Comments 9

    1. Post

      I’d say that this type of unsubstantiated speculation about diseases which may or may not exist but which are definitely nothing to do with nanotechnologies is pretty irresponsible.

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  2. The film will be the ‘report’ on the conference, yes? Considering the Maysles brothers had a shooting ratio of 60:1 for Grey Gardens (, producing the film from two days of discussion/debate should be a very interesting exercise in soundbite creation.

    P.D. James taught me how the electricity grid works. Tom Wolfe taught me what bond traders do. Some of us social science types have developed workarounds. Although I was surprised to see ‘communications’ listed as one of the social sciences. 🙂

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  4. Tim,

    How many similar meetings have I sat in where no-one is quite sure what they are talking about? Too many!

    (your description brings back memories of my “silent rave” blog:

    I’m a strong advocate of public engagement – but think we still have tons to learn about how to do it effectively, rather than going round in ever more unproductive circles.

    btw – are you able to at least tell us who the organizers were, or is this also confidential?

    1. Post

      Andrew, I agree 100% about going around in circles. Dumping the same group of people naked and blindfolded into the heart of the Amazonian rainforest for a couple of days would probably result in an equally insightful report on responsible nanotechnologies (or credit swaps or neurosurgery), as would paying nanoscientists to accost random people in pubs across the region, although it may be rather trickier to obtain an EU grant for those activities!

      It was organised through the DEEPEN project at Durham. The University of Coimbra in Portugal will be running a similar session soon, so it will be interesting (or perhaps it won’t) to see if Portuguese lay people know any more about nanotech than those from the North east of England.

  5. There was a whole web site listing the conference organizers, although I’ve forgotten the URL now. What I did discover is that one of the organizers is a distant relative of mine – spelling wasn’t standardized when my ancestor left the UK in 1608. But it was quite a shock to see my dad’s hair, eyes and nose being worn by a guy in the UK.

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