Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Nanotechnology under the microscope

Christopher Bosso is the director and principal investigator for Northeastern's Nanotechnology and Society Research Group. Photo by Lauren McFalls.
Christopher Bosso is the director and principal investigator for Northeastern's Nanotechnology and Society Research Group. Photo by Lauren McFalls.

Abstract:
Nanotechnology is a continually developing branch of science, one with political, environmental and ethical implications that are not yet fully understood. Among those taking the lead to clarify those issues is Christopher J. Bosso, associate dean of Northeastern's School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and director and principal investigator for the University's Nanotechnology and Society Research Group. Bosso is also author of a new book "Governing Uncertainty: Environmental Regulation in the Age of Nanotechnology." Here, he discusses public policy related to nanotechnology and the potential impact of the fast-growing science, for good and ill.

Nanotechnology under the microscope

Boston, MA | Posted on March 29th, 2010

Can you explain how you became involved in thinking about nanotechnology?

Every new technology has direct and indirect consequences for human health, the natural environment and the society at large. I have had a long interest in the public policy dimensions of such consequences going back to my doctoral work on chemical pesticides. So it did not take much convincing when faculty colleagues Jackie Isaacs (mechanical and industrial engineering), Ron Sandler (philosophy and religion) and Woody Kay (political science) asked me to join them in ongoing policy and ethics work connected to Northeastern's Center for High-rate Nanomanufacturing (CHN).

We quickly realized that we were confronting a set of issues beyond CHN's immediate domain, so with CHN director Ahmed Busnaina's help, we put together our own National Science Foundation proposal to look at the broader environmental and health challenges posed by nanomaterials. We had the right proposal at the right time, giving us a rare opportunity to do organized and sustained interdisciplinary thinking about policy and ethical issues related to nanotechnology and other emerging technologies.

Is it common for a university with so much science and engineering research in nanotechnology to also study its possible societal impacts? What are the benefits?

It is not uncommon. The difference lays in organization, breadth and sustained effort, and the degree to which such research is connected to and informed by basic and applied research and development.

The benefits are two-fold. First, having ready access to colleagues in science and engineering informs our thinking about policy and ethical issues, which in turn enables us to advise them on how policy and ethical concerns affect basic research, product development and technology adoption. All of this makes for a lively and truly interdisciplinary discourse. Equally important, these collaborations benefit students across the disciplines. They show our students that the greatest insights about any problem are derived from spanning disciplinary boundaries.

Nanotechnology is a vast area. From your perspective, what is the greatest potential for developments in the field?

It is hard to imagine any sector that won't be reshaped. Perhaps the most exciting breakthroughs are in areas like electronics and medicine.

The work at CHN and other research laboratories here and elsewhere point to revolutionary breakthroughs in the continued miniaturization and speed of computing in the near future, making your iPhone a clunky monster by comparison. It borders on the stuff of science fiction.

Breakthroughs in nanomedical applications — including a lot of work at Northeastern — portends fundamental shifts in how we detect and treat cancer, devise therapies for neurological diseases like Parkinson's or enhance the body's capacity to heal itself when damaged. The prospects for a future where we are able to effectively deal with cancer, Alzheimer's or diabetes is a startling one and merits our close attention along all kinds of policy and ethical dimensions.

What are the near- and long-term environmental and health concerns about nanotechnology, and how do we address them?

Short term concerns are rather prosaic and largely focused on ensuring that those working in laboratories and production facilities aren't exposed to potentially harmful engineered nanoparticles, and that they practice proper disposal procedures in dealing with nanomaterial waste.

Longer-term concerns include the extent to which nanoparticles are toxic to human and animal health — for example, whether cosmetics containing engineered nanoparticles have harmful long-term effects — and the possibly harmful side effects of nanomaterials introduced into the environment for otherwise beneficial reasons, such as injecting iron nanoparticles into the soil to remediate chemical-saturated "brownfields."

What is the appropriate role for government in all of this?

It is not always obvious. As citizens, regardless of overall ideology or partisan views, at minimum we expect government to address those risks that we as individuals can neither understand nor personally control. And we expect government to do so in some reasonably responsive and transparent way. And we also want government to promote economic growth, technological innovation and human health.

These are all balancing acts —and often, difficult ones — so the "appropriate" role for government will depend on our own priorities. And that requires citizens to be more aware of and critical about the benefits and possible costs of revolutionary technologies.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Samantha Fodrowski
617-373-5427

Copyright © Northeastern 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

Electric-car battery materials could harm key soil bacteria February 11th, 2016

Creating a color printer that uses a colorless, non-toxic ink inspired by nature February 11th, 2016

SLAC X-ray laser turns crystal imperfections into better images of important biomolecules: New method could remove major obstacles to studying structures of complex biological machines February 11th, 2016

Nanoparticle reduces targeted cancer drug's toxicity February 11th, 2016

Cima NanoTech Debuts Large Interactive Touch Screens with European Customers at ISE 2016: For the first time in Europe, Cima NanoTech’s wide range of high performance, projected capacitive touch modules are showcased February 11th, 2016

Laboratories

SLAC X-ray laser turns crystal imperfections into better images of important biomolecules: New method could remove major obstacles to studying structures of complex biological machines February 11th, 2016

