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Technology on a Nano-Scale

Research and work with nanotechnology is stretching across the United States, with the highest concentration of institutions located in California, Massachusetts, New York and Texas, according to a new report, which also identified 138 government laboratories and universities studying this field.

In an effort to educate the public about nanotechnology research and development, The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars launched their findings in an interactive map (a Google mash-up) that displays where in the U.S. nanotech companies, universities, research laboratories and organizations are located.

This screenshot from the interactive map shows where nanotechnolgy work and research is being done in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Click the Enlarge link to see more detail. (Courtesy of the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies)

"Public opinion polls show 80 percent of the public knows little or nothing about nanotechnology," said Julia A. Moore, the project's deputy director.

For those unfamiliar with nanotechnology, it's the industry where science and technology collide. It powers larger technologies, helps create new medicines, and is used in snazzy-new high-tech consumer products, such as clothing and cosmetics. However, with any new science or technology that's still in infancy, comes risk. One large concern is that nano-scaled versions of particles can be chemically identical to their larger counterparts, but create dramatically different results with still-unknown consequences.

Earlier this year, a Canadian-based civil society launched a contest to create an internationally recognized symbol that could be used on products comprised of these miniscule particles.

"The public should be educated about issues that impact them," said Moore. "There ought to be the appropriate amount of research into potential risks of nanotechnology."

Federal regulation has been discussed by both the EPA and the FDA, as well as on the floor of the House and Senate.

For a closer look at nanotechnology, as well as its discoveries, impacts and hazards, read this primer by Washington Post science writer Rick Weiss.

-- Alicia Cypress

Alicia Cypress covers business, technology and science for

By Editors  |  May 17, 2007; 10:00 AM ET
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

If people thought that the Internet opened doors in ways they never would have imagined, nanotechnology will do it far far more.

It ain't science fiction anymore!

Posted by: Nor'Easter | May 17, 2007 1:24 PM

Follow-up: There need to be more Section A articles on nanotechnology.

With only a few exceptions, most nanotech stories are buried in the Business Section.

The editors should realize how nanotech will be affecting the reader's daily lives.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | May 17, 2007 1:27 PM

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