No Small Matter – A connoisseur’s guide to delicate work

January 18, 2010

How do you write a book about something few people have heard off, and less seem interested in?  The answer, it seems, is to write about something else. Felice Frankel and George Whitesides have clearly taken this lesson to heart. Judged by the cover alone, their new book “No Small Matter:  ...

Daily Mail Science Reporting – Deconstructed

January 8, 2010

Hype, scare mongering, obfuscation and just plain misinformation – the scientific community are reasonably clear about what they think of Tabloid science reporting much of the time.  So I wasn’t too surprised to see the headline “‘Grey goo’ food laced with nanoparticles could swamp Britain” in today’s Daily Mail, following ...

UK House of Lords scrutinizes nanotechnology and food

January 7, 2010

Back in February of 2009, the UK House of Lords Science and Technology Committee launched an inquiry into the use of nanotechnology in food products and the food industry.  Chaired by Lord Krebs (the son of Hans Adolf Krebs – best known for describing the mechanisms of energy uptake and ...

Scientists and social media – This is not a case study

January 4, 2010

By Ruth Seeley, No Spin PR. A little over a year ago, Ruth Seeley – a freelance communications consultant – rather bravely approached me with a proposition:  She would help me develop a social media strategy for 2020 Science, if I would let her write the experience up as a ...

Ten emerging technology trends to watch over the next decade

December 25, 2009

Ten years ago at the close of the 20th century, people the world over were obsessing about the millennium bug – an unanticipated glitch arising from an earlier technology.  I wonder how clear it was then that, despite this storm in what turned out to be a rather small teacup, ...

Scientist just wants to have fun – a compendium of mindless games for the holiday season!

December 22, 2009

Brain-candy for the intellectually incapacitated. To help the brain cells recuperate from over-exertion (and quite possibly over-indulgence) this Holiday season, here’s a short compendium of mindless games – the sort of things scientists and others indulge in when they think no-one’s looking! The selection rules here were simple: Anything that didn’t hold ...

21st Century Tech Governance? What would Ned Ludd do?

December 18, 2009

By Jim Thomas, ETC Group A guest blog in the Alternative Perspectives on Technology Innovation series For a fresh perspective on how to do technology governance consider starting somewhere else. I suggest York Castle in Northern England – a stark stone tower from the thirteenth century. It was here in 1812 that the ...

Innovation in the dock

December 18, 2009

By Tim Jackson, University of Surrey, UK A guest blog in the Alternative Perspectives on Technology Innovation series Are we a clever species or a stupid one?  It’s not a trivial question. Put our society in the dock with a jury of our future peers and the verdict would be far from ...

Reversing the Technological Dilemma

December 17, 2009

By George Kimbrell, International Center for Technology Assessment, and the Center for Food Safety A guest blog in the Alternative Perspectives on Technology Innovation series Andrew asked us to write about “how technological innovation should contribute to life in the 21st century.”  Technological innovation is often blindly referred to as “progress.”  The ...

Ecology and Nanotechnology

December 17, 2009

By Richard Worthington, Loka Institute A guest blog in the Alternative Perspectives on Technology Innovation series My first scholarly engagement with environmental politics was an honor’s thesis written while I was an undergraduate at Berkeley in the early 1970s.  Back then, the term “environmentalist” was frequently deployed to profile someone held to ...

A new era of responsible innovation

December 16, 2009

By Richard Owen, University of Westminster, UK A guest blog in the Alternative Perspectives on Technology Innovation series This article was first published in Planet Earth, an award-winning magazine funded and published by the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).  It is reproduced here with permission from Planet Earth and Richard Owen. ...

Stop and Think: A Luddite Perspective

December 16, 2009

By Jennifer Sass Ph.D. Senior Scientist, Natural Resources Defense Council A guest blog in the Alternative Perspectives on Technology Innovation series We need make sure that harmful or untested nano-scale chemicals are not manufactured or commercialized in ways that may lead to human exposures or environmental releases. I know, I know, I ...

Innovation for a well-fed world – what role for technology?

December 15, 2009

By Geoff Tansey A guest blog in the Alternative Perspectives on Technology Innovation series Andrew posed the question, “How should technology innovation contribute to life in the 21st century?” For me, working on creating a well-fed world, the short answer is: in a way that supports a diverse, fair and sustainable food system ...

Beyond safety: some bigger questions about new technologies

December 15, 2009

By Georgia Miller, Friends of the Earth Australia A guest blog in the Alternative Perspectives on Technology Innovation series The promise that a given new technology will deliver environmentally benign electricity too cheap to meter, end hunger and poverty, or cure disease is very seductive. That is why the claims are made ...

Innovation for whom? Innovation for what? The Impact of Ableism

December 14, 2009

By Gregor Wolbring A guest blog in the Alternative Perspectives on Technology Innovation series First let me thank Andrew for inviting me to write a piece for his blog. Andrew states that his blog is about “how technology innovation should contribute to living in the 21st century” and about “providing a clear ...

Biopolitics for the 21st Century

December 14, 2009

By Marcy Darnovsky, PhD, Associate Executive Director of the Center for Genetics and Society A guest blog in the Alternative Perspectives on Technology Innovation series Much appreciation is due to Andrew for his courage in soliciting “alternative perspectives” on technology innovation and life in the 21st century.  I can’t help but observe ...

Hooked on tech – ten alternative perspectives on technology innovation

December 10, 2009

2020 Science is something of a labor of love – it’s a website where I explore my thoughts and ideas surrounding the interface between science, technology and society beyond the constraints of my “day job” (currently Chief Science Advisor to the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies at the Woodrow Wilson Center).  ...

Science and Technology Innovation – looking to the future

December 9, 2009

The final part of a series on rethinking science and technology for the 21st century Nine months ago, I embarked on an ambitious project to flesh out the ideas presented in a seminar given at the James Martin 21st Century School at the University of Oxford.  The seminar was titled ““Rethinking ...

Completing the circle: Coupling science & technology outputs to inputs

December 7, 2009

Part 9 of a series on rethinking science and technology for the 21st century Writing about completing the circle of science and technology policy at the start of the Copenhagen climate summit seems particularly fitting.  Although the climate change context was far from my mind when I started this series, it ...

Nanotechnology in 24 seconds/7 words, courtesy of Wade Adams and the Ig Nobels

November 30, 2009

How do you describe nanotechnology in 24 seconds, or even in 7 words?  Tough challenge, but Professor Wade Adams, Director of the Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science & Technology at Rice University rose to it with aplomb at this year’s Ig Nobel awards. Here’s the transcript of the achievement, ...