Interdisciplinary Research Group 1 - Origins, Institutions, and Communities

IRG1 Research Highlight

Reliable knowledge about nanotechnology’s contemporary social, economic, and policy implications must be based on a comprehensive and robust understanding of its historical contexts. Nanotechnology borrows heavily from people, organizations, and methods that pre-date the founding of the National Nanotechnology Initiative. Scientists, policymakers, and the public borrow on long-standing viewpoints in evaluating nano’s potential. Those borrowings shape how nanotechnology is done, perceived, and regulated.

Our work examines these historical underpinnings at multiple levels – scientists’ careers, institutions, research communities, instrumentation, national and state policy, and the public’s evolving perception of nanotechnology. Investigating the “deep history” of a broad set of communities and institutions helps us understand the resources available to the early nano-proponents, and ultimately allows us to understand how those resources constrained and enabled particular aspects of the nano-enterprise. This “practical past” therefore has intellectual value for the social scientist as well as the historian, and has special relevance for scientists and policy makers. (More...)

IRG 1 comprises: W. Patrick McCray, Group Leader and member of the CNS Executive Committee, David C. Brock (Chemical Heritage Foundation), Hyungsub Choi (Seoul National University ), Roger Eardley-Pryor (UCSB), Cyrus Mody (Rice University), Joseph November (University of South Carolina), Amy Slaton (Drexel University), and Ann Johnson (University of South Carolina).

Research Projects: The nano-enterprise sprawls over a vast landscape which includes academic, governmental, and corporate entities as well as diverse publics, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and points of intersection with other emerging technologies. IRG1 research projects have focused on the following areas.

1. Nanotechnology and the Pacific Rim

2. Technoscientific Re-Emergence and Electronics Uncertainty

3. Institutions of Interdisciplinarity

4. Innovation and Research at the Nanotechnology-Biology Interface

(No current Project 5)

6. Nanotechnology Narratives and U.S. Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Policies

7. Divided Labor and Stratified Opportunity in American Nanomanufacturing: The Paradox of the Middle-Skilled

8. Nanotechnology, Aesthetics and Innovation

9. DNA Nanotechnology and Nanotechnologists

10. The Long Arm of Moore's Law


Completed Projects

Pioneers of Nanotechnology

(Nano)Technological Enthusiasm and the Public Imagination

Nanoscale Science and Engineering, Federal R&D Policy, and Energy ConversionTechnology