Andrew D. Maynard, Ph.D.
NSF International Chair of Environmental Health Sciences
Chair, University of Michigan Environmental Health Sciences Department
Director, University of Michigan Risk Science Center
Abstract: For nearly 20 years, nanotechnology has dominated policy and dialogue around emerging technologies. Hailed as the next industrial revolution, nanotechnology has been built on the strength of new science, new engineering, and new products. It has been framed as an essential stimulator of economic growth, and it has been promoted as critical to addressing some of the toughest challenges of our time, from cancer to climate change. Nanotechnology has been sold as a responsible technology in that it will lead to tools that support the sustainable betterment of society, while helping to manage the excesses of less responsible times. But how responsible is the technology in reality? Is it merely a cynical co-opting of an existing trend in science and technology to line the pockets of researchers and entrepreneurs? Or does it hold the seeds of a new, more responsible approach to technology innovation? This lecture will explore both the opportunities and challenges around ensuring the “nanotechnology revolution” leads to sustainable progress, from a technological, economic, environmental, and societal perspective.…