Science and Technology Innovation Program
The Fordham Center on Law and Information Policy at Fordham Law School and the Commons Lab of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars are working together on a project focused on privacy and information systems that are being developed to help locate missing persons during natural disasters.
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.
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.
Imagine combining the principles and techniques of engineering, biology, and nanotechnology to create new products—revolutionary medical treatments, biofuels, and other innovations. The Wilson Center is studying the promises and perils of this emerging field of synthetic biology.
Will information technology provide new solutions to our environmental dilemmas? A new collection of research studies, edited by the Wilson Center's Foresight and Governance Project Director David Rejeski, examines the environmental impact of the Internet economy.
The next industrial revolution will fundamentally change the way we make things, and where. Government needs to create policy frameworks that support the transition to a new manufacturing paradigm and we also need to have a public conversation about what this world should look like and what policies are needed to make sure that both society and the planet will benefit.
David Rejeski Addresses the House Committee on Science on the Environmental and Safety Impacts of Nanotechnology
On Thursday, November 17, 2005, Director of the Wilson Center's Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, David Rejeski, briefed the Science Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives on current concerns about the environmental and safety impacts of nanotechnology and the status and adequacy of related research programs and plans.
There has been little change in public awareness of either synthetic biology or nanotechnology since previous surveys, according to this 2013 poll of more than 800 U.S. adults. In the poll, 23 percent of adults say they have heard a lot or some about synthetic biology, compared with 31 percent who say the same about nanotechnology. The most common associations that respondents make with synthetic biology are that it is unnatural, man-made, and artificial or that it has to do with reproducing life.
Most educators promote "hands-on" science learning. But how do children experience activities-based learning about nanotechnology—a world of atoms and molecules that's too small to see with the naked eye and that requires sophisticated electron or scanning probe microscopes?