I was impressed recently by all of the truly exciting innovations and science policy issues which are now reported in the media so fast that it has become difficult to keep up. Recall the saying: so many books; so little time!
For example, nanotech, cleantech, and printed electronics were all featured in the last Economist Technology Quarterly (March 12, 2011). First, use of nanopores for rapid DNA sequencing was highlighted (pages 13-14). In addition, flexible electronic circuits also were noted (pages 15-16). Finally, Vinod Khosla’s controversial ideas re cleantech were explored (pages 22-23).
In addition, C&EN (March 14, 2011 issue) reports that the Gates Foundation has funded Liquidia Technologies at $10M for vaccine development based on PRINT and nanomaterials technology. The same issue reports use of nanodiamonds to deliver drugs to tumor cells. The latest updates about ARPA-E and the present hot political debates over science funding are also featured. etc etc. I could go on.
Many of these developments were featured at the NNI at Ten conference in December. The impact of nanotech on society may be seemingly quiet, but nanotech is changing things, slowing but surely.
We are pleased to see exciting research and commercialization like this discussed in widely read media, assembled together with larger policy issues. The key will be separating out commercialization from commercialization potential.