Article

Journal of Nanoparticle Research

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 183-189

Nanotechnology and the public: Effectively communicating nanoscale science and engineering concepts

  • O. M. CastelliniAffiliated withMaterials Research Science and Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison Email author 
  • , G. K. WalejkoAffiliated withMaterials Research Science and Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • , C. E. HolladayAffiliated withMaterials Research Science and Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • , T. J. TheimAffiliated withMaterials Research Science and Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • , G. M. ZennerAffiliated withMaterials Research Science and Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • , W. C. CroneAffiliated withMaterials Research Science and Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin-MadisonDepartment of Engineering Physics, University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Abstract

Researchers are faced with challenges when addressing the public on concepts and applications associated with nanotechnology. The goal of our work was to understand the public’s knowledge of nanotechnology in order to identify appropriate starting points for dialog. Survey results showed that people lack true understanding of concepts associated with atoms and the size of the nanoscale regime. Such gaps in understanding lead to a disappointing lack of communication between researchers and the public concerning fundamental concepts in nanoscale science and engineering. Strategies are offered on how scientists should present their research when engaging the public on nanotechnology topics.

Keywords

nanotechnology communication public knowledge public understanding communicating research societal dimensions