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Preparing for Nanotechnology

A guide to efforts intended to help ease the transition to a nanotech-enabled world

Last Updated: Monday, 20-Apr-2015 19:51:36 PDT

Currently there are 135 links listed, not counting those within the Quotes and News sections. If you know of another that is not shown, please contact us.

We categorize these links based on the intent of the organization; some are focused on near-term applications of nanoscale materials science (Near Term Nanotechnologies), while others focus on advanced nanotechnologies such as Molecular Manufacturing (Advanced Nanotechnologies).

While Near Term Nanotechnologies pose many challenges and will require careful planning, Advanced Nanotechnologies are forecast to be an order of magnitude more complex, and just as likely to present us with nearly unimaginable benefits as huge risks.

Also included are links to Papers, Events, Quotes, Books, and News related to these topics.

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Kim Hill - one of the best known and most respected interviewers in New Zealand - talks with Mike Treder of the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology
Excellent Q&A. 23 minutes. Audio only. September 2, 2006.

Book review: Nanotalk: Conversations with Scientists and Engineers about Ethics, Meaning, and Belief in the Development of Nanotechnology
by Rosalyn W. Berne. Review by David Guston, Associate Director, Center for Nanotechnology in Society, Arizona State University.

Research Training in Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies: Current Status and Future Needs
The aim (of the workshop) was to determine future needs from the point of view of research training necessary to maintain progress in these new technologies in Europe and the world. The discussion was primarily concerned with research training – both scientific and in other areas, such as business, safety, environmental safety and ethics – but this linked directly to infrastructure and regulation. Participants had a wide range of academic and industrial experience and came from 27 countries in Europe, the USA and Asia.

Enhancing dialogue on nanotechnologies and nanosciences at the European level.

The Emerging NanoEconomy: Key Drivers, Challenges and Opportunities
James Canton, Ph.D. CEO, Institute for Global Futures (PDF)

AC/UNU Millennium Project
Environmental Pollution and Health Hazards Resulting From Military Uses of Nanotechnology. (This is formally a study, and contain an interesting chart labeled "Potential Use and Potential Impacts between 2005 and 2010")

AC/UNU Millennium Project
Global Normative Scenario Excerpt from "1999 State of the Future: Challenges We Face at the Millennium"

NSF - Nanoscale Science and Engineering Education (NSEE)
Its goals are to develop strong partnerships linking science educators with nanoscale science and engineering researchers, and to increase knowledge of advances in nanoscale research and technology and their impact on society.

Environmental Law Institute Nanotechnology Initiative
The Environmental Law Institute’s Nanotechnology Initiative seeks to respond to the urgent need to develop an effective environmental, health, and safety governance structure for nanotechnologies. The nano-revolution is upon us, yet our current environmental, health, and safety programs do not adequately address the risks nanotechnologies may pose to public health and the environment.

Nanotech Engagement Group (NEG)
The NEG is funded by the Office of Science and Technology's (OST) Sciencewise programme and its aims are to support learning among those conducting nanotechnology engagement projects, and inform government policy on public engagement with nanotechnology.

Societal Implications of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
National Science Foundation

Lifeboat Foundation
"A nonprofit, nongovernmental organization, dedicated to ensuring that humanity adopts the increasingly powerful technologies of genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics safely as we move towards a technological singularity."

"European perspectives on philosophical, ethical and societal issues of nanotechnology." Contributors include Peter Janich, Armin Grunwald, Joachim Schummer, Alfred Nordmann, Niels Boeing, Jürgen Altmann, Christoph Baumgartner, and Bert Gordijn.

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Near Term Nanotechnologies

Foresight Nanotech Institute
"Today, with the basic framework of public understanding in place, we are refocusing our efforts on guiding nanotechnology research, public policy and education to address the critical challenges facing humanity. Foresight's new mission is to ensure the beneficial implementation of nanotechnology."

International Nanotechnology and Society Network (INSN)
The INSN consists of researchers exploring the connections between society and the possible upcoming changes provided by nanotechnology research. Members, Research (Scholarship) Themes, and Projects.

Societal Dimensions Program Component Area (PCA) of the NNI
Focuses on the practical implications and cultural context of nanotechnology research and development, on both a domestic and global scale. Societal dimensions include a diverse range of subjects, such as access to benefits arising from nanotechnology, effects on the labor pool, changes in the way medicine is practiced, the impact of manufacturing locally at the point of need, concerns regarding possible health or environmental effects, and privacy concerns arising from distributed nanotechnology-based sensors. See also Education and Workforce Needs, Environment and Health Safety Issues, Responsible Development and International Cooperation, Ethical, Legal and Other Societal Issues, and Funding for Societal Dimensions.

nanoScience & Technology Studies
University of South Carolina. nSTS is a group of researchers at USC trained in a variety of disciplines who pursue scholarly research and education about the societal, epistemological, and ethical dimensions of nanotechnologies. We recognize the value of multiple points of view and support contributions originating both from interdisciplinary perspectives and from the traditional disciplines.  By design, our research bridges across the humanities, social sciences, sciences, engineering, medicine, and the professions. Work produced by nSTS scholars may speak to a variety of audiences, including academics, students, those involved in government and policy, diverse professional fields, and lay publics.

University of Wisconsin, Madison
Nanotechnology and Society - An umbrella program, jointly sponsored by the nanoscience and engineering and social science faculties at UW-Madison, the initiative supports a range of programs and interdisciplinary research projects that explore societal, ethical, legal, policy, economic, and security issues surrounding nanotechnology.

