Nanotech Database

Article Title:
The Discursive and Operational Foundations of the National Nanotechnology Initiative in the History of the National Science Foundation

Gallo, Jason

Journal Information:
Perspectives on Science
Vol. 17, Num. 2


In Jason Gallos opinion, The NNI has exhibited many of the same characteristics of the NSFs discursive and operational strategies because the National Science Foundation played such a huge political and financial role in the creation of the National Nanotechnology Initiative. He looks at the development of the NSF from the 1950s and identifies that the strongest tactic for success its members identified was deterministic positivism; that support of the NNI in the 1990s, like support for the NSF decades earlier, would lead invariably to economic progress and positive societal and policy outcomes. He draws a parallel with the NSFs image of science as a new American frontier and the NNIs similar claims today. With Washington lobbying techniques learned from years of financial battles and marketing schemes that drew the best reaction from the people, the NSF was able to make an enormous impact on the NNI through its copious funding and its experience in selling science to citizens. From Sputnik to the Internet, the best way to sell science to Americans has been to take it out of the laboratory and into the home, and the NSFs success there eventually translated to similar campaigns for the NNI.