Nanotechnology and Society Workshop Presentations Available Online
Video presentations from the Science, Technology and Society Initiative’s highly successful workshop, Nanotechnology and Society: The Organization and Policy of Innovation, are now available on the STS Spring 2007 Workshop website. The workshop brought together more than 80 national and international faculty, public officials, scientists and students to discuss a range of important issues related to the societal implications of emerging nanoscale technologies, including:
- Technology innovation and dispute resolution
- Role of the media in forming public opinion and informing public policy on emergent technologies
- Visual perception of nanoscale phenomena
- Organization and economics of the nanotechnology research and development enterprise
Undergraduates from the Department of Communication’s “Advanced Issues in Information Technology” course created the video content, under the direction of Jarice Hanson. In addition, they produced a 20-minute nano podcast that explains nanotechnology and its implications for the public, also accessible on the website.
Included in the podcast are segments on nanotechnology and the body, including health, health-care products, and medical purposes; nanotechnology in manufacturing; nanotechnology and concern for the public (e.g. toxicity issues, requests for more health care analysis and environmental study); and nanotechnology and commercial products (washing machines, home products).
The University of Massachusetts Amherst is situated to play a unique role in exploring these and similar issues. With its NSF NSEC: Center for Hierarchical Manufacturing and STS Initiative, established by the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences in 2004, UMass Amherst is evaluating how new technologies can be used to foster innovation. In particular, there is growing interest in looking at how we can broaden the view of the design process in order to incorporate choices and incentives that reflect societal values.
The STS Initiative convenes and coordinates campus-wide and multi-university research projects among scholars who are leaders in their fields and active collaborators across multiple disciplines. The NanoScience and Society Research Group brings together faculty from five research centers and eight degree-granting departments and programs, including:
- Jane Fountain, Director, STS Initiative; Director, National Center for Digital Government; and Professor of Political Science and Public Policy
- Douglas Anderton, Associate Dean for Research in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences; Director, Social and Demographic Research Institute; and Professor of Sociology
- Ethan Katsh, Director, National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution; and Professor of Legal Studies
- Jarice Hanson, Professor of Communication
- Kyle Cave, Professor of Cognitive Psychology
- William Gibson, Professor of Economics and Public Policy
- Michael Ash, Associate Professor of Economics and Public Policy
- Krista Harper, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Public Policy
- Alan Gaitenby, Assistant Director, National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution; and Lecturer for Legal Studies
The STS Initiative promotes multidisciplinary collaboration among the natural, physical and social sciences, engineering and public policy. Located in the Center for Public Policy and Administration, the STS Initiative provides a catalyst for innovative research as well as an interdisciplinary forum to discuss issues in science and technology. STS is directed by Professor of Political Science and Public Policy Jane Fountain. The workshop was supported by the National Science Foundation, the Research Leadership in Action Program of the Office of the Vice Provost for Research, the Center for Public Policy and Administration, and the Center for Hierarchical Manufacturing. More information about the workshop is available at the STS Spring 2007 Workshop website.
July 10, 2007