Posted: March 7, 2010

Collaboration between ethicists and nanotechnology scientists reveals unique synergies and insights

(Nanowerk News) The Nanoethics Group has announced the release of a new book to engage the rising tide of interest and concern over nanotechnology. Published by Wiley-Blackwell, What Is Nanotechnology and Why Does It Matter?: From Science to Ethics is one of the first monographs to be written by experts from both the technical and non-technical sides of the field, thereby offering a complete as well as cohesive look at the issues.
The co-authors are: Dr. Fritz Allhoff, assistant philosophy professor at Western Michigan University; Dr. Patrick Lin, assistant philosophy professor at California Polytechnic State University and ethics fellow at the US Naval Academy; and Dr. Daniel Moore, an IBM nanoscientist trained at Georgia Institute of Technology. Drs. Allhoff and Lin are co-founders of The Nanoethics Group and co-editors of two anthologies in nanoethics, and Dr. Moore is an advisory board member of the same organization.
“We’re excited about this book, because it fills a gap in the field of nanotechnology and society,” explained Dr. Lin. “While anthologies offer a wide range of expert perspectives, they can feel disjointed. Our new monograph provides a consistent tone and running narrative to better explain both the science and ethical impacts of nanotechnology, making this difficult but important subject easier to understand.”
The book is divided into three units. Unit 1—What is Nanotechnology—covers the basics of nanotechnology, tools of the trade, different types of nanomaterials, and current and future applications of nanotechnology. Unit 2—Risk, Regulation, and Fairness—discusses risk, precaution, regulation, equity, and access. Unit 3—Ethical and Social Implications—focuses on some of the most urgent issues: environment, military, privacy, medicine, and enhancement.
Dr. Eric Drexler, considered by many to be the “father of nanotechnology” with his seminal book Engines of Creation (1986), called the new book “a broad and balanced examination of the nature of nanotechnology, how it is unfolding, and how these developments will affect issues of global concern.”
Professor James Moor of Dartmouth College and a renowned technology ethicist, said, “What Is Nanotechnology and Why Does It Matter provides a concise but clear introduction to the subject of nanotechnology as well as an excellent overview of nanotechnology's ethical and social implications. I highly recommend it.”
About The Nanoethics Group
Based at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo), The Nanoethics Group is a non-partisan research organization formed to study nanotechnology’s impact on society and related ethical issues. As professional ethicists, we help to identify and evaluate possible harms and conflicts as well as to bring balance and common sense to the debate. Our mission is to educate and advise both organizations and the broader public on these issues as a foundation to guide policy and responsible research.
Source: Nanoethics Group