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Public Perception of Nanotechnology is Largely Undecided

Most people don't seem to have an opinion about benefits or risks of nanotechnology, partly because they don't know what it is

1 min read

Despite seemingly relentless attempts to make nanotechnology the next asbestos or Frankenstein food, it seems the public just will not be swayed one way or another on the subject of whether it is beneficial or risky.

According to a recent study, "Anticipating the perceived risk of nanotechnologies" — that will appear online Sept. 20 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, it seems that 44% of the people surveyed don’t have an opinion about nanotechnology one way or another.

This result reportedly surprised the researchers, some of who commented, "You don't normally get that reluctance." You certainly don’t. People typically feel compelled to voice their opinions on any range of subjects they know virtually nothing about.

But nanotechnology has managed to avoid the typical knee-jerk reaction brought on by your by-the-book scare tactics. I think this may have to do more with the utter apathy people feel towards learning the subject than some kind of hopeful trend that the human race is becoming more circumspect.

So the fear mongers should not walk away with bowed heads, half-informed ignorance could still win the day.

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The Transistor at 75

The past, present, and future of the modern world’s most important invention

1 min read
A photo of a birthday cake with 75 written on it.
Lisa Sheehan

Seventy-five years is a long time. It’s so long that most of us don’t remember a time before the transistor, and long enough for many engineers to have devoted entire careers to its use and development. In honor of this most important of technological achievements, this issue’s package of articles explores the transistor’s historical journey and potential future.

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