Science and Technology Innovation Program
View Controlling the properties and behavior of matter at the smallest scale—in effect, “domesticating atoms”—can help to overcome some of the world’s biggest challenges, concludes a new report on how diverse experts view the future of nanotechnology. This publication highlights the findings of a Washington, DC meeting organized by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies
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.
The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies was established in April 2005 as a partnership between the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Pew Charitable Trusts. The Project is dedicated to helping ensure that as nanotechnologies advance, possible risks are minimized, public and consumer engagement remains strong, and the potential benefits of these new technologies are realized. Nanotechnologies are hailed by many as the next industrial revolution. They promise to change everything from the cars we drive to the clothes we wear, from the medical treatments our doctors can offer to our energy sources and workplaces. For more information, please see: http://www.nanotechproject.org.
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.
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.
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.