Nanotechnology distinctions – let’s get some!

A twitter exchange between Frank Swain @sciencepunk stimulated me to ponder how useful it would be to have distinctions of nanotechologies.

This started because the Soil Association recently banned nano in organic products, giving the distinctions ‘natural, incidental and engineered’ to propose that engineered should be banned.

Nanotechnologies vs nanotechnology

But wouldn’t it be helpful to have distinctions which were meaningful – if nanotechnologies are plural, then the components of that need to be clearer.

However, Frank said, if the distinctions don’t stack up scientifically, then are they useless.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could agree some distinctions to use in general communication, which were meaningful in terms of science, risk, hazard and could be understood by an ordinary person?

It’s taken 10 years for a definition and we still haven’t got one – is anyone any closer to understanding distinctions?

Join the debate about distinctions

I have started a ‘DebateGraph’, which is like a wiki, but allows for more nuanced discussion, debate, examples and links to provide a much richer picture of the subject under discussion.

If you would like to join the debate about distinctions, help shape some distinctions that could be used in our Walking with Stakeholders project then please join in.

It’s fairly easy to use, check the help button on the right hand side to start.

Click here to check it out and contribute


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