Science and Technology Innovation Program
We would like to thank members of the Project on America and the Global Economy, the Latin American Project, the Division of International Studies, the Comparative Urban Studies Project, the Environmental Change and Security Project, the Canada Institute, Outreach and Communications, and Scholar Selection Services who dedicated time and energy to creating the Globalization Series. The film was edited and produced by Liz Freedman of the Foresight & Governance Project.
Nanotechnology promises to affect virtually all aspects of our daily lives, from consumer products and food to medicine and energy, and yet the majority of Americans still know little to nothing about it. As part of its mission to improve public awareness, the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies uses new media to convey complex technological applications and implications to a public still puzzled about basic science.
Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of HealthThe Human Genome Project (HGP) began in 1990 as an effort by researchers from around the world to map and sequence the human genome—the totality of human DNA—as well as the genomes of important experimental organisms, like yeast, the nematode worm, and mouse. In 2000, the collaborators in the HGP announced the completion of a draft revealing the sequence of 90 percent of human DNA. In a Director's Forum, Dr. Francis Collins discussed the initial analysis of the human genome sequence, its medical benefits as well as its social, legal, and ethical implications.
Social media is responsible for much positive change in the world. But these new tools can be used by bad actors to foment strife and undermine stability, as seen during violent incidents in the Assam state of northeast India in July 2012. Cybersecurity efforts must take into account the growing potential for cyber-attack using social media, where hoax messages are incorporated into a stream of otherwise legitimate messages, and understand how quickly mobile apps and text services can disseminate false information.
View Recent action in Congress to reauthorize the U.S. federal nanotechnology research program offers the chance to address the social and ethical issues concerning the emerging scientific field, experts say. “It is crucial to address social and ethical issues now as we consider both the substantial potential risks of nanotechnology and its possible significant contributions to our well-being and environmental sustainability,” says Ronald Sandler, Northeastern University philosophy professor and author of a new report funded by the Project and the National Science Foundation. The report emphasizes ways in which such topics intersect with governmental functions and responsibilities, including science and technology policy, as well as research funding, regulation and work on public engagement.
This report challenges seven widely held beliefs about DIYbio practitioners, particularly that anonymous scientists are cooking up deadly epidemics in their basements. In fact, the survey finds most lab work being done in the community is benign and that the vast majority of those surveyed perform their experiments in group workspaces with other enthusiasts. The report also includes six policy recommendations based on the survey results.
The application of nano-scale technologies is beginning to dramatically impact both how we produce and conserve energy. How far can these technologies take us on the road towards energy independence? In this seminar, a panel of industry experts explored a wide range of technologies, ranging from photovoltaics to lighting and clean coal technology.