Are we on a nanotechnology joyride?

November 25, 2007

Are we so caught up in the thrill of nanotechnology, that we are blind to future pitfalls?  Are we having the new technology ride of our lives—with someone else’s future?  Are we living for the nanotech moment, and leaving the consequences to others to deal with?  In short, are we on a nanotechnology joyride? ...

Overseeing nanotechnology development

November 18, 2007

If you’ve ever wondered how to deal with the complexities of regulating a twenty first century technology like nanotechnology, wonder no more.  Last week, President Bush’s top advisors on science and the environment published a set of “principles for nanotechnology environment, health and safety oversight”. Based on a multi-agency consensus-based process, ...

Nanotechnologies of humility

November 11, 2007

Some nanotechnology events should come with a health warning, perhaps along the lines of: “This meeting could seriously alter your perspective”.  Because nanotechnology crosses such diverse areas of interest and expertise, there is a danger of being exposed to ideas that are radically different from your own.  And where exposure ...

Invest in nano applications, and the risks will take care of themselves?

November 4, 2007

I have on my desk a plastic bag of carbon nanotubes—2 grams of dry, 60% purity single walled carbon nanotubes to be precise—bought from Cheap Tubes Inc. for the princely sum of $80.  And I am wondering what to do with them. Despite the cosy assurances of the Manufacturers Safety Data ...

Nanotechnology in context – Size matter

November 1, 2007

In July 2007, a specially convened task force of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concluded that size does in fact matter (FDA 2007).  The focus of the task force was not on the importance of “largeness”, but rather on the technology of the unimaginably small—nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is the ...

"Selling out" on nanotechnology outreach

October 27, 2007

Somewhere, I must have taken a wrong turn in my life.  Three years ago, I was a serious scientist, doing research no-one understood, and writing papers no-one read. Now I find myself making videos about cream cakes. It all started to go amiss when I got mixed up with a crowd ...

People breathing in nanoparticles? Surely you’re joking Mr. Feynman!

October 8, 2007

Admit it-deep down, your don’t really believe people will be exposed to engineered nanomaterials.  After all, most nanomaterials will be made in enclosed reactors, handled as precious commodities where not a particle can be spared, and irreversibly incorporated into a bewildering array of products.  And those that do start their ...