Tech a spot in National Science Foundation network: New center's focus will be on earth, environmental nanotechnology September 16th, 2015

Nano in food and agriculture: Regulations require collaboration to ensure safety September 14th, 2015

The latest news from around the world, FREE

  Premium Products
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More

Nanotechnology Now Featured Books


The Hunger Project

Car Brands
Buy website traffic