Nanotechnology: What's that?

September 4, 2007

Nanoscience and nanotechnology are two of the hottest fields in research, investment, and manufacturing. Some hail nanotechnology as enabling "The Next Industrial Revolution."

But how many Americans know what nanotechnology is? Does the U.S. public feel that the potential benefits of nanotechnology will outweigh potential risks? Who do people trust to monitor the safety of new technologies? And will they use food storage containers and food products enhanced with nanotechnology?

These questions were part of a representative national telephone survey of adults conducted in August 2007. It repeats a similar poll carried out last year--which found that only 1 in 10 Americans had heard a lot about nanotechnology.

Results from the poll--as well as from two complementary focus group discussions conducted among adult men and women about nanotechnology and food--will be released by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies on Tuesday, September 25th at 12:30 p.m. at a program and live webcast at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Geoffrey Garin, president of Peter D. Hart Research Associates, which conducted the phone survey and focus groups, will present the findings.

Nanotechnology was incorporated into more than $50 billion in manufactured goods last year. By 2014, Lux Research estimates that $2.6 trillion in manufactured goods will incorporate nanotechnology, or about 15 percent of global output. Nanotechnology refers to the emerging science of manufacturing materials that are measured in nanometers, usually at the 1-100 nanometers scale. The head of a pin is 1 million nanometers wide. For a list of over 500 company-identified nanotechnology consumer products, see: www.nanotechproject.org/consumerproducts.

Source: Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies

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