Former White House science advisor warns that nanotechnology's potential threatened

d engineering education almost fifty years ago when Russia launched Sputnikthe worlds first artificial satellite. He stressed that Americas "children and workforce need that same level of national commitment to lead and keep them competitive in the Nano Age."

Finally, Lane called for "a deliberate effort to provide the public with balanced and easily understood information about nanotechnologys potential benefits and its possible risks and for more public engagement"led by government, industry and the science and engineering community working together.

"From the beginning, an explicit aim of the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI)a $6.5 billion federal investment in nanotechnology research launched in January 2000 under President Bill Clintonwas to excite young girls and boys about science, particularly the physical sciences and engineering. The intent was to reach millions of children using the wonders of nanotechnology to encourage them to study science and to equip them to compete successfully at the cutting-edge of a globalized economy." Another stated NNI goal was "to establish channels of communication, providing information to, and seeking input from, the public at large regarding the federal nanotechnology program. But so far, government-supported childrens education programs and public outreach efforts have been long on rhetoric and short on the strategy and resources necessary to achieve significant results," Lane said.

Lane is one of four co-authors of "What drives public acceptance of nanotechnology""a paper which presents the results of the first large-scale empirical study of how consumers consider risks and benefits when deciding whether to purchase or use specific nanotechnology products. The articles lead author is Steven C. Currall, University of College London and London Business School. (For information on the article, U.S. journalists should contact Jade Boyd, News & Media Relations, Rice University, by

Contact: Julia Moore
Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies

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