Monday, February 13, 2006

Scientists taking initiative with green nano

It seems that scientists have learned from the communication debacles surrounding GMOs, biotech, and stem cell where Greenpeace and other policy groups very successfully framed public discourse and steered public perceptions with little or no input from scientists (for a good overview piece, see Matthew Nisbet, Dominique Brossard, and Adrianne Kroepsch's piece on "Framing Science"). In fact, scientists never publicly addressed many of the issues that ultimately became hot-button issues for the public, such as labeling for GM foods or the obvious moral implications surrounding stem cell. And most importantly, by the time scientists began to worry about these issues, the debate had already been framed by other players in the policy arena.

For nanotechnology, things seem to shape up at least somewhat differently. In fact, the Woodrow Wilson Center's "Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies" is taking the initiative by inviting scientists to debate the possibilities of environmentally safe nano research that minimizes risks to the public. Hopefully, this will be the beginning of a trend of scientists playing much more of a public role than they have in the past.

Here's the information on the event:

Green Nanotechnology:
What Does It Mean to be Green?

Live webcast and event
Thursday, February 16, 2006, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 5th Floor Conference Room.

(The Wilson Center is located in the Ronald Reagan Building at 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC)


Dr. Jim Hutchinson, Professor of Chemistry, University of Oregon, head of the green chemistry HutchLab research group and holder of a U.S. patent for a process his lab created that manufactures a gold atom nanoparticle without the environmentally harmful effects usually associated with its creation

Dr. Barbara Karn, Visiting Scientist, Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies

Dr. John Warner, Professor and Director, Green Chemistry Program School of Health and the Environment, University of Massachusetts at Lowell and co-author of The 12 Principles of Green Chemistry

(Media planning to cover the event should contact Sharon McCarter at (202) 691-4016 or at All others e-mail: