Nano@Tech: Religious Reactions to Nanotechnology

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 Professor Chris Toumey, Center for Environmental Nanoscience & Risk, Dept. of Environmental Health
Sciences, School of Public Health, University of South Carolina

Abstract: There is good reason to believe that nonscientists' views of nanotechnology will be strongly influenced by religious beliefs, and not by public knowledge of the relevant science.  If so, it is worth knowing which forms of religious thought will shape public views of nanotech, and what this means for nanotech.  This talk presents the reasons why religious beliefs will be influential that way, and then gives seven examples of religious thought about nanotech.  The principal themes in religious reactions to nanotechnology are identified, so that we may anticipate the general outlines of nonscientists' views of nanotech. 

Bio: Chris Toumey is a cultural anthropologist (Ph.D. from UNC - Chapel Hill) who works in the anthropology of science. Since 2003 he has been involved in societal and cultural issues in nanotechnology.  His interests there include these: public engagement with nanotech; religious reactions to nanotech; issues in the history of nanotech; and epistemological issues of technology and aesthetics in producing and interpreting micrographs of nanoscale objects (e.g., atoms, molecules and atomic surfaces).  He is the author of more than eighty publications on nanotechnology, including his humanistic commentaries that appear four times a year in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, where he aspires to show scientists and engineers that the humanities and social sciences can contribute to our understandings of nanotechnology.  


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