Public Participation in Nanotechnology Workshop Report

Subject Area:
NNI Workshop Reports
Author: NNI/ NSET
Publication Date: Apr. 19 2012

Description:

This document is the report of the NNI Workshop on Public Participation in Nanotechnology held in May
2006. The workshop was sponsored by the NSET Subcommittee and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
as part of long-range planning efforts for the NNI, guided by thoughtful concern for the opinions and benefit
of the American people. The recommendations of the public participation workshop provided guidance to
the NSET Subcommittee and its Nanotechnology Public Engagement and Communications (NPEC) Working
Group in the development of NNI strategic plans, and they continue to serve as a reference point for ongoing
public participation activities related to the NNI. Some information in the body of the report was updated
through 2008; the preface includes some additional updates through early 2012; however, the main content
dates from 2006.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this report are those of the authors
and workshop participants and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Government or the
authors’ parent institutions. This report is not a consensus document but rather is intended to reflect the
diverse views, expertise, and deliberations of the workshop participants.

The report was designed, assembled, and edited by NNCO staff.


Nanotechnology Fact

Nanoscale materials have been used for over a thousand years. For example, nanoscale gold was used in stained glass in Medieval Europe and nanotubes were found in blades of swords made in Damascus. However, ten centuries passed before high-powered microscopes were invented, allowing us to see things at the nanoscale and begin working with these materials.

Nanotechnology as we now know it began more than 30 years ago, when tools to image and measure at the nanoscale became available. Around the turn of the century, government research managers in the United States and other countries observed that physicists, biologists, chemists, electrical engineers, optical engineers, and materials scientists were working on interconnected, multidisciplinary issues emerging at the nanoscale. In 2000, the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) was created to help these researchers benefit from each other’s insights, accelerate technology development, and foster commercialization across disciplines.

To learn more, see What is Nanotechnology?

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