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New ASU center will assess societal implications of nanotechnology

TEMPE, Ariz. How will rapid technological change influence democracy, affect our privacy, and even change human identity itself? The National Science Foundation has awarded $6.2 million to explore such questions at the new Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University. Center researchers will work side by side with scientists who are making nanotechnology a reality to anticipate and understand the societal consequences of this new area of innovation.

The ASU center is the largest in a network of newly funded NSF activities on nanotechnology and society, including a second center at University of California-Santa Barbara and additional projects at Harvard University and the University of South Carolina. The network will support research and education on nanotechnology and social change, as well as provide educational and public outreach activities and international collaborations.

"The Center for Nanotechnology in Society at ASU will be devoted to interdisciplinary studies of nanotechnology with a real social commitment," said ASU President Michael Crow. "It will help us determine the impact of nanotechnology on society and it will allow us to see how society affects the course of nanotechnology research."

Mihail Roco, NSF's senior advisor for nanotechnology, said the new nanotechnology centers and projects come at an important time. "The nanotechnology field has been evolving rapidly since 2000, with technological, economic, social, environmental and ethical implications that could change the world," he said.

Nanotechnology is the manipulation of molecular-sized materials to create new products and processes. It encompasses contributions from fields such as physics, chemistry and biochemistry, molecular biology, and engineering, with potential applications in areas as diverse as drug delivery and discovery, environmental sensing, manufacturing, and quantum computing. The potential benefits of the technology are gr
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Contact: Skip Derra
skip.derra@asu.edu
480-965-4823
Arizona State University
11-Oct-2005


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