Nanotech Database

Article Title:
Risky Business: Perceived Behavior of Local Scientists and Community Support for Their Research

McComas, Katherine A.

Journal Information:
Risk Analysis
Vol. 28, Num. 6


The authors here looked at the correlation between what people think about a research facilitys scientists, as far as concerns their methods, results and interpersonal skills, and compares them to the attitude these people had toward the scientists in their midst. The desire to become the next Silicon Valley has led many communities to welcome industrial research into their lands, but the behavior of the scientists involved, as well as the work they plan to do, has had an enormous impact on the publics perception of their work and whether or not they should be welcome in their midst. Nanotechnology is just one of the emerging technologies the authors identify as having a culturally charge value based in many ways on the way scientist interact with and explain themselves to the people of a community, especially in the two New York counties studied here. Through careful analysis of mail surveys, the authors were able to confirm a strong role for perceived justice of local scientists in two communities evaluations of the appropriateness of their research for the community and the willingness to support attracting more technology to the region, though any sense of not playing fair with the public has led to negative feelings about the research there and prospects for further studies in the area.