National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network, (NNIN)
Social and Ethical Issues in Nanotechnology. NNIN hosts network of scholars with the expertise to examine social and ethical aspects of nanotechnology. This network mirrors the overall structure of the NNIN, and has a dual purpose. First, it constitutes an enabling infrastructure aimed at fostering exchange, producing resources for research and education, and catalyzing additional social and ethical research and discussion. Second, researchers associated with the NNIN will explore issues of ethics, communication, workforce change, industrial innovation, and other social implications of nanotechnology, especially as they emerge in the NNIN community.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
Approaches to Safe Nanotechnology: An Information Exchange with NIOSH. The field of nanotechnology is advancing rapidly and will likely revolutionize the global industry. As with any new technology, we are faced with many unknowns; all of which raise questions concerning occupational safety and health. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is committed to ensuring worker protection as nanotechnology develops.

NIOSH has developed the document Approaches to Safe Nanotechnology: An Information Exchange with NIOSH to raise awareness of potential safety and health concerns from exposure to nanomaterials. The document also addresses current and future research needs essential to understanding the potential risks that nanotechnology may have to workers.

Nanoparticle Information Library (NIL). NIOSH is working with its national and international partners to develop a web-based Nanoparticle Information Library (NIL). The goal of the NIL is to help occupational health professionals, industrial users, worker groups, and researchers organize and share information on nanomaterials, including their health and safety-associated properties.

Center for Nanotechnology in Society
Arizona State University. Designed as a boundary organization at the interface of science and society, CNS-ASU provides an operational model for a new way to organize research through improved reflexiveness and social learning which can signal emerging problems, enable anticipatory governance, and, through improved contextual awareness, guide trajectories of NSE knowledge and innovation toward socially desirable outcomes, and away from undesirable ones.

Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS)
University of California at Berkeley, University of California at Davis, University of California at Merced, University of California at Santa Cruz

Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs
The Nanotechnology-Biology Interface: Exploring Models for Oversight. The Center for Science, Technology & Public Policy at the Humphrey Institute of the University of Minnesota hosted a workshop on September 15, 2005 to explore and evaluate models for the oversight of nanotechnology, with a focus on nanoparticles that are used in or derived from biological systems. Over 160 people attended the workshop, including individuals from industry, academe, national organizations, and federal, state and local government. A report summarizing the workshop is now available. It includes a summary of the workshop, as well as conclusions and recommendations about policies for moving forward.

Center on Nanotechnology and Society (CONAS)
Illinois Institute of Technology "... to catalyze informed, inter-disciplinary research and education on the implications of nanoscale science and technology for ethical, legal, policy, business, and wider social issues, and with a special focus on the human condition."

Center for Nanotechnology in Society (CNS- UCSB)
University of California at Santa Barbara. The mission of the Center for Nanotechnology in Society (CNS) at the University of California, Santa Barbara is to serve as a national research and education center, a network hub among researchers and educators concerned with nanotechnologies' societal impacts, and a resource base for studying these impacts in the US and abroad.

Nanotechnology and Society Research Group
University of New Hampshire. Dedicated to the study of the societal dimensions of nanotechnology research, development, application and commercialization. The group, which is comprised of faculty from Northeastern University, the University of Massachusetts-Lowell and the University of New Hampshire, is part of the National Science Foundation funded Center for High-rate Nanomanufacturing.

Science, Technology and Society (STS)
University of Texas at Austin. Among other objectives, the Science, Technology, & Society Program (STS) at the University of Texas at Austin conducts research on societal implications of nanotechnology and organizes activities on nanotechnology awareness in society.

STS Nanolog
University of Texas at Austin. An interactive online magazine where both scientists and non-scientists can discuss the dynamic and profound effects of nanotechnology on society.

Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics
Research Area 4: IT and Nanotechnology: Ethics of Emergent Technology

University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics (JCB) A partnership between the University of Toronto and affiliated healthcare organizations. The JCB studies important ethical, health-related topics through research and clinical activities. The JCB is a network of over 180 multidisciplinary professionals seeking to improve health care standards at both national and international levels.

European Union sponsored Thematic Network. A comprehensive source of information on all areas of nanotechnology to the business, the scientific and social communities.

Europe-wide dialogue on benefits, risks and social, ethical and legal implications of nanotechnology.

Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology (CBEN)
A National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center (NSEC) at Rice University. Aiming to transform nanoscience into a field with the impact of a modern-day polymer science, CBEN focuses on research at the interface between "dry" nanomaterials and aqueous media such as biology and the environment, developing the nanoscience workforce of the future, and transferring discoveries to industry.

International Council on Nanotechnology (ICON)
ICON’s mission is to assess, communicate, and reduce nanotechnology environmental and health risks while maximizing its societal benefit.

ICON Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Database
Summaries (abstracts) and citations for research papers related to the EHS implications of nanoscale materials.

Parenteral Drug Association
Nanotechnology Interest Group. The Nanotechnology Interest Group provides an open forum for the exchange, networking and sharing of information relating to the development and commercialization of pharmaceutical nanotechnology and bio-nanotechnology based products. The site has been developed with the aim of opening up to a broader circle of scientists and industry professionals an area that is widely perceived will produce a revolutionary change in healthcare management.

Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies
An initiative launched by the Wilson Center and The Pew Charitable Trusts in 2005. It is dedicated to helping business, government and the public anticipate and manage possible health and environmental implications of nanotechnology.

Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies
Nanotechnology Consumer Products Inventory. "While not comprehensive, this inventory gives the public the best available look at the 200+ nanotechnology-based consumer products currently on the market. Prior to this inventory, the figure most often cited by the U.S. government was that approximately 80 consumer products containing nanomaterials were being sold."

