Nanotechnology and Quantum Information Technology and Society

Exploring advanced classical and quantum technologies and their societal implications.

Articles and Essays
1. Identifying Nanotechnology in Society.
(preprint, Manufacturing materials and systems with components thousands of times smaller than the width of a human hair promises vast and sometimes unimaginable advances in technology. Yet the term nanotechnology has formed as much from people's expectations as from scientific reality. Understanding the creation and context of this social construction can help us appreciate and guide what may be a burgeoning revolution., Chapter in Advances in Computers 71: Nanotechnology, edited Marvin Zelkowitz, Elsevier, 2007)

2. The Nanotechnology Revolution.
(preprint, Here we consider the place of nanotechnology in the second great technological revolution of mankind that began some 200 years ago. The so-called nanotechnology revolution represents both a continuation of prior science and technology trends and a re-awakening to the benefits of significant investment in fundamental research., Chapter in Nanoethics: Examining the Societal Impact of Nanotechnology, edited by Fritz Allhoff, Patrick Lin, James Moor, and John Weckert, Wiley-Interscience, 2007)

3. Spookytechnology and Society.
(preprint, New technologies based on the exploitation of so-called "second order" quantum phenomena - such as quantum entanglement - deserve a public-friendly, rational, and sexy name. Spookytechnology is that unifying term. The pursuit of spookytechnology has profound implications for the development of the physical and information sciences and ultimately for society at large.)
Spookytechnology and Society research page...

4. Quantum Information Technology and Industry. NEW!
(article, Quantum Times newsletter, Winter 2008)

My definitions...
nanotechnology, at present, is nanoparticles and nanomaterials that contain nanoparticles. Nanoparticles are defined as objects or devices with at least two dimensions in the nanoscale regime (typically tens of nanometers or less) that exhibit new properties, physical, chemical, or biological, or change the properties of a bulk material, due to their size. Nanotechnology of the future will include atom-by-atom or molecule-by-molecule built active devices. [Reference and Background]

"spookytechnology" or quantum information technologyencompasses all functional devices, systems, and materials whose utility relies in whole or in part on higher order quantum properties of matter and energy that have no counterpart in the classical world. These purely quantum traits may include superposition, entanglement, decoherence (along with the quantum aspects of measurement and error correction) or new behavior that emerges in engineered quantum many-body systems. [Reference and Background]

STS 201: Nanotech+Society

An undergraduate course taught in the spring semester of 2005 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A non-technical, discussion-based introduction to nanotechnology and science and technology studies.

Nanotechnology and Society: A discussion-based undergraduate course.
(preprint, published PDF, scitation access in Am. J. Phys., 74, 443, 2006)

1. Teaser introduction to nanotech with some consideration of specific societal implications. Guest in-class talks and discussion workshops. (Fall 2004)
Nanotechnology, Society, & the Engineer
Nanotechnology, Medicine, and the Body
...with R. Leung (Sociology)

2. APS March Meeting talk (10-minutes) on STS 201: Nanotech+Society course. (March 2005)
Nanotechnology and Society

Some External Links
• University of Wisconsin Initiative on Nanotechnology and Society (former member) (mostly moved to ASU now)
The Nanoethics Group, Santa Barbara, California (member of the advisory board)
Centre for Bioethics and Nanoethics, Aarhus University, Denmark, Nanoethics Network (founding member)
Nanotechnology Task Force, University of Surrey, UK (founding member)
Center for Nanotechnology in Society, Arizona State University
• Woodrow Wilson Center's Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies: Consumer Product Inventory, March 2006




(C) Charles Tahan unless otherwise acknowledged.