Here’s a piece written for Green Futures magazine on the questions we need to ask about the social and environmental impacts of nanotechnology.
“Think small, think very small. The science of the moment is nanotechnology; the manipulation of matter at a molecular scale. Derived from the greek for midget, the prefix ‘nano’ means 109 or a billionth part. So, your average human hair is a whopping 200,000 nanometers across, with an atom clocking in at just one-third of a nanometer.
What’s new is that scientists now know how to pick atoms up one by one and put them where they want. This has startling implications for all of us since, if you believe the hype, nanotechnology is the answer to our sustainability prayers. Just for starters, it will pull the economy out of the tech downturn, and go on to end pollution, illness and poverty…”