NPPTAC Interim Ad How Work Group on Nanoscale Materials
During the summer of 2005, Meridian assisted in the formation of and facilitated the Interim Ad Hoc Work Group on Nanoscale Materials. The Work Group discussed, and generated public input on, potential elements for an OPPT voluntary program regarding engineered nanoscale materials, began consideration of regulatory actions OPPT could undertake regarding such materials, and identified issues for further consideration.

Global Dialogue on Nanotechnology and the Poor: Opportunities and Risks (GDNP)
Meridian Institute is convening the Global Dialogue on Nanotechnology and the Poor: Opportunities and Risks (GDNP). Goals of the GDNP include:

  • Raise awareness about the implications of nanotechnology for the poor.
  • Close the gaps within and between sectors of society to develop an action plan that addresses opportunities and risks, and
  • Identify ways that science and technology can play an appropriate role in the development process.

International Risk Governance Council (IRGC)
The risk assessment and management of nanotechnology requires the framing of adequate modelling to allow the characterising of potential “undesired” scenarios, probability assessments using “knowledge maps,” and expert elicitation. It is entirely possible that, because of the nanoscale and difficulty in visualising the objects being assessed, we may need to develop new and innovative approaches to risk assessment; traditional risk analysis approaches may not provide an adequate solution. The development of guiding principles for framing the risk assessment and management of nanotechnology would allow the cross-fertilisation of results and, so, provide early warning to other traditional technologies with which nanotechnology will potentially interact.

The overall aim of NANOSAFE2 is to develop risk assessment and management for secure industrial production of nanoparticles. As the world of nanoparticles is already very wide today, only a finite number of reference cases of nanoparticles will be treated. These cases will be representative of main particle characteristics, main production processes and related risks.

The Nano Jury brings together twenty randomly-chosen people from different backgrounds who will hear evidence about a wide range of possible futures, and the role that nanotechnologies might play in them. Compared to any other previous technological step-change, there are unprecedented levels of uncertainty that surround which different nanotechnologies could and should emerge. With the acknowledged lack of knowledge about the potential environmental and socio-economic impacts that may arise from the diverse applications of these new technologies, nanotech raises major challenges for efforts at non-specialist involvement in their development and regulation.

University of Oregon - Safer Nanomaterials and Nanomanufacturing Initiative (SNNI)
"... develop new nanomaterials and nanomanufacturing approaches that offer a high level of performance, yet pose minimal harm to human health or the environment. Research under the Initiative will merge the principles of green chemistry and nanoscience to produce safer nanomaterials and more efficient nanomanufacturing processes in the context of producing nanoparticles and nanostructured materials for applications in fields such as in photovoltaics, nanoelectronics and sensing."

University of Maryland - Maryland Center for Integrated Nano Science and Engineering (M-CINSE)
Public Policy: Nanotechnology presents a variety of important issues related to society and public policy, and M-CINSE faculty are committed to many of these, which extend well beyond cutting-edge research, technology development, and education. One important issue is the recruiting and development of a large and diverse workforce, which will be needed for the nanotechnology industries of the future (NSF estimates 2 million workers within 15 years). Another key issue is to understand any impact of nanotechnology on health and environment, which could arise from the small size and diverse materials involved in nanoscale objects - nanoparticles, nanotubes, nanowires, etc.

Environmental Protection Agency Green Chemistry Program

"NanoCare is a project funded by the BMBF and will aid the generation of new scientific knowledge on possible health effects of nanoparticles. Sixteen partners from research and industry are involved, amongst others Degussa AG, BASF AG, Bayer Material Science, Solvay GmbH, DECHEMA e.V., VDI. NanoCare is coordinated by Prof. Dr. Krug, Institute of Toxicology and Genetics, Karlsruhe Research Center, and NanoMat, the Competence Network for Nanommaterials. In order to establish a unique information base “Environmental and health effects of nanoparticles” a most comprehensive collection of relevant data will be made, which will be assessed and presented online in an easy access format."

"Combines ethics research in nanobiotechnology with science communication. This interdisciplinary project brings together nanobiotechnologists, ethicists and communication specialists with the aims to anticipate the societal and ethical issues likely to arise as nanobiotechnologies develop and to use the lessons from the GM debate to respond to the probable public concerns."

"Demos is the think tank for everyday democracy. We believe everyone should be able to make personal choices in their daily lives that contribute to the common good. Our aim is to put this democratic idea into practice by working with organisations in ways that make them more effective and legitimate."

Impart-Nanotox Cluster Project - Impact of nanoparticles
The global aim of this project is to provide investigative support for the elucidation of the toxicological impact of nanoparticles on human health and the environment.

Nanotechnology Issues Dialogue Group (NIDG)
Co-ordinate Government activities described in its response to the report by the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering: ‘Nanoscience and nanotechnologies: opportunities and uncertainties’; Provide a platform to monitor progress and delivery of the commitments of the Government, and provide evidence to inform the Council for Science and Technology’s two and five-year independent reviews of progress; and Ensure that the work of the Nanotechnology Research Co-ordination Group (NRCG) is integrated with other parts of the programme of work set out in the Government’s response.

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Advanced Nanotechnologies

Center for Responsible Nanotechnology CRN
The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (CRN)

A non-profit think tank concerned with the major societal and environmental implications of advanced nanotechnology. CRN promotes public awareness and education, and the crafting and implementation of effective policy to maximize benefits and reduce dangers. "Advanced nanotechnology may build machines that are thousands of times more powerful—and hundreds of times cheaper—than today's devices. The humanitarian potential is enormous; so is the potential for misuse. The vision of CRN is a world in which molecular manufacturing is widely used for productive and beneficial purposes, and where malicious uses are limited by effective administration of the technology."

