Nanotechnology and the public: Effectively communicating nanoscale science and engineering concepts
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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.
Keywordsnanotechnology communication public knowledge public understanding communicating research societal dimensions
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We are grateful to the National Science Foundation through the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) on Nanostructured Interfaces (DMR-0079983 and DMR-0520527) and through the Internships in Public Science Education (IPSE) program (DMR-0120897). Both programs are at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
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