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Nano: Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise?

Gina Miller writes "Nanotechnology: Is It Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise? is the topic of an article at Power Electronics Technology dated March 1, 2002. Sam Davis, the Editor, invokes the $500 million National Nanotechnology Initiative and Pres. Bush's proposed increase in the program as evidence that nanotechnology should be taken seriously. Davis explains how re-arranging atoms could provide us with new semiconductors and improved integrated circuits. He cites the book Unbounding the Future: The Nanotechnology Revolution, by Drexler, Peterson, and Pergamit (1991) and quotes Ralph C. Merkle of the Zyvex Corp on what nanotechnology will mean. And last but not least he notes the problems nanotechnology could bring in the form of deliberate abuse or accidents, and the Foresight Institute's draft of guidelines for developing nanotechnology to minimize those problems. He summarizes by asking "Although nanotechnology products are years away, is this a good thing, or bad? Is it an ethical problem, similar to nuclear energy with its good and bad points? Is it a threat to power electronics engineering and manufacturing as we know it? Is the 'march of science' going too far?" Is he worried primarily about threats to the job security of power electronics engineers?"

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