Responsible Nanotechnology
News and notes about the ongoing work of the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (CRN).
This site focuses on the science behind emerging technologies of broad importance, summarizing research results and offering technical perspectives on research directions. It includes tutorial material, new results, annotated bibliographies and links to external web resources.

Foresight Nanotech Institute
Foresight Nanotech Institute
"Today, with the basic framework of public understanding in place, we are refocusing our efforts on guiding nanotechnology research, public policy and education to address the critical challenges facing humanity. Foresight's new mission is to ensure the beneficial implementation of nanotechnology."

A collaborative website to study the facts and implications of advanced nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is developing rapidly, and its implications are unknown. This is a site for researchers worldwide to work together, helping to build an understanding of the technologies, their effects, and what to do about them.

Bootstrap Institute
The Bootstrap Institute was conceived by Dr. Douglas C. Engelbart to further his lifelong career goal of boosting any organization's ability to successfully address problems that are complex and urgent.

The Nanoethics Group
A non-partisan and independent organization that studies the ethical and societal implications of nanotechnology. We also engage the public as well as collaborate with nanotech ventures and research institutes on related issues that will impact the industry.

The Journal of Geoethical Nanotechnology
This inaugural issue of The Journal of Geoethical Nanotechnology contains four articles by visionaries in such diverse fields as astrobiology, performance art, the law, and biology.

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies
"By promoting and publicizing the work of thinkers who examine the social implications of scientific and technological advance, we seek to contribute to the understanding of the impact of emerging technologies on individuals and societies. We also want to help shape public policies that distribute the benefits and reduce the risks of technological advancement."

Nanotechnology - Innovation Opportunities for Tomorrow’s Defence
Frank Simonis & Steven Schilthuizen. "... provides an overview of current developments, expectations for time-to-market and several future concepts for military applications." (112 page PDF)

Changesurfer Consulting

Dr. Michael Mehta, Department of Sociology, University of Saskatchewan
Collection of papers, presentations, and power points on nanotechnology.

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Papers, Interviews, Articles

Applying the Precautionary Principle to Nanotechnology
Chris Phoenix and Mike Treder, Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (CRN).

Safe Utilization of Advanced Nanotechnology
Chris Phoenix and Mike Treder, Center for Responsible Nanotechnology.

Three Systems of Action: A Proposed Application for Effective Administration of Molecular Nanotechnology
Chris Phoenix and Mike Treder, Center for Responsible Nanotechnology.

Why care about nanotechnology?
K. Eric Drexler, Founder, Foresight Nanotech Institute.

Nanotechnology: From Feynman to Funding
K. Eric Drexler, Founder, Foresight Nanotech Institute.

Nanotechnology: why people care (or: thinking outside the dot)
Ralph C. Merkle, Professor, Georgia Tech College of Computing.

Asking the Right Questions
Douglas Mulhall/CRN

Nanoscience and nanotechnologies: opportunities and uncertainties
Report on nanotechnologies - ‘Nanoscience and nanotechnologies: opportunities and uncertainties’ - was published on 29 July 2004. The report illustrates the fact that nanotechnologies offer many benefits both now and in the future but that public debate is needed about their development. It also highlights the immediate need for research to address uncertainties about the health and environmental effects of nanoparticles – one small area of nanotechnologies. It also makes recommendations about regulation to control exposure to nanoparticles.

Nanotechnology Risk Governance
Prepared by the International Risk Governance Council (IRGC)

Nanotech Challenges, Part 2
Edited by Davis Baird & Joachim Schummer

"Societal and Ethical Implications of Nanotechnology": Meanings, Interest Groups, and Social Dynamics
Joachim Schummer, University of Darmstadt.

Nanotechnology and the Commons
Implications of Open Source Abundance in Millennial Quasi-Commons. Bryan Bruns.

Analyzing the Complexity of Nanotechnology
Marc J. de Vries, Delft University of Technology.

Narratives for Nanotech: Anticipating Public Reactions to Nanotechnology
Chris Toumey, University of South Carolina.

What Next? The Coming Revolution In Manufacturing
John Walker, founder of Autodesk, Inc.

Nanotechnology Ethics, Education, & Regulation

The Nanotechnology Revolution
Adam Keiper

Ethical Administration of Nanotechnology
Chris Phoenix

Responsible Nanotechnology: Looking Beyond the Good News
Vicki Colvin, Director of the Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology, Rice University.

Mind the gap: science and ethics in nanotechnology
Mnyusiwalla, A. Abdallah S. Daar, & Peter A. Singer (PDF)

The Ethics of Nanotechnology
Andrew Chen (Reprint of an undergraduate student paper)

Think Small
Peter A. Singer, University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics.

Nanotechnology Ethics
Peter A. Singer, University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics.

Managing the Effects of Nanotechnology
J. Clarence (Terry) Davies, The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Nanotechnology - small size, large impact?
Swiss Re's Centre for Global Dialogue recently published a comprehensive report on its first conference of nanotechnology, held in December 2004 in Rüschlikon, Switzerland.

Getting Nanotech Right: A New Report on Government Oversight of Nanotechnology
In October 2005, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the manufacture of a new type of carbon nanotube under the “low release and exposure exemption” of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). It’s the first time the agency approved a new chemical specifically identified as being “nano.”

Final Report of the International Dialogue on Responsible Research and Development of Nanotechnology (PDF - the link is located at the bottom of the page.)

