Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Nanoscience poses solutions, problems for environmental ills

Jeff Morris (Left) and Franz Geiger (Center) talk to audience members Tuesday night after a town hall meeting on nanotechnology. Courtesy Thomas Forrest/MEDILL.
Jeff Morris (Left) and Franz Geiger (Center) talk to audience members Tuesday night after a town hall meeting on nanotechnology. Courtesy Thomas Forrest/MEDILL.

Abstract:
Story by Thomas Forrest

Imagine a cloud blocking out the sun's light, engulfing the world in darkness as people lived their fossil fueled dominated lives. This was the proposal of some scientists on Tuesday night in Northwestern University. Franz Geiger, associate professor of physical chemistry at Northwestern University, explained the potential benefits and ethical dilemma of such a situation at the third annual Nanotechnology Town Hall Meeting at Abbot Auditorium.

Nanoscience poses solutions, problems for environmental ills

Evanston, IL | Posted on January 14th, 2010

He explained that one way to combat climate change without altering the way people live their lives was by shooting aerosols into space that could act as a reflector and deflect sunlight from earth. He presented a serene picture of the ash from a volcanic eruption preventing the light from the sun.

"The problem is that it will look at noon in July like this," he said.

Geiger acknowledged the psychological effects and moral hazards of such an occurrence. He said that he did not know what reflecting the sunlight from earth would do to the emotional well-being of people. "We know what happens in Iceland, which has a very high suicide rate," he said.

He said the alternative would be to actually have a reflector in orbit. He continued that nanoparticles would act as a giant reflector and cost roughly $10 billion dollars a year worldwide. "The temperature on the planet doesn't increase as quickly as it does without the reflectors, we can continue burning fossil fuels and driving one person per car, and life is good," he continued.

He said that controlling fossil fuel emissions was one way to combat climate control, but this was a costly and difficult proposition because the economy was based on fossil fuels.

Laurie Zoloth, director of the Center for Bioethics, Science and Society, discussed Northwestern University's commitment to nanotechnology and research, and she informed the audience of Northwestern University's Science in Society blog. She said the blog attempts to educate the community about the research efforts from Northwestern University and around the world and the ethical implications of that research.

"We've only been at this for about four or five years," said Jeff Morris, national program director for nanotechnology for the Environmental Protection Agency. He continued that there was still a lot that needed to be discovered about nanotechnology and how it affected health.

He said that a few studies suggesting toxicity did not necessarily equal risk, and researchers don't know if it represented real exposure. Morris said it took about 15 years before a researcher could really get to understand any types of depth within their studies.

"I'm not sure we can wait that long," Morris added.

He said that some of the challenges of research include being flexible and recognizing the limits of science. He added that the EPA has increased research on targeted effects, screening tools and an emphasis on green nanotechnology to discover what information was most needed to best inform decisions on nanotechnology.

"Nanoscale materials show promise for improving the environment," Morris said.

He said that little was known about nanomaterial toxicity and exposure. He said that a few studies suggesting toxicity did not necessarily equal risk, and researchers don't know if it represented real exposure.

Laura Hodson, the industrial hygienist for the Nanotechnology Research Center at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, addressed the safety of nanotechnology. She said that researchers could always manage risk and control materials that may be hazardous.

"Fire can kill us, but we all have fire in our house. We cook with it every day, so we manage the risk," Hodson said. She said that researchers could always manage risk and control materials that may be hazardous.

"Nanomaterials are purposely engineered for their unique size dependent properties and behavior," she said.

She spoke about the beneficial applications of nanotechnology to the environment such as decreasing dependency on fuel, the ability to make fuel cells, batteries and pollution control.

"We have a second chance at new science, and indeed a second chance at a kind of industrial re-revolution named nanotechnology," Zoloth said.

####

About Northwestern University
Northwestern University combines innovative teaching and pioneering research in a highly collaborative environment that transcends traditional academic boundaries. It provides students and faculty exceptional opportunities for intellectual, personal and professional growth in a setting enhanced by the richness of Chicago.

For more information, please click here

Copyright © Northwestern 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.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Physicists build reversible laser tractor beam October 20th, 2014

Removal of Limitations of Composites at Superheat Temperatures October 20th, 2014

1980s aircraft helps quantum technology take flight October 20th, 2014

Ucore's McKenzie to Deliver Presentation to Rare Earths Conference in Singapore as Highlight of Fall 2014 Marketplace Schedule October 19th, 2014

Ethics

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

PETA science consortium to present hazard testing strategy at nanotoxicology meeting: High tech field ripe for use of sophisticated non-animal testing strategies April 22nd, 2014

Scientists disagree on responsible research April 8th, 2014

Caltech Researchers Create Light-Bending Silicon Chip: Bending the Light with a Tiny Chip March 10th, 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

Possible Futures

Superconducting circuits, simplified: New circuit design could unlock the power of experimental superconducting computer chips October 18th, 2014

Nanocoatings Market By Product Is Expected To Reach USD 8.17 Billion By 2020: Grand View Research, Inc. October 15th, 2014

Perpetuus Carbon Group Receives Independent Verification of its Production Capacity for Graphenes at 140 Tonnes per Annum: Perpetuus Becomes the First Manufacturer in the Sector to Allow Third Party Audit October 7th, 2014

PEN Inc. Chairman Scott Rickert Announces Company Vision, Product Priorities and Management Team: Webcast Highlights the Launch of PEN October 3rd, 2014

Announcements

Physicists build reversible laser tractor beam October 20th, 2014

Removal of Limitations of Composites at Superheat Temperatures October 20th, 2014

1980s aircraft helps quantum technology take flight October 20th, 2014

Ucore's McKenzie to Deliver Presentation to Rare Earths Conference in Singapore as Highlight of Fall 2014 Marketplace Schedule October 19th, 2014

Environment

Physicists build reversible laser tractor beam October 20th, 2014

Plastic nanoparticles also harm freshwater organisms October 18th, 2014

New Nanocomposites Help Elimination of Toxic Dyes October 15th, 2014

DNA nano-foundries cast custom-shaped metal nanoparticles: DNA's programmable assembly is leveraged to form precise 3D nanomaterials for disease detection, environmental testing, electronics and beyond October 10th, 2014

Safety-Nanoparticles/Risk management

Plastic nanoparticles also harm freshwater organisms October 18th, 2014

Human health, wealth require expanded marine science, experts say: In Rome, European experts publish a 'common vision' of priorities for marine research and action through 2020 October 9th, 2014

Coating Nanotubes with Aluminum Oxide Lowers Risk of Lung Injury October 6th, 2014

PEN Inc. Chairman Scott Rickert Announces Company Vision, Product Priorities and Management Team: Webcast Highlights the Launch of PEN October 3rd, 2014

Events/Classes

Ucore's McKenzie to Deliver Presentation to Rare Earths Conference in Singapore as Highlight of Fall 2014 Marketplace Schedule October 19th, 2014

Aspen Aerogels, Inc. Schedules Third Quarter 2014 Earnings Release and Conference Call for November 6, 2014 October 17th, 2014

New VDMA Association "Electronics, Micro and Nano Technologies" founded: Inaugural Meeting in Frankfurt/Main, Germany October 15th, 2014

Nanotronics Imaging Releases nSPECŪ 3D, Powerful Microscope That Captures 3D Images at Nanoscale, in Lightning Speed: Company Unveils Design at American Chemical Society 2014 International Elastomer Conference October 14th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE





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














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE