Sunday, May 07, 2006

Center for Nanotechnology in Society officially opens at UCSB

The Center for Nanotechnology in Society at UCSB had its official launch Thursday night in Santa Barbara. The center is the second of its kind, after ASU’s Center for Nanotechnology in Society opened earlier this year. Both centers are being funded under the Nanoscale Science and Engineering program at NSF, which is one of 22 federal agencies in the government-wide National Nanotechnology Initiative, and will explore a broad array of issues related to the ethical, legal, economic, and social implications of nanotechnology.

Here’s more information on CNS-UCSB from the UCSB Daily Nexus:

UCSB Opens New Nanotechnology Center

By Brian Van Wyk — Staff Writer

Published Friday May 5, 2006

Several scholars gathered in the Engineering Science Building last night for the public launch of the UCSB Center for Nanotechnology in Society - a national education and research base.

The CNS is funded by the National Science Foundation’s National Nanotechnology Initiative, a federal program that centers on the development of nanotechnology: Microscopic tools created to the scale of one-billionth of a meter, used to create and improve a wide range of materials.

The various speakers at the commencement included professionals in the sciences, arts and humanities - each of which presented a differing and sometimes skeptical view of the emerging field’s future. Dr. Barbara Herr Harthorn, CNS principal investigator and co-director, said the study of nanotechnology is a unique science because unusual properties can be found at such a small scale.

(For the full article, click here.)

Update: NSF also has an outline of both centers on their web site:

"The Santa Barbara center will receive about $5 million over five years to focus on the historical context of nanotechnology; on the innovation process and global diffusion of ideas in the field; and on risk perception and social response to nanotechnology, with a special focus on collective action and the action of global networks in response to nanotechnology. The center will also explore methods for public participation in setting the agenda for nanotechnology's future.

The Arizona State center will receive $6.2 million over five years to develop a broad program of "real-time technology assessment" (RTTA) for nanotechnology research. The center will use RTTA to map the research dynamics of nanotechnology; to monitor the changing values of the public and of researchers; to engage both these groups in deliberative and participatory forums regarding nanotechnology; and to assess the influence of these activities on the researchers. The center will organize its efforts around two broad nanotechnology-in-society themes: freedom, privacy, and security; and human identity, enhancement, and biology."

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