Nanotechnology and U.S. Federal Regulation
As nanotechnology moves from the research lab into commercial production and markets, potential regulatory issues may emerge, ranging from worker protection to environmental exposure and risks. To address these issues, Meridian Institute and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (WWICS) co-convened a series of three dialogue sessions focused on the relationship between nanotechnology and federal regulation in the United States. (Meeting materials from the three dialogue sessions are available.)

News From the Bottom Article and papers from "students working on the implications of nanotechnology" from the University of South Carolina.

Report of a joint Royal Society / Science Council of Japan workshop on the potential health, environmental and societal impacts (PDF)

Free Will and the Anthropogenic Earth Brad Allenby, December 2004. "... free will matters in large part because in most cultures -- including the dominant Eurocentric globalized culture -- ethical responsibility accompanies decisions made where free will exists, and does not accompany actions that do not arise from free will. Thus, moral responsibility is generally not imposed where actions are taken under duress, or by individuals who are incapable for some reason, such as mental illness, of exercising free will."

Tiny technologies for the global good Erin B. Court, Abdallah S. Daar, Deepa L. Persad, et al. (PDF)

2005 Nanotechnology Research Grants Investigating Environmental and Human Health Effects of Manufactured Nanomaterials: A Joint Research Solicitation - EPA, NSF, NIOSH STAR Recipients

Nanotechnology: It's Impact on Defence and the MOD This is the first of a series of information sheets, on emerging technologies to inform the Department about topics that are likely to be of growing importance to defence, produced by a panel comprising some of the UK’s leading experts.

Forward to the future: Nanotechnology and regulatory policy Glenn Harlan Reynolds (PDF)

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Events and Conferences

February 25 - 26, 2005
Western Regional Bioethics Conference (WRBC) (Issues include the limits and potential of nanotechnology). Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz.

March 02 - 05, 2005
USC Nano Ethics Conference.

May 08 - 10, 2005
3rd Meeting on Society of Nano Science and Technology - Socitety of Nano Science and Technology. Sendai, Japan

July 29, 2005
World Future Society - Symposium on Nanotechnology. Chicago, Ill.

October 07, 2005
Chicago Nano Forum - "Hype or Hope: Exploring Nano, Risk and Ethics." Chicago, Ill.

November 29, 2005
Live Webcast -- First Research Inventory of the Environmental, Health and Safety Impacts of Nanotechnology. (Event Summary)

December 14, 2005
Live Webcast -- Nanotechnology & the Media: Realities & Risk. (Event Summary)

January 11, 2006
Managing the Effects of Nanotechnology - A New Report on Government Oversight of Nanotechnology. (Event summary)

January 30, 2006
Brave New Nano: Regulating the Future. Chicago, Ill.

February 06, 2006
Transforming Society through Emerging Technologies: The NNI at Five Years. Purdue University in West Lafayette, In.

February 23, 2006
Live Webcast - Nanotechnology & NIOSH: Perspectives from Director John Howard.

March 13, 2006
Nanotechnology and Society: In Synchrony? Is nanotechnology a speeding train that is leaving the public and their understanding at the station? What are some of the potential future impacts of nanotechnology on society as a whole? What are the ramifications of rapid commercial development before our knowledge of the environmental and health effects and development of adequate safeguards for workers and consumers? Is the groundwork being laid for wide-spread public backlash which would stifle nanotechnology’s growth? Registration deadline is Friday, March 10 at 5:00 PM Central. To register, please send an email to Deepika Misra with your preferred attendance location.

March 27 - 30, 2006
Nano & Bio in Society (NABIS) Conference: The Societal Implications of Nano and Bio Technology; the Scientist's Role in Society. Chicago, Ill.

South Carolina Citizens' School of Nanotechnology (SCCSN) The SCCSN is a consumer-friendly outreach program in which Benedict and USC faculty, in disciplines ranging from Chemistry to Philosophy, introduce nanotechnology to nonexperts. SCCSN features a series of background readings, presentations and two-way discussions. Participants will receive a package of very readable articles to accompany each session. 8 events scheduled through May 2006.

April 17 - 21, 2006
MRS Forum KK: Education in Nanoscience and Engineering.

April 28, 2006
NanoWorld: Toward a Policy for the Human Future. National Press Club, Washington, D.C.

May 31 - June 03, 2006
Synergy Between Experiment and Computation in Nanoscale Science. Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

June 12, 2006
Nanotechnology Oversight & Risk - It's Your Business! Stanford University, Calif.

July 10 - 14, 2006
ASME Nano Training Bootcamp (Detailed and tutorial-based account of advances in fundamentals related to Nanoscience). University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn.

August 09 - 10, 2006
The Global Aspects of Nano and Biotechnology: The Impact of Science on Society. Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, Chicago, Ill.

August 20, 2006
2nd Annual Workshop on Geoethical Nanotechnology. Lincoln, Vt.

September 08 - 09, 2006
The Michigan Nanotechnology Institute for Medicine and Biological Sciences (M-NIMBS) will host a symposium on nanotechnology in science and society. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Green Nano Events Part of the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies. An initiative being led by Dr. Barbara Karn, on detail to the Project on Emerging Nanotechnolgies from the EPA's Office of Research and Development. 4 events scheduled through May 2006.

October 30 - November 02, 2006
The 3rd International Congress of Nanotechnology (ICNT 2006). San Francisco, Calif.

