Social and Ethical Issues of Nanotechnology
Ethics and societal issues are an important component of nanotechnology and nanotechnology education. Students can engage in activities with their peers that challenge them with ethical dilemmas. Some ethical issues are unique to nanomaterials, due to their unusual properties and the immature state of nanotechnology development. The same properties that make nanomaterials so useful also lead to undesirable behaviours related to safety and environmental pollution. Students should also learn about the development of nanotechnology governance beginning in the late 20th century. This chapter briefly describes some of that history, nanomaterial safety, the societal impacts of nanotechnology, and activities that help students explore these ethical issues.