Title

Room at the bottom of Pandora's Box: Peril and promise in communicating nanotechnology

Document Type

Article

Abstract

These five articles, four of them based on presentations at the 2005 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington, DC, and the fifth planned for presentation there by a panelist who could not attend, together at least sketch out a great deal of what we have learned over the past decade about the dynamics of public communication for newly emerging science and technology as it applies to nanotechnology and nanoscience. Although each of these articles makes a unique contribution to an emerging area of study, the sum here is clearly greater than the individual parts. None of these articles is as meaningful alone in representing this understanding as are the five of them taken as a group. The articles in this collection represent the initial results of new research initiatives inspired by the appearance of nanotechnology on the contemporary social stage, rather than fully settled conclusions on well-understood topics. So they are all, in a way, unfinished projects. Nevertheless, readers who want to deepen their understanding of the present state of our knowledge of the communication processes that link science and society are advised to read all of them, all the way through. Nanotechnology might be thought of as the example rather than the topic; the topic, then, is how contemporary societies can come to grips with science and technology evolving at an unprecedented pace (and, many argue, characterized by unprecedented transformative power).

Disciplines

Communication | Journalism Studies | Mass Communication | Nanoscience and Nanotechnology | Science and Technology Policy | Science and Technology Studies