Scientists take nanoparticle snapshots February 10th, 2016

Ethics

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

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Electric-car battery materials could harm key soil bacteria February 11th, 2016

Creating a color printer that uses a colorless, non-toxic ink inspired by nature February 11th, 2016

SLAC X-ray laser turns crystal imperfections into better images of important biomolecules: New method could remove major obstacles to studying structures of complex biological machines February 11th, 2016

Scientists take nanoparticle snapshots February 10th, 2016

Possible Futures

Chemical cages: New technique advances synthetic biology February 10th, 2016

New thin film transistor may lead to flexible devices: Researchers engineer an electronics first, opening door to flexible electronics February 10th, 2016

Electron's 1-D metallic surface state observed: A step for the prediction of electronic properties of extremely-fine metal nanowires in next-generation semiconductors February 9th, 2016

A fast solidification process makes material crackle February 8th, 2016

Academic/Education

SUNY Poly and GLOBALFOUNDRIES Announce New $500M R&D Program in Albany To Accelerate Next Generation Chip Technology: Arrival of Second Cutting Edge EUV Lithography Tool Launches New Patterning Center That Will Generate Over 100 New High Tech Jobs at SUNY Poly February 9th, 2016

COD Grad Begins Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University: Marsela Jorgolli's Passion for Physics Has Led to a Decade of Academic Research That Continues at Harvard University as a Postdoctoral Fellow February 2nd, 2016

Heriot-Watt's Institute of Photonics & Quantum Sciences uses the Deben Microtest 2 kN tensile stage to characterise ceramics and engineering plastics January 21st, 2016

Multiple uses for the JPK NanoWizard AFM system in the Smart Interfaces in Environmental Nanotechnology Group at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign January 20th, 2016

Chip Technology

Research reveals carbon films can give microchips energy storage capability: International team from Drexel University and Paul Sabatier University reveals versatility of carbon films February 11th, 2016

New thin film transistor may lead to flexible devices: Researchers engineer an electronics first, opening door to flexible electronics February 10th, 2016

SUNY Poly and GLOBALFOUNDRIES Announce New $500M R&D Program in Albany To Accelerate Next Generation Chip Technology: Arrival of Second Cutting Edge EUV Lithography Tool Launches New Patterning Center That Will Generate Over 100 New High Tech Jobs at SUNY Poly February 9th, 2016

Electron's 1-D metallic surface state observed: A step for the prediction of electronic properties of extremely-fine metal nanowires in next-generation semiconductors February 9th, 2016

Nanomedicine

Canadian Scientists Develop Innovative Protein Test for Zika February 11th, 2016

SLAC X-ray laser turns crystal imperfections into better images of important biomolecules: New method could remove major obstacles to studying structures of complex biological machines February 11th, 2016

Nanoparticle reduces targeted cancer drug's toxicity February 11th, 2016

Nanoparticle therapy that uses LDL and fish oil kills liver cancer cells February 9th, 2016

Nanoelectronics

Electron's 1-D metallic surface state observed: A step for the prediction of electronic properties of extremely-fine metal nanowires in next-generation semiconductors February 9th, 2016

The iron stepping stones to better wearable tech without semiconductors February 8th, 2016

Spin dynamics in an atomically thin semi-conductor February 1st, 2016

New type of nanowires, built with natural gas heating: UNIST research team developed a new simple nanowire manufacturing technique February 1st, 2016

Announcements

Research reveals carbon films can give microchips energy storage capability: International team from Drexel University and Paul Sabatier University reveals versatility of carbon films February 11th, 2016

Creating a color printer that uses a colorless, non-toxic ink inspired by nature February 11th, 2016

SLAC X-ray laser turns crystal imperfections into better images of important biomolecules: New method could remove major obstacles to studying structures of complex biological machines February 11th, 2016

Nanoparticle reduces targeted cancer drug's toxicity February 11th, 2016

Environment

Electric-car battery materials could harm key soil bacteria February 11th, 2016

Creating a color printer that uses a colorless, non-toxic ink inspired by nature February 11th, 2016

Scientists have put a high precision blood assay into a simple test strip: Researchers have developed a new biosensor test system based on magnetic nanoparticles February 3rd, 2016

Herbal Extracts Applied to Synthesize Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles January 28th, 2016

Safety-Nanoparticles/Risk management

Electric-car battery materials could harm key soil bacteria February 11th, 2016

Lithium battery catalyst found to harm key soil microorganism February 7th, 2016

Are some people more likely to develop adverse reactions to nanoparticle-based medicines? January 31st, 2016

Too-few proteins prompt nanoparticles to clump: Rice scientists: Blood serum proteins must find balance with therapeutic nanoparticles January 29th, 2016

Nanobiotechnology

Canadian Scientists Develop Innovative Protein Test for Zika February 11th, 2016

SLAC X-ray laser turns crystal imperfections into better images of important biomolecules: New method could remove major obstacles to studying structures of complex biological machines February 11th, 2016

Nanoparticle reduces targeted cancer drug's toxicity February 11th, 2016

Chemical cages: New technique advances synthetic biology February 10th, 2016

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







Car Brands
Buy website traffic