Tuesday, October 16, 2007

How Nano is different from Fuel Cells...

Chris Toumey, in his 4S talk, "Dialogues on Nanotech," reported findings based on USC's Citizens School of Nanotechnology. One set of comments that struck me as particularly interesting addressed the difference between public perceptions of nanotechnologies and fuel cell technologies. Overall, participants could envision a future with fuel cell technologies more easily than they could a future with nanotechnology: compared to fuel cells, nano has ambiguous outcomes, is not well-focused, and seems to be part of a far distant future whereas fuel cells are more clearly framed in terms of goals and definitions and have been effectively billed as a near-term technology. Thus, participants could see fuel cells as a means for their own personal prosperity - or at least for the prosperity of their local communities.

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