Buckyballs. Quantum dots. Golden triangles. Organic light-emitting diodes. Welcome to the world of nanotechnology - the engineering of new materials and new products, the use of new manufacturing techniques, all exploiting properties possessed at the infinitesimally small, or nano, scale. Virtually every large corporation now has a nanotechnology R & D operation. The US government is putting in serious investment. Huge promises are held out in the fields of medicine, energy, computing. And, more ominously, the Pentagon is exploring nano applications in a new generation of hi-tech weaponry.
But as this book makes clear:
* There is little public debate, even among consumer groups or trade unions, about the ways in which nanotechnologies are creeping into our lives as consumers and workers.
* Regulatory agencies take no account of scale when assessing the safety of new products and there is no regulatory framework for nanotechnology even in industrialized countries.
* Little research is going on into the health and environmental consequences, and safety, of nano-materials.
This book explains the fast moving world of the new technology and who controls it. It explores the potential consequences - the upsides as well as the downsides - for individuals, the environment, and relations between the powers. Nanotechnology could bridge or widen the gap between developing and industrialised countries - that is a political decision that civil society must address.
Publisher: Zed Books Ltd
Number of pages: 192
Weight: 213 g
Dimensions: 198 x 126 x 126 mm
Edition: Annotated edition
'Toby Shelley and Zed are to be applauded for bringing the importance of the subject to the attention of a radical audience. The book is both thoughtful and timely and demonstrates that no adequate appreciation of the future course of international and national societies is complete without some consideration of nanotechnology.'
John Daniels, a member of the Editorial Board of the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation Ltd.
'The author is refreshingly self-critical, showing an awareness that the impact of nanotechnology will depend upon technical questions that have not been yet answered..'
William Sims Bainbridge, Division of Information and Intelligent Systems at the National Science Foundation, Arlington, Virginia
'The book is extensively referenced and provides a great deal of information on the potential benefits of the technology as well as the downsides. Like other major technological breakthroughs, this balance depends on who is paying the bills.' -
'A clear and even-handed account'.
The London Review Bookshop