Saturday, February 07, 2009

Editorials by Rodgers and Currall in Nature Nanotechology

The latest issue of Nature Nanotechnology contains a symposium on public perceptions of nanotech, including print versions of some studies first released late last year and highlighted here and here. The thematic focus is also bracketed by two excellent editorials--one by Nature Nanotechnology Chief Editor Peter Rodgers, and one by Steven Currall, Vice Dean of Enterprise at University College London, and professor at the London Business School.

From Rodgers' editorial:
"It is well documented that most members of the public have not heard of nanotechnology ... . This state of affairs could be construed as good news, because it means that nanotechnology continues to avoid the GMO-style backlash that many once considered inevitable. However, low levels of popular recognition in public opinion surveys could also be viewed as bad news because public funding is still very important for basic research in nanoscience and technology, even if companies now invest more in this field than governments3, and because the eventual success of the whole nanoenterprise will depend on people accepting and buying nano-enabled products. "

(Read complete editorial here.)
And from Steven Currall's overview piece:
"Importantly, social scientists also have a further obligation to translate their technical research findings into language that is directly useful to others. Based on a deepening understanding of predictors of public perceptions, scientists, policymakers and businesses will therefore be better positioned to anticipate trends that will dictate how the public reacts to new scientific developments and commercial products based on nanotechnology."

(Read the complete editorial here.)