Monday, January 5, 2009

In My Opinion

In the late 1980’s, I became aware that science effects society at an ever-growing pace. As a 20-year observer of the nanospace and the daily news thereof, I know that nanotechnologies will be those that are responsible for the lion’s share of radical change; you cannot read about the significant number of advances in the nanosciences and come to any other conclusion. "Nano" is not a fad.

I also know this: the more rapid the growth in the number of new/advanced technologies the sooner we must start preparing for subsequent changes in society; changes real and imagined, and in most cases, difficult to predict. Given the exponential growth in our understanding of the nanoscale and the likelihood that many of our new insights will turn into commercial products and services, the time for discussion and preparation is now.

No informed person doubts that developments at the nanoscale will be significant. We debate the time-frame, the magnitude and the possibilities, but not the likelihood for large-scale change. The least-speculative views suggest that we're in for changes of an order that justifies--if not demands--our undivided attention. Will we be ready?

Zinc Oxide Microtrumpet

Prismatic zinc oxide microtubes have been fabricated by vapor transport. Room-temperature ultraviolet lasing action has been demonstrated in these microtube arrays. The ZnO microtubes, mainly appearing in a tapped bell-mouthed shape, form natural laser cavities along the length direction. The hexagon diagonal and length of the microtube vary from 1 um to 20 um and 10 um to a few hundred um respectively. Under 355nm optical excitation, lasing action is observed at room-temperature around 393nm. Multi-longitudinal modes are also observed with significantly narrowed emission linewidth.

Source: Sun Xiao Wei

Original post by Ryan Munden at

Nanotechnology: Ethics and Society

In her latest book Nanotechnology: Ethics and Society Dr. Deb Bennett-Woods talks about the ethics of dealing with rapidly changing technologies, in specific, those enabled by our greater understanding of the nanoscale. Depending on who is talking, nanotechnology means many different things. What everyone can agree on is that a) nanotechnology (whatever it is) will enable a huge number of new technologies and consumer products, and b) we need to prepare now.

Another in a growing chorus of knowledgeable persons and organizations, Dr. Bennett-Woods brings her expertise to bear in an exceedingly complex topic: ethics of scientific discovery and the subsequent technologies and products.

As part of her research, Dr. Bennett-Woods asked that I say a few words, which you see, above. Click image to see larger version.

From the book: Nanotechnology promises to be the next great human technological revolution, but such change often comes at the price of unforeseen consequences. Nanotechnology: Ethics and Society explores several of the practical and ethical dilemmas presented by this technological leap.

Nanotechnology: Ethics and Society
By Deb Bennett-Woods
Published by CRC Press, 2008
ISBN 1420053523, 9781420053524
312 pages

Learn more about Deb Bennett-Woods, Director and Associate Professor, Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions at Regis University

Foresight Institute Prize in Communication