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SCI/TECH: US Leader in Nanotechnology Research, Report Says

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posted on Mar, 28 2005 @ 04:42 AM
The United States is the single largest spender in nantotechnology research in the world. Last year's $1 billion US budget was greater than the budget of the entire European Union. The United States also holds roughly two thirds of the patents on nanotechnology. The US is starting to lose its lead, however as other nations begin to take interest. In addition to losing its lead, United States scientists are starting to wonder about the potential health risks stemming from nanotechnology research. Many materials are becoming more known for being potentially harmful in a nanomaterial state.
The science of the very small is getting big in the United States. Americans are investing more money, publishing more scientific papers and winning more patents than anyone else in the quickly growing field of nanotechnology, according to the first comprehensive federal report on the science of things only a few hundred millionths of an inch in size.

But the nation's lead may be short-lived, the report warns, as Europe and Asia show evidence of gaining.

Moreover, important questions about the technology's safety and oversight remain unanswered and under-studied, the report concludes. Research on the health effects of nanomaterials -- and necessary revisions in the way they are regulated -- are lagging, government officials said, even as the novel materials find their way into an ever-widening spectrum of products, including clothing, cosmetics and computer hard drives.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

Given the budding research on the health risks associated with nanotechnology and the manufacture and implementation of such technology, this field of science needs to be researched a little more fully. If we are to herald a technology such as this as the "engine of the next industrial revolution," we should try to avoid the pitfalls of the last industrial revolution, and know the dangers before the technology becomes commonplace.

With so many other nations gaining interest in nanotechnology research, perhaps it would be wise for scientists from all of the nations researching this to trade notes, and effectively enlarge the research pool. This could aid in a faster, safer implementation of this technology.

Nanotech is certainly very promising for our future, however, if the risks aren't known ahead of the implementation, it could also be very harmful to our future. We need to ensure that this technology is ready for full implementation before distributing it to the public.

posted on Mar, 28 2005 @ 12:25 PM
Agreed, the risks must be known. That is where a large part of the nanotech research money is going.

Sadly, from a lot of reports, and media spin, it seems much nano research is looking for reasons *not* to continue learning and experimenting. So many just looking for something wrong to trumpet, another reason to stifle the research.

Much of that, I think, coming from organizations that either want to be the leaders in nanotech (overseas concerns), or wish money towards their pet cure-all, stem cell research.

One thing we gotta do is clear up the ignorance of the American public. Clear up the demonizing of nuclear energy, get rid of the fear of self-aware devouring clouds out of sci-fi novels, and continue to take proper, planned steps.

Because there are plenty of nations without a whit of social or environmental conscience, that will have no problem creating the long term problems of a new "industrial revolution" for short term "progress". If we can find ways to get the gains without the soot, then we've done the world and the future a favor.

posted on Mar, 28 2005 @ 01:32 PM
How do you quantify leadership? Money spent? Patents filed? Or how about blockbuster products? Nanotech is a very complicated field and the US is doing itself a disservice by promoting a culture of Anti-Intellectualism. I know not really on topic, but the point is if the USA wants to be the leader in this field for the rest of this century it has to reverse several troubling trends happening at the ground level.

Another Beef I have with US nanotech policy is that it is largely ignoring the Drexlerian view of Nanotech because it "Scares the Children" as one Richard Smally put it, Nanobots are possible as is Molecular Self-Assembly. But when you mention either one of those to a Venture Fund or a Gov't Grant office the money evaporates faster then you can say "Nanobot".

I know people are going to bash the Neo-Luddites on this but the Far Left is not alone in opposing aspects of this technology. The Far-Right is setting it's sights on the Human Enhancement side as well saying its Immoral to change the Human species away from "gods" image. There are alot of Moral and Ethical issue with this technology, but we cannot let it overly preoccupy us that we drop the ball and give say China the lead in 20-30 years time.

posted on Apr, 3 2005 @ 08:02 PM
We have definitelly reached a point where our society as a whole needs to make the decision to take the intellectual plunge once again. Our machines are getting smaller and smaller while physicists our telling us our physical universe is much stranger than any of our high school physics teachers would ever admit to us. All of this has happened while the average american is still luxuriating in the freedom of a wireless society and modern medicine they barelly understand.

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