The UKs NanoJury finally reported back (or least four out of the sixteen did) so we trekked across town to The Guardian Newsroom to see what they had to say.
It was very very refreshing to hear the views of people not closely associated with field. Having spend several weeks hearing both sides of the argument, the jury seemed to firmly grasp the concept of nano and were able to comment on questions intelligently.
When asked by a member of the press “On the whole, do you think nano is a good thing?”, they unanimously agreed in favour and even offered their favourite technology. These included solar energy, health and our favourite “nano is all about making things smaller, so its a good thing because it makes things easier to carry”!
There was some concern about the potential hazards and these were again highlighted in the jury’s recommendations, including “all manufactured nanoparticles should be clearly labled”.
Unfortunately The Guardian which instigated the project has now tired of science according to Richard Jones’ report on the findings, and merely confined itself to an 85 word summary, while the results were completely ignored by the rest of the worlds press. The old adage is that bad news sells newspapers, so the verdict that, ‘nanotech is fine with us,’ rather than ‘Disaster looms â€“ scientists and governments irresponsibly unconcerned’ may explain this.
This is just to correct your view on the nano-lazy “world press”, I’ve written two pieces in the German press about the Nanojury, fortunately I was given more space than 85 words. One appeared in die tageszeitung to which Richard Jones has linked on the Soft Machines blog, the second in Die Zeit, Germany’s leading weekly newspaper. The URL is http://www.zeit.de/2005/41/nanoforum
I think the Nanojury deserves a lot of attention, especially in Germany which is lagging way behind the UK in debating the risks of NT which have been confined so far to limited dialogues (experts, “stakeholders” on a panel of a remote conference and the like).