Ashley Shew
Virginia Tech
Nanotechnology is viewed by those in favor of its development in two different ways, and the divide is not recent. This article describes the origins of the differing visions of nanotechnology and examines their broader impacts. The typical history of the field tells nothing about these differing visions, which perhaps misleads. At least two distinct camps among scientists and engineers pursue work on the nanoscale, but they rarely interact, and when they do, they get nowhere. This article looks first at definitional issues in the field; then turns to the common history of nanotechnology, the history's shortcomings, and one particular episode that highlights the divide; and then examines the broader impacts of this dispute. The divide among those interested in nanotech tells something about the way different groups of people see technology and the application of science. This historical review clarifies controversy over societal issues and terminology in nanotechnology.
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DOI 10.1177/0270467608322535
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