A Question of Balance or Blind Faith?: Scientists and Science Policymakers Representations of the Benefits and Risks of Nanotechnologies
Vol. 1, Num. 3
The idea of this article is to look at a British study entitled Nanoscience and Nanotechnologies: Opportunities and Uncertainties to better understand the ways in which scientists (upstream and downstream) and policymakers portray the benefits and risks of nanotechnologies, especially as regards the paramount fields of medical science and environmental sustainability. As with most people who are technophiles or already familiar with nanotechnology, the scientists and policymakers in this study held a generally positive view of nanotechnology, its possibilities and its applications, and found the benefits to outweigh the risks overall. While they found that the inherent risks in nanotechnology could be regulated once properly assessed, they were also cognizant of the difficulty involved in such an assessment. Perhaps the greatest risk to the science is the lack of public trust in nanotechnology, which stems from the other risks involved and leads to an intense interest in public engagement, if only to dispel the fears that usually come with new and emerging science and technology.