Midstream modulation of nanotechnology research in an academic laboratory

E. Fisher, R. L. Mahajan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

No clear implementation methods exist for US legislation on integrating societal considerations into nanotechnology research and development. An empirical study was thus undertaken to investigate the possibility and utility of "socio-technical integration" during nanoscale engineering research in an academic setting. For twelve weeks, an "embedded humanist" interacted with three graduate engineering researchers to identify and assess opportunities for influencing research decisions in accordance with societal concerns. The study focused not on the nature of societal concerns, but on the nature of engineering decisions, and on the potential capacity of researchers to perform integration by "modulating" their decisions. Engineering research decisions were found to be subject to societal influences, and researchers were found to become aware of the possibility of modulating their decisions accordingly. The interactions were not found to hamper research and were found to add value to research. No attempt was made to alter research decisions, only to stimulate awareness of the possibility of doing so. Still, one researcher did alter several decisions as a result of the study. Midstream modulation represents a promising approach for implementing US nanotechnology policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of 2006 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE2006 - Technology and Society
PublisherAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
ISBN (Print)0791837904, 9780791837900
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006
Externally publishedYes
Event2006 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE2006 - Chicago, IL, United States
Duration: Nov 5 2006Nov 10 2006

Publication series

NameAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers, Technology and Society Division (Publication) TS
ISSN (Print)1071-6947

Other

Other2006 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE2006
CountryUnited States
CityChicago, IL
Period11/5/0611/10/06

Keywords

  • Ethics
  • Midstream modulation
  • Nanotechnology
  • Policy
  • Reflection
  • Reflexivity
  • Socio-technical integration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering

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    Fisher, E., & Mahajan, R. L. (2006). Midstream modulation of nanotechnology research in an academic laboratory. In Proceedings of 2006 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE2006 - Technology and Society (American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Technology and Society Division (Publication) TS). American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).