March 11 - 16, 2007
1st Advanced Course on Strategic Communication and Applied Ethics in Nanobiotechnology. St Edmund Hall, Oxford, UK

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"If I had to pick the No. 1 challenge facing nanotechnology firms, it's environmental, health, and safety regulation and the question of public perception." —U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)

"Most nanotechnology-based products pose little chance for public exposure and therefore pose little risk to health or the environment. That's because most uses are in composites in which the nanoparticles are encased in a product, such as golf clubs or car bumpers, or in nanoscale structures that are part of larger devices such as electronic circuits." —E. Clayton Teague, Director, Federal National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO)

"If even half of the expectations of nanotechnology are realized, it will lead to changes in every aspect of human life and, perhaps, human nature itself." —Nigel M. de S. Cameron, Ph.D., director of Nano & Society

"This technology (nanotechnology) also holds the promise of broad societal implications. By 2015, products in which nanotechnology plays a key role will require more than 2 million workers and produce about $1 trillion in products annually. These estimates are from leading experts in large companies with related nanotechnology programs in the United States, Japan and Europe." —Mihail C. Roco, Senior Advisor, NSF and Chair, U.S. National Science and Technology Council's Subcommittee on Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology. link

Molecular manufacturing has as many implications as electricity, computers, and gasoline engines-combined. —CRN

"What if someone said, 'Here's a new technology that's going to change the world, but it will kill 50,000 people a year.' Would we allow it? But that's exactly what the car has done for us." —Davis Baird, Dean of the South Carolina Honors College. He believes most technologies, real or imagined, have potential for good or evil. "But it's too simplistic to say it's going to be a worse world or a better world. It's going to be a different world," he said. link

"If nanotechnology is to fulfill its enormous economic potential, then we have to invest more right now in understanding what problems the technology might cause," —Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, R-N.Y., Chairman of the House Science Committee. "This is the time to act, before we cause problems. This is the time to act, when there is a consensus among government, industry and environmentalists." link

"Two, ten or twenty years from now, I believe nanotechnology will be seen as environmentally friendly and the critical element in environmental solutions, and we'll wonder what the panic was about. I'm doing everything I can every day to help make our planet greener through nanotechnology. How about you?" —Scott Rickert, Chief Executive of Nanofilm

"Educating people on nanotechnology assumes there is a deficit in their understanding," Rejeski explained. "Engagement forces us to admit that the public may have something important to say to scientists, industry, and policymakers and that they deserve to be part of the larger conversation about how nanotechnology develops," he said. link

"The question isn't whether nanomaterials are good or bad. The question is which are toxic? Under what conditions? And can we make and purify them in different ways to avoid toxicity - to make 'green' nanomaterials?" —Robert Hurt, Brown University Professor of Engineering.

"This brings us back to the example of a scientist getting on an airplane. His or her decision about boarding a plane is similar to the judgments that a citizen makes about nanotechnology, and it involves similar assumptions: an understanding of the uncertainties involved, some knowledge about the technical aspects, confidence in the relevant regulatory bodies, and ultimately the notion that the benefits outweigh the risks." —Dietram Scheufele, Professor in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication and the Department of Life Sciences Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. link

The Safer Nanomaterials and Nanomanufacturing Initiative is intended to develop nanomaterials and nanomanufacturing methods that simultaneously meet the military's need for high performance materials, protect human health and minimize harm to the environment. Three general areas of activity included within the initiative include: rational design of inherently safer and greener materials based upon unique properties found at the nanoscale, systematic assessment of the biological impacts of engineered nanomaterials and development of technology for high volume manufacturing of high-performance nanomaterials. link

Current research on asbestos also suggests that assumptions about the health hazards of nanoparticles based on their size may be a bit counterintuitive. Such research indicates "that it is actually the longer fibers that cause harm, as the smaller fibers are easily cleared or dealt with by the body," according to Mowat (Fionna Mowat, Ph.D., managing scientist for the Health Sciences Practice of Menlo Park, Calif.-based Exponent) link

"The results of the citizens' jury suggest that nanotechnology is not perceived as a serious threat to the values of anyone but die-hard anti-technologists." —Nature Magazine. Read more at Nanojury UK - the final verdict

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Nano-Hype: The Truth Behind the Nanotechnology Buzz
David Berube, December 2005.

Nanotalk: Conversations with Scientists and Engineers about Ethics, Meaning, and Belief in the Development of Nanotechnology
Rosalyn W. Berne, August 2005.

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Current Month's News on Ethics

Click here to see last month's news on ethics

The Ethics of Imagination: The Space Between Your Ears April 09, 2007 What is ethics? Currently the idea of neuronanotechnology is very different for most people. And therefore coming to an ethical consensus on what ethics in relation to neuronanotechnology might be is not a foreseeable thing. Yet, I don't think we need to look for consensus in order to look for a more ethical process of analyzing new technologies in general, and neurotechnologies in particular. Most of what people know today about nanotechnology is based on the confabulations of a popular imagination; things in the popular press; extravagant movies; things of this nature; doomsday scenarios; AI intelligence overtaking humanity; and then decimating any sort of consciousness that resembles a human entity.

An enterprising move April 02, 2007 Second, in this age of genetic engineering and nanotechnology, engineers need to be exposed to coursework in ethics and morality just as much as AB students, if not more so. A triumphant presentation of modern technology as an unalloyed good ignores how often technology has been used for base purposes, as the recent rush toward the proliferation of nuclear weapons has shown. Many prospective engineers would benefit from a course on the historical and ethical implications of technology.

Visiting professor urges scientists to consider risks of new technologies March 30, 2007 Jamison sees potential in nanotechnology but feels public education is in order. This may be true. In a public perception study conducted by North Carolina State University recently, 52 percent of respondents stated they had heard nothing about nanotechnology. One of the reasons for this is the nebulous nature of nanotech. Nanotechnology can be used in the medical, alternative energy, military and even consumer fields. It can also be organic or inorganic, engineered or grown, according to Andy Karvonen, an assistant instructor in UT's Science, Technology and Society Program. In order to qualify as nanotechnology, an emerging technology must be smaller than 100 nanometers. One nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. A plurality of respondents from the NCSU poll stated they were concerned about privacy violations and possible health risks, such as nanotoxicity (the particles are small enough to slip right through human skin), as well as the technology being used inappropriately for military applications.

US Congress Says Nano is "Coming Sooner Than You Think," Predicts Singularity March 30, 2007 Enhanced abilities to understand and manipulate matter at the molecular and atomic levels promise a wave of significant new technologies over the next five decades. Dramatic breakthroughs will occur in diverse areas such as medicine, communications, computing, energy, and robotics. These changes will generate large amounts of wealth and force wrenching changes in existing markets and institutions. This paper discusses the range of sciences currently covered by nanotechnology. It begins with a description of what nanotechnology is and how it relates to previous scientific advances. It then describes the most likely future development of different technologies in a variety of fields. The paper also reviews the government's current nanotechnology policy and makes some suggestions for improvement.

Widespread hypocrisy about nanotechnology? March 27, 2007 Is nanotechnology a ground breaking powerful new technology? Or is it neither new nor really a singular technology? We are told that it heralds "the next industrial revolution". Will its effects be revolutionary? Or familiar and incremental? Is nanotechnology's development inevitable? Or precarious? Are its implications nothing to be afraid of? Or are they so profound as to give cause for alarm? Does nanotechnology raise important new ethical issues or not? Australian ethicist Dr Robert Sparrow from the Centre for Human Bioethics at Monash University claims that widespread hypocrisy about nanotechnology is a worrying sign and he provides a detailed new critique of the contradictions inherent in the emerging debate about nanotechnology in an essay that is posted on the Friends of the Earth website.

Week’s lectures discuss past, present, future March 26, 2007 Title: "Nanotechnology and Environmental Ethics and Environmental Justice" The Basics: Ronald Sandler, assistant professor of philosophy at Northwestern University, will discuss the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative. He will touch upon issues involving environmental, health, and safety concerns as well as the promotion of nanotechnologies, environmental ethics, and the importance of education and outreach efforts. When: Friday at 4:30 p.m. Where: Adamson Wing, Baker Hall 136A

Thinking big about small stuff March 23, 2007 The ethical concerns surrounding nanotechnology are to be the focus of a new academic journal, Nanoethics, launched in May this year by Germany-based publishers Springer. It will be the first journal dedicated to the subject - but are there any new discussions to be had? Contributors to NanoEthics' debut issue broadly agree that bioethics and computer ethics have already covered much of the relevant ground: privacy, safety, machine intelligence, and the public reaction to science.

Will Nanotechnology Produce a SciTech Revolution? March 21, 2007 What will it really be like when exponential general-purpose molecular manufacturing is achieved? Will it result in an "explosion" of powerful new products? Will it bring a new Industrial Revolution "overnight" to previously undeveloped areas? Will it "change everything"? Or might it perhaps be a more "ho-hum" evolutionary development, significant but not especially transformative? We think the former is more likely than the latter, and that people everywhere would be wise to evaluate the potential for—and the implications of—dramatic change in the fairly near future. That's why we urge government bodies, industry groups, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to adopt CRN's Thirty Essential Nanotechnology Studies as a syllabus to begin exploring numerous issues that could seriously affect them.

EPSRC’s new panel puts public opinion on the agenda
EPSRC March 21, 2007 Dr Jekyll or Mr Hyde? In the public's mind, scientific research sometimes has a split personality. While people often have huge, sometimes unrealistic, expectations of the benefits science can bring, many also maintain a fundamental unease about what scientists are ‘getting up to'. To promote a healthier relationship between science and society in general, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has set up a new advisory body called SIP (the Societal Issues Panel).

Europe about to triple nanotechnology funding March 21, 2007 The EU's largest ever funding programme for research and technological development, the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), was launched on January 1, 2007. Under the old Sixth Framework Programme (FP6), between 2002 to 2006 more than €1.3 billion (approx $1.7 billion) was spent on more than 550 projects related to nanotechnology R&D. Under FP7, running from 2007 to 2013, funding for nanotechnology related projects is expected to reach €3.5 billion, out of a total budget of €50.5 billion. €300-400 million is expected to be spent already in 2007.

Prospects for a Transhuman mind? March 11, 2007 All in the Mind‘s enchanting Natasha Mitchell asks"Transhumanists are hell-bent on extending their lives beyond the current limits of the flesh, by exploiting cutting-edge genomics, stem-cell research, robotics and nanotechnology.

Your Brain, My Brain, and the Posthuman Rub March 04, 2007 Interesting times lie ahead for all of us as new technologies (from revolutionary pharmaceuticals to future neuro-modifying nanobots) allow people to alter their internal operating systems at finer and finer levels. We're already facing the first vestiges of the kinds of deep existential questions that go along with this increased level of control, as a result of the proliferation of everything from antidepressants to drugs with the potential to alter learning processes in Down's syndrome.

Exploring Nano-Ethics March 01, 2007 Modern science is showing us, in example after example, that moderation is more functional than extremes. Moderation does not imply stasis—complexity and dynamism are necessary to keep systems from stagnating. So I would ask: How can medical technologies, including nanotechnologies, help us to reach our best potential as humans in human society? Of course this question has no simple answer. Three things seem clear: First, that identifiable medical problems should be solved where possible. Here, Dr. Bruce and I would agree. Second, that where things are "good enough," change should be undertaken slowly and cautiously. Incautious or excessive amplification of human traits may lead to situations not dissimilar from drunkenness, mania, or even autism. Third—and here I part company with a number of proclamatory ethicists—that there is room for improvement in today's human societies, and that whether you call it treatment or enhancement, medical technologies have the potential to make things better if used wisely by non-sick people.

