Science and Technology Innovation Program
Products incorporating nanotechnology have become a global, multi-billion dollar industry yet much of the public knows little about nano's potential impact on the environment, human health, and privacy. A three-part tv series, "Nanotechnology: The Power of Small," airing in April, will explore these issues.
Geoff Dabelko, Director of the Environmental Change and Security Project at the Woodrow Wilson CenterIf environmental problems remain a major challenge in the 21st century, poverty and affluence will be critical factors in shaping that challenge. During the 20th century, rich nations developed a particular pattern of pollution and environmental degradation -- which has yet to be adequately addressed. Likewise, poor nations began despoiling the environment and squandering resources in ways that were distinctive to them. (First broadcast July 19-25, 1999)
Synthetic biology will allow scientists and engineers to create biological systems that do not occur naturally as well as to re-engineer existing biological systems to perform novel and beneficial tasks. This 2009 report presents a framework for addressing the social and ethical issues surrounding the field.
For IT to become sustainable, the federal government must enable change in three areas: (a) embracing agile development, modular contracting, and opensource software; (b) encouraging small business participation; and (c) shifting the federal IT culture through education and experimentation. The adoption of these reforms is vital. The current state of federal IT undermines good work because of its inefficiency and waste.
Can technology help us preserve our freedoms while reducing the threat of terrorist attacks? The Center's Foresight and Governance Project recently convened a group of experts to discuss ways to improve both civil liberties and national security in today's information age where the pressure is high for rapid data gathering and analysis.
Enough voluntary initiatives for nanotechnology have been implemented so they can be looked at together, in a comparative sense, and historically, in terms of their relationship to programs that have preceded them. This report provides that analysis for the first time. In Voluntary Initiatives, Regulation, and Nanotechnology Oversight: Charting a Path, Dr. Daniel Fiorino provides a taxonomy of the various types of voluntary initiatives (past and present) and the partnerships that underlie them, as well as an assessment of the factors that are most likely to contribute to program success. As nanotechnologies advance, along with other emerging technologies, voluntary programs will continue to play an important role in the governance portfolio. For this reason, evaluating and learning from these endeavors will remain critical to better oversight. This report is an important contribution to that learning process.
A new study shows Americans are excited about the prospects of nanotechnology, but concerned about its potential health and environmental effects.