Science and Technology Innovation Program
View Controlling the properties and behavior of matter at the smallest scale—in effect, “domesticating atoms”—can help to overcome some of the world’s biggest challenges, concludes a new report on how diverse experts view the future of nanotechnology. This publication highlights the findings of a Washington, DC meeting organized by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies
Lawmakers from both parties have said the country needs a national conversation about the national debt. At an event on Capitol Hill on July 13, they embraced the popular game Budget Hero as a way to jump start that discussion.
Nanotechnology promises to affect virtually all aspects of our daily lives, from consumer products and food to medicine and energy, and yet the majority of Americans still know little to nothing about it. As part of its mission to improve public awareness, the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies uses new media to convey complex technological applications and implications to a public still puzzled about basic science.
When a natural disaster occurs, government agencies, humanitarian organizations, private companies, volunteers, and others collect information about missing persons to aid the search effort. Often this processing of information about missing persons exacerbates the complexities and uncertainties of privacy rules. This report offers a roadmap to the legal and policy issues surrounding privacy and missing persons following natural disasters.
Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of HealthThe Human Genome Project (HGP) began in 1990 as an effort by researchers from around the world to map and sequence the human genome—the totality of human DNA—as well as the genomes of important experimental organisms, like yeast, the nematode worm, and mouse. In 2000, the collaborators in the HGP announced the completion of a draft revealing the sequence of 90 percent of human DNA. In a Director's Forum, Dr. Francis Collins discussed the initial analysis of the human genome sequence, its medical benefits as well as its social, legal, and ethical implications.
View Recent action in Congress to reauthorize the U.S. federal nanotechnology research program offers the chance to address the social and ethical issues concerning the emerging scientific field, experts say. “It is crucial to address social and ethical issues now as we consider both the substantial potential risks of nanotechnology and its possible significant contributions to our well-being and environmental sustainability,” says Ronald Sandler, Northeastern University philosophy professor and author of a new report funded by the Project and the National Science Foundation. The report emphasizes ways in which such topics intersect with governmental functions and responsibilities, including science and technology policy, as well as research funding, regulation and work on public engagement.
Will information technology provide new solutions to our environmental dilemmas? A new collection of research studies, edited by the Wilson Center's Foresight and Governance Project Director David Rejeski, examines the environmental impact of the Internet economy.
Jane Harman writes about the potential of serious games – like the Wilson Center’s own Budget Hero – to engage citizens in public policy and even fix our broken Congress in Bloomberg's "My Bright Idea" column.