Nanoscience and Nanotechnology: Assessing the Nature of Innovation in These Fields
Mehta, Michael D.
Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society
Vol. 22, Num. 8
Developments in nanoscience and nanotechnology, says Michael Mehta, will providesocial scientists with a unique opportunity to explore how scientific activities form de novo. Nanotechnology is in the process of being defined and linked to social and technical problems. Some developments require investments of the sorts that governments can best make, and coordination across federal agencies, universities and industry. He glosses various models of knowledge diffusion and says "innovation systems are characteristics of the nation state...[but] they are being supplemented by regional and multinational systems in many parts of the world." He argues that scientists will have the opportunity to examine the factors that drive science and technology in certain directions by considering how different models of innovation may explain how the topography of the knowledge-based economy is being shaped by radically new approaches to science. Nanotechnology will not instantly replace any particular technology or social system, or undermine economic structures, but will rather loop back into already existing systems.