Dreaming of a Nanotech Christmas: What Persuades the Public to Embrace and Buy Nanotechnology?

Nov 21, 2006, 00:00 ET from Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Will parents put an iPod Nano or
 Head(R) Nano Titanium tennis racket under the Christmas tree for their
 children this year? Will holiday revelers hang a Nano-Infinity stocking on
 their fireplace mantle for Santa Claus to fill? Just what does compel
 shoppers to either buy nanotechnology products, or avoid them because of
 real or imagined risks?
     With over 350 manufacturer-identified nanotechnology consumer products
 available for purchase this gift-giving season (see:
 http://www.nanotechproject.org/consumerproducts), and with $2.6 trillion in
 manufactured goods incorporating nanotechnology expected by 2014, there is
 a lot at stake in how these questions are answered.
     The results of the first large-scale empirical study of how consumers
 consider risks and benefits when deciding whether to purchase or use
 specific nanotechnology products will appear in the December 2006 issue of
 the journal Nature Nanotechnology. The article's lead author, Steven C.
 Currall, University College London and London Business School, and a
 co-author, Neal Lane, Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy
 and former U.S. Presidential Science Advisor, will report their findings at
 a program and live webcast on Tuesday, December 5th at 2:00 p.m. in the 5th
 Floor Conference Room of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for
 Scholars (http://www.wilsoncenter.org/directions). The Nature
 Nanotechnology article is embargoed until December 5th at 2 p.m. U.S.
 Eastern Time.
     At this program sponsored by the Wilson Center's Project on Emerging
 Nanotechnologies, the authors will address whether greater popular
 awareness and understanding of nanotechnology will whet the public's
 appetite for the technology and lead to increased support for research, or
 raise concerns about the potential ill effects of new applications. They
 will discuss how public perceptions of nanotechnology are being shaped.
 They also will compare the experience of the emergence of nanotechnology to
 the experience of other "new" technologies, including nuclear power,
 genetically modified organisms (GMOs), embryonic stem cell research, and
     The study was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through
 Rice's Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology and NSF's
 Center for Nanotechnology in Society. Surveys were administered by Zogby
     Dr. Lane is senior fellow in Science and Technology at Rice
 University's Baker Institute and the Malcolm Gillis University Professor at
 Rice. While director of NSF (1993-1998) and assistant to the President for
 Science & Technology and director of the White House Office of Science and
 Technology Policy (1998-2001), Lane played a major role in establishing
 America's National Nanotechnology Initiative -- a federal investment to
 date of more than $6.5 billion in nanotechnology research and development.
 He is a leading proponent of greater citizen-scientist dialogue and public
 science education. Dr. Currall, formerly a professor at Rice, is professor
 of Enterprise and the Management of Innovation and director of the
 Management Studies Centre at University College London. He also is visiting
 professor of entrepreneurship and faculty co-director of the Institute of
 Technology at London Business School. He is an international authority on
 the application of behavioral science to workplace and marketplace
            *** Webcast LIVE at http://www.wilsoncenter.org/nano***
     What:   Dreaming of a Nanotech Christmas: What Persuades the Public to
             Embrace and Buy Nanotechnology?
     Who:    Steven C. Currall, Professor in the Faculty of Engineering
               Sciences at University College London, and Visiting Professor at
               London Business School
             Neal Lane, former U.S. Presidential Science Advisor, and Senior
               Fellow in Science and Technology Policy at Rice University's
               Baker Institute for Public Policy
             Julia A. Moore, Deputy Director, Project on Emerging
     When:   Tuesday, December 5th, 2006, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.
     Where:  Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 5th Floor
             Conference Room. Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade
             Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC
     The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies was launched in 2005 by the
 Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and The Pew Charitable
 Trusts. It is dedicated to helping business, governments, and the public
 anticipate and manage the possible health and environmental implications of
     Media planning to cover the event should contact Sharon McCarter at
 (202) 691-4016 or sharon.mccarter@wilsoncenter.org. UK journalists
 interested in an advance copy of the article, "What Drives Public
 Acceptance of Nanotechnology," Nature Nanotechnology (December 2006) should
 contact Professor Steven Currall at + 44 (0) 20 7679-0446 (if outside the
 UK, do not dial the "0" after "44") or e-mail scc@ucl.ac.uk or
 navaeeda.naeem@ucl.ac.uk. US journalists should contact Jade Boyd, News &
 Media Relations, Rice University, by phone at (713) 348-6778 or by e-mail
     Sharon McCarter, Director of Outreach and Communications
     (202) 691-4016

SOURCE Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars