Nanotech Database

Article Title:
Anticipating the Perceived Risk of Nanotechnologies

Satterfield, Terre

Journal Information:
Nature Nanotechnology
Vol. 4, Num. 11


In this article, the authors surveyed a number of reports that explored public perceptions of [nanotechnologys] risks and benefits, looking to synthesize the material through meta-analysis and come up with some concrete theories about risk perceptions amongst the public. What they found was that almost as many people had some knowledge of nanotechnology as not, and that those who were most familiar with the field were educated white males. They found that the public generally finds nanotechnology to promise more benefits than risks, and that familiarity with the field breeds not contempt but comfort. A large percentage of people were found to be unsure of the relative risks and benefits of nanotechnology, however, which suggests to the authors the malleability of public opinion in the face of emerging technologies.