Journal of Nanoparticle Research

, Volume 4, Issue 6, pp 561–570 | Cite as

Public Attitudes Toward Nanotechnology

  • William Sims Bainbridge


Data from 3909 respondents to an Internet survey questionnaire provide the first insights into public perceptions of nanotechnology. Quantitative analysis of statistics about agreement and disagreement with two statements, one positive and the other negative, reveals high levels of enthusiasm for the potential benefits of nanotechnology and little concern about possible dangers. The respondents mentally connect nanotechnology with the space program, nuclear power, and cloning research, but rate it more favorably. In contrast, they do not associate nanotechnology with pseudoscience, despite its imaginative exploitation by science fiction writers. Qualitative analysis of written comments from 598 respondents indicates that many ideas about the value of nanotechnology have entered popular culture, and it provides material for an additional 108 questionnaire items that can be used in future surveys on the topic. The findings of this exploratory study can serve as benchmarks against which to compare results of future research on the evolving status of nanotechnology in society.

nanotechnology nanoscience sociology public opinion Internet questionnaire survey 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • William Sims Bainbridge
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Information and Intelligent SystemsNational Science FoundationArlingtonUSA

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