Wednesday, January 16, 2008

2008 Science and Engineering Indicators released

The 2008 version of the National Science Board's Science and Engineering Indicators are out and available for download. Chapter 7, in particular, provides an excellent overview of public attitudes and social implications of emerging technologies, including nanotech.

One of the report's strengths are sidebars detailing the various bodies of literature in science communication and public opinion research that help contextualize the findings. The report also provides overview data on public attitudes toward nano, including some preliminary comparisons of nano attitudes in Europe, Canada, and the U.S:
Americans, Europeans, and Canadians share similarly favorable
attitudes about biotechnology and nanotechnology.

 In 2005, 71% of Americans and 67% of Canadians expressed
support for products and processes involving
biotechnology. Almost two-thirds of Europeans said they
expected biotechnology to positively affect their way of
life in the next 20 years.

 When told about nanotechnology, about half of Americans
surveyed in 2005 foresaw substantial or some benefit from
it, and 14% expected substantial or some risk. Canadian response
to the same question was similar. Among Europeans,
48% expected positive effects from nanotechnology, whereas
only 8% expected negative effects.


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