Obsolescent Heresies March 01, 2007 With regards to biotechnology, resilience, flexibility and innovation are definitely possible, but probably not quite yet. Brand argues that genetic engineering has the potential to be a major tool for dealing with global warming's effects, and he's not the only one making claims of the sort. There's no consensus Bright Green position on environmental biotech, but there are plenty of voices calling for the responsible use of biotech (and nanotech) as a way of combatting climate and ecosystem disruption; even those folks arguing for holding off on bioengineering solutions do so out of concern that we still have more to learn before we can undertake such solutions responsibly.

Current Month's News on Preparing for Nanotech

Click here to see last month's news on preparing for nanotech

Nanotechnology Commercialization Efforts Continue April 10, 2007 The nascent nanotechnology industry is facing many of the same challenges experienced by any young technology: lots of hope, lots of hype and lots of scrutiny. Even the appropriate definition for nanotechnology remains a matter of some debate. A March report on nanotechnology, published by Rep. Jim Saxton (R-NJ), ranking member of the Joint Economic Committee, U.S. Congress, speaks to the rapid advances in the field. "Advances in just the last five years have proceeded much faster than even the best experts had predicted. Looking forward, science is likely to continue outrunning expectations," the report states.

Building up nanotech research April 09, 2007 'Build it and they will come' seems to sum up the collective philosophy of many in the nanotechnology field. While many of the practical nanotech applications are yet to be realized, the physical and intellectual infrastructure to advance nanotech research is growing by leaps and bounds, fueled by billions of dollars in investments, according to an article scheduled for the April 9 issue of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS' weekly newsmagazine.

Nanogenerator Provides Continuous Electrical Power
Georgia Tech April 05, 2007 Device harvests energy from the environment to provide direct current

US Congress Says Nano is "Coming Sooner Than You Think," Predicts Singularity March 30, 2007 Enhanced abilities to understand and manipulate matter at the molecular and atomic levels promise a wave of significant new technologies over the next five decades. Dramatic breakthroughs will occur in diverse areas such as medicine, communications, computing, energy, and robotics. These changes will generate large amounts of wealth and force wrenching changes in existing markets and institutions. This paper discusses the range of sciences currently covered by nanotechnology. It begins with a description of what nanotechnology is and how it relates to previous scientific advances. It then describes the most likely future development of different technologies in a variety of fields. The paper also reviews the government's current nanotechnology policy and makes some suggestions for improvement.

For planning growth, the future is now March 25, 2007 It was no accident that the Capital Region and Tech Valley -- the term promoters use to describe eastern New York state from the lower Hudson Valley to the Canadian border -- went after nanotechnology. "Nanotechnology, nanoelectronics ... was the one we felt we could get the most traction from while putting in the least amount of resources," Hill said. That's because the Hudson Valley already is home to IBM Corp., while Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy and the University at Albany also had growing programs in nanotechnology. UAlbany's Nano College, headed by Alain Kaloyeros, is now a world leader in the field, Hill said.

Will Nanotechnology Produce a SciTech Revolution? March 21, 2007 What will it really be like when exponential general-purpose molecular manufacturing is achieved? Will it result in an "explosion" of powerful new products? Will it bring a new Industrial Revolution "overnight" to previously undeveloped areas? Will it "change everything"? Or might it perhaps be a more "ho-hum" evolutionary development, significant but not especially transformative? We think the former is more likely than the latter, and that people everywhere would be wise to evaluate the potential for—and the implications of—dramatic change in the fairly near future. That's why we urge government bodies, industry groups, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to adopt CRN's Thirty Essential Nanotechnology Studies as a syllabus to begin exploring numerous issues that could seriously affect them.

President's address and interaction with the students of North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong
Press Information Bureau-India March 16, 2007 University a Partner in National Development "Past meets the present and creates the future"

Wilson Center & The Pew Charitable Trusts Expand Efforts to Address Potential Benefits, Risks of Nanotechnology
The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies March 15, 2007 With nanotechnology being described by business and government leaders as "The Next Industrial Revolution," the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and The Pew Charitable Trusts today announced they will expand their efforts to help industry, governments and the public reap nanotechnology's benefits by better anticipating and managing possible environmental and health implications.

Spray drying processes nanoparticles March 12, 2007 Niro AS is playing an important role in what may well prove to be the start of the new industrial revolution: the production of materials and products using nanoparticles. The four year, EUR 15.7 million project, is partially funded by the European Commission (EUR 8.1million) and involves 21 industrial partners including SMEs, universities and research institutions from 11 European countries and Canada. The project is called SAPHIR and was initiated at CEA Saclay (French Atomic Commission) in October, 2006.

Nanotechnology Led Changes To Manufacturing, Defence, Farming, Human Development and the Possibility of Large Scale Social Disruption As Predicted By March 08, 2007 The emerging field of nanotechnology has the potential to bring about changes as big as the European Industrial revolution in the late 18th and early 19th century. A hundred and fifty years ago, the mechanization of industry, the introduction of steam power and improved transportation systems brought huge technological, socioeconomic and cultural changes. Today, nanotechnology is forecast to underpin "the next industrial revolution", leading to far-reaching changes in social, economic and ecological relations. Indeed, the Australian National Nanotechnology Strategy Taskforce states that nanotechnology "has the potential to fundamentally alter the way people live". And like the industrial revolution, which took almost 50 years to come to fruition, the impact of nanotechnology is likely to be gradual and almost evolutionary until we find ourselves in the midst of what analysts are predicting will be a "technological tsunami".

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