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Nanotechnology researchers speak out

The University of South Carolina has released a survey of nanotechnology researchers’ views on various nanotech issues. For example, most agreed that:

Nanotechnology will draw more students into science, engineering and math than would otherwise have chosen to study in these fields.

I think this is already true — after all, students have been reading about nanotech since 1986.

Researchers also identified “Medicine and health” as the second most highly rated answer to “How important do you believe nanotechnology’s benefits will be for society over the next 20 years in each of the following areas…” exceeded only by new material development. Interestingly, a plurality of 48% agreed that:

In general, ordinary people think of nanotechnology as very small robots.

Sounds right to me. If there’s one nanotech-based application that people want (at least in the U.S.), it’s active, robot-like devices to go into the body and make repairs where they are needed. Rather than complain about that impression, it would behoove us to fulfill it. After all, taxpayers are paying a lot of money for NNIs around the world. —Christine

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