Will parents put an iPod Nano or
Head Nano Titanium tennis racket under the Christmas tree for their
children this year? Will holiday revelers hang a Nano-Infinity stocking on
their fireplace mantle for Santa Claus to fill? Just what does compel
shoppers to either buy nanotechnology products, or avoid them because of
real or imagined risks?
With over 350 manufacturer-identified nanotechnology consumer products
available for purchase this gift-giving season (see:
http://www.nanotechproject.org/consumerproducts), and with $2.6 trillion in
manufactured goods incorporating nanotechnology expected by 2014, there is
a lot at stake in how these questions are answered.
The results of the first large-scale empirical study of how consumers
consider risks and benefits when deciding whether to purchase or use
specific nanotechnology products will appear in the December 2006 issue of
the journal Nature Nanotechnology. The article's lead author, Steven C.
Currall, University College London and London Business School, and a
co-author, Neal Lane, Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy
and former U.S. Presidential Science Advisor, will report their findings at
a program and live webcast on Tuesday, December 5th at 2:00 p.m. in the 5th
Floor Conference Room of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for
Scholars (http://www.wilsoncenter.org/directions). The Nature
Nanotechnology article is embargoed until December 5th at 2 p.m. U.S.
At this program sponsored by the Wilson Center's Project on Emerging
Nanotechnologies, the authors will address whether greater popular
awareness and understanding of nanotechnology will whet the public's
appetite for the technology and lead to increased support for research, or
raise concerns about the potential ill effects of new applications. They
will discuss how public perceptions of nanotechnology are being shaped.
They also will compare the experience of the emergence of nanotechnology to
the experience of other "new" technologies, including nuclear power,
genetically modified organisms (GMOs), embryonic stem cell research, and
The study was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through
Rice's Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology and NSF's
Center for Nanotechnology in Society. Surveys were administered by Zogby
Dr. Lane is senior fellow in Science and Technology at Rice
University's Baker Institute and the Malcolm Gillis University Professor at
Rice. While director of NSF (1993-1998) and assistant to the President for
Science & Technology and director of the White House Office of Science and
Technology Policy (1998-2001), Lane played a major role in establishing
America's National Nanotechnology Initiative -- a federal investment to
date of more than $6.5 billion in nanotechnology research and development.
He is a leading proponent of greater citizen-scientist dialogue and public
science education. Dr. Currall, formerly a professor at Rice, is professor
of Enterprise and the Management of Innovation and director of the
Management Studies Centre at University College London. He also is visiting
professor of entrepreneurship and faculty co-director of the Institute of
Technology at London Business School. He is an international authority on
the application of behavioral science to workplace and marketplace
*** Webcast LIVE at http://www.wilsoncenter.org/nano ***
What: Dreaming of a Nanotech Christmas: What Persuades the Public to
Embrace and Buy Nanotechnology?
Who: Steven C. Currall, Professor in the Faculty of Engineering
Sciences at University College London, and Visiting Professor at
London Business School
Neal Lane, former U.S. Presidential Science Advisor, and Senior
Fellow in Science and Technology Policy at Rice University's
Baker Institute for Public Policy
Julia A. Moore, Deputy Director, Project on Emerging
When: Tuesday, December 5th, 2006, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Where: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 5th Floor
Conference Room. Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade
Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC
The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies was launched in 2005 by the
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and The Pew Charitable
Trusts. It is dedicated to helping business, governments, and the public
anticipate and manage the possible health and environmental implications of