Nanotech Database

Article Title:
Ethics and Nanotechnology: Views of Nanotechnology Researchers

McGinn, Robert

Journal Information:
Vol. 2, Num. 2


This article uses data taken from an online questionnaire given to nanotechnology researchers to determine their general feelings about ethics in nanotechnology as well as specific ethical questions within the field. The researchers by and large were cognizant not only of the safety and integrity issues existent in the laboratory but also the ethical issues surrounding their research and the impact it might have on people outside the lab. McGinn sees nanotechnology as one of the first areas of contemporary technoscientific activity in which a long-standing belief is being seriously challenged: the belief that society is solely responsible for what happens when a researchers work, viewed as neutral and merely enabling, is applied in a particular social context, a truly momentous occurrence if correct. The study shows that, while most researchers did not feel they were extremely familiar with the particular ethics of nanotechnology, there was a very strong belief that ethics were of the utmost importance in pursuing this science, and that the researchers were responsible to society as much as anything else in their endeavors.