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Review of Discovering the Nanoscale

Last Updated: Monday, 20-Apr-2015 19:51:34 PDT

Edited by: Davis Baird, Alfred Nordmann, and Joachim Schummer. ISBN: 1-58603-467-7

Rocky Rawstern - Editor Nanotechnology Now -

Review by Rocky Rawstern
Editor Nanotechnology Now
Foresight Senior Associate

Discovering the Nanoscale

Labeled by the editors as "a collection of studies that considers nanoscience and nanotechnologies from the critical perspective of Science and technology Studies (STS)," Discovering the Nanoscale is comprised of 25 papers on where we are, how we got here, and where we may be headed with nanoscale technologies, as seen through the eyes of distinguished philosophers and scientists.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in learning the history of nanoscale science, and to those who would like to better understand some of the ethical, legal, and social dilemmas to what I believe has rightly been labeled "the technology of the 21st Century."

With titles ranging from Von Neumann, Self-Reproduction and the Constitution of Nanophenomena to The Rhetoric of Nanotechnology, and Deciding the Future of Nanotechnologies to Perceptions of Risks and Nanotechnology, you will get an in-depth look at the "historical, analytical, and ethical study of nanoscience and -technology."

Overall Rating:


1. Configuring the Disciplines
With contributions by:
J. Schummer, G. Khushf, J.C. Schmidt, A. Nordmann, M.E. Gorman, J.F. Groves and J. Shrager

2. Searching for Theories of the Nanoscale
With contributions by:
P.E. Vermaas, J. Lenhard and O. Bueno

3. Imaging the Nanoscale
With contributions by:
C.C.M. Mody, A. Hessenbruch, D. Baird, A. Shew, J.C. Pitt and C. Robinson

4. Communicating Nanotechnology
With contributions by:
D.M. Berube, A. Lösch, A.E. Schwarz and G. Schiemann

5. Examining the Politics of Nanotechnology
With contributions by:
A. Johnson, H. Glimell, J.A. Roberts and E. Munn Sanchez

6. Exploring Ethical Dimensions
With contributions by:
J. Altmann, M.A. Gubrud, E. Schuler, W.L. Robison, J.H. Moor, J. Weckert and J. Schummer

From the Editors:

"Nanoscience and technologies are developing very quickly, and for this reason both pose a challenge to the more reflective approach commonly taken by science studies, while at the same time requiring the perspective provided by science studies scholars."

"Even if nanosciences and nanotechnologies are not in principle new but continue familiar trajectories of materials science, synthetic chemistry, solid state physics, surface science, molecular biology, electrical, mechanical, and chemical engineering, and so on, their current prominence and visibility are symptomatic of cultural changes in science and technology and of societies at large."

"What this book therefore needs most are readers willing to take on the various claims and counter-claims of the book, to examine them carefully and critically and to constructively move the field ahead. Only then can we say we have 'discovered the nanoscale' as an important and contentious territory for Science and Technology Studies."

—Davis Baird, Alfred Nordmann, and Joachim Schummer

Go to IOS Press to learn more or to buy.

Related links:

USC: NanoScience & Technology Studies: Societal and Ethical Implications

Center for Responsible Nanotechnollogy

Foresight Institute

Key to rating:

= Very Best! Highly recommended.
= Very Good - Recommended
= Good
= Less then expected.
= Poor.

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