Monday, December 19, 2005


I am often asked how to stay on top of developments in nano. So, they are all found below. As to the ICON site, I am associated with ICON and will be working on some of these services, so decide on your own. Yes, I read a lot.


Best of NanoWeek incl. former NanoInvester News and NanoApex (
Foresight Nanotech Institute Weekly News Digest (contact esp. NanoDot blog (
Institute of Nanotechnology (
Meridian Nanotechnology and Development News (NEW*) (contact
Nanoforum Newsletter (NEW*) (contact
NanotechWeb.Org (
NanoWorld News (
News from the NanoBusiness Alliance (contact
Woodrow Wilson Center mailing list (contact


Nanoport (


Forbes Wolfe Nanotech Report (expensive but worth it). (
Nanotechnology Law and Business Journal (getting better and relatively inexpensive) (


Allianz Group (,,796427-44,00.html)
Asian Technology Information Program (
Center for Information Technology and Society (
Center for Nanoscale Systems (Cornell) (
Consortium for Science Policy and Outcomes (Ariz State) (
Helmut Kaiser (
House Committee on Science (
International Council on Nanotechnology (
IFAS (AgriFood) (
Impart-Nanotox (
International Association of Nanotechnology (
IRGC (Risk Governance) (
Lux Research (
Micro and Nanotech Manufacturing Initiative (
NanoBioNexus (
NanoMarkets (
NanoNet (
NanoSolutions (
NanoTsunami (
Nanotechnology News Network (
Nanotechnology Now (
UK NanoJury (
NewsFactor Technology News Magazine (
ScienCentral News (
Woodrow Wilson Center (

Saturday, December 17, 2005

What's up in DC?

What's up in DC?
There's been a lot of movement and directions taken remain incredibly unclear.

First, we have the shuffle involving Mike Roco and there does not seem to be a conspiracy afoot. He's no longer chairing NSET (the chairman/person/ship rotates). The NSET co-chairs as of December 2005 are Celia Merzbacher of OSTP and Altaf Carim of DOE. Mike remains a member representing NSF. Mike has been an incredibly powerful advocate for the science side of the NNI. I often tell folks "You gotta love the guy. How many times has he had to explain that nano was not about little robots coursing through our arteries?!" For that alone, he deserves our commendation. Personally, I enjoy his pugnacious style and his fiery defense of all things nano.

Second, there was a grantees meeting from Dec. 12-15 (two days for the recent NIRT grant recipients and two days to recipients of larger-scale NSEC related) grants). Rachelle Hollander announced her retirement (a while ago) which from the newly renamed NSF Science and Society program (which incorporates a number of earlier subprograms including both STS and EVS). I didn't attend so ask someone who did.

Third, we have the queer way that the NSEC for the Center for Nanotechnology in Society was handled where we have ended up with two Centers and some money given to two other teams (presumably NIRT-like awards since none we awarded this year for SEIN work). Presumably this will be hammered out in a February meeting of the PIs from the four recipients.

Finally, we have mid-term elections coming up and science and technology policy will not be relevant in any campaigns. Next, we have the elections in 2008. While it's early to predict who will comes out of the pack. Democrats seem to have Hillary Rodham-Clinton (Sen., NY), John Edwards, and John Kerry. Edwards and Kerry are not science and technology advocates though Edwards less than Kerry and both less than Rodham-Clinton. Republicans have a score of folks but that includes Condoleeza Rice who would be an unlikely candidate given her rhetoric and her foreign policy focus (not a campaign issue against the economy) though she can bark about terrorism better than most, former mayor of NYC Rudy Giuliani who will probably run on a "tough on terrorism" platform. The NNI might be incidental to both of their candidacies. Then there's John McCain (Sen., AZ). There's a recent plus in his candidacy given the legislation on torture which might be able to attract some crossover voters and he does have a strong record on science and technology serving on the Science Committee. We also have George Allen (Sen., VA) who has to improve his national visibility and everyone knows Allen is a great supporter and though I responded to some of his hyperbole in a recent issues of ISSUES that does not mean I wouldn't vote for him given the opportunity.

My spin - watch McCain and Allen closely. A McCain-Allen ticket would be a science technology team worth our attention. They'd probably get my vote.

Thursday, December 8, 2005

Review of MRS Meeting in Boston week of Nov 29

First, I flew in and stayed a day to do my bit and flew out. As such, there is a lot of things happening at MRS and I am blogging just the day I was there and just the section dealing with SEIN.

The session was on Policy and Legal Approaches for Nanotechnology, took place on December 1, and was chaired by Melissa Hoffer from Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hall and Dore LLP (Boston).

First up was Jo Anne Shatkin from Cadmus and she gave a straightforward introduction to the general issues. She emphasized a life cycle approach. I spoke next one "Tale of 3 Algorithms" and efforts to design an algorithm for public communication of applied nanoscience given the current state of the nanocosm. Nora Savage from EPA presented the policy spin and was joined by a fellow at EPA who covered the voluntary program under TSCA. I just wish everyone would just deal with the new versus existing issue. This is the nexus of most of the regulatory issues. Next James Votaw from Wilmer Cutler discussed some issues that are associated with regulation.

Kevin Ausman from CBEN discussed the ICON toxicology database ( and Evan Michelson was eloquent and covered the Woodrow Wilson version ( which is very good and should be visited. He claimed this resource might be useful for a gap analysis in toxicology.

Next there was a panel. I pulled myself off this panel discussed since the focus was nearly entirely on specific regulatory formulas and databases.

The afternoon session began with the "Unsinkable" Sonia Miller from CTBA who covered some highlights from recent appraisals of the NNI. Fred Klaessig from Degussa made a presentation on rhetorical chemistry which was interesting (it highlights the role of science in public dialog), Ahson Wardak from UVA discussed highlights in public health regulation and performed a basic gap analysis in terms of regulation, Valdimir Murashov from NIOSH did a tremendous job reviewing OSHA and the new NIOSH initiative on best practices and discussed a dynamic peprspective in differentiating between nanoparticles and challenges in filtering, Barbara Beck from the Gradient Corp. discussed exposure scenarios and more iterative frameworks, and Melissa Hoffer covered workplace regulatory issues and the relationships between uncertainty and chilling effects in terms of commercialization.

I joined the next panel. We discussed a variety of issues. We also were asked by one of the promoters of the event why we thought it was so poorly attended by the material scientists. Truth be told, we have a long trek ahead of us because there remains some sense that scientists and technologists have enough to do and policy issues are not their concern. This is much too big an issue to cover here.

My overall impression was these sessions needed to happen because the transition to a world where science and technology policy is a public sphere concern will take time and it needs to be built. That is a slow and sometimes tedious process.

I was fairly outspoken (how about that!) that only a small percentage of the American public are actually concerned about science and technology policy and the studies that ask for opinions about science generate interest that is only artificial. I remain convinced (and one day I will try to get someone to fund research in this) that we need to understand the unique demographic of the small percentage who are concerned. We need to separate their grounds of interest from those articulated by NGOs and other interests groups since their self-sustaining interests color their objectivity. Once we know our audience, we can fashion an outreach and public education strategy that really makes sense. Right now, our shotgun approach is doomed to limited success or outright failure. Many of these concerns will be part of my new research project that hopefully will culminate in another book-length deliverable.

DISCLAIMER - I am serving on the steering committee from ICON (International Council on Nanotechnology) and am working on their communication program. To date, I do not think it has not affected my objectivity but you can decide that.