Nanotechnology: The story behind the headlines

December 07, 2006

WASHINGTON -- Little science is big news, or is it? Does the media tend to hype nanotechnology, or neglect it? Do newspaper headlines focus more on nanotechnology's risks than its benefits? How do journalists write stories on a technology about which most Americans know next to nothing and that is invisible to the human eye?

With governments, corporations and venture capitalists spending $9.6 billion annually on nanotechnology research and development, and with an estimated $2.6 trillion in global manufactured goods incorporating nanotechnology--or about 15% of total output--expected by 2014, there is a lot at stake in how these questions are answered.

The Woodrow Wilson Center's Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies will explore these questions at a program featuring The Washington Post's science and medical reporter Rick Weiss, and Leigh University professor Sharon M. Friedman. Mr. Weiss will talk about the challenges of writing about nanotechnology, especially in the face of scant popular understanding of the technology or its potential to change virtually every aspect of people's lives. Professor Friedman will report her findings from six years of tracking U.S. and U.K. newspaper and wire service coverage of nanotechnology risks, work she did in collaboration with Brenda P. Egolf of Lehigh University.

The event and live webcast will take place on Wednesday, December 13th at 10:00 a.m. in the 5th Floor Conference Room of the Woodrow Wilson Center (www.wilsoncenter.org/directions).

*** Webcast LIVE at http://www.wilsoncenter.org/nano ***

What:
Nanotechnology: The Story Behind the Headlines

Who: Rick Weiss, Medical and Science Reporter, The Washington Post
Sharon M. Friedman, Professor and Director of the Science & Environmental Writing Program, and Associate Dean, Lehigh University David Rejeski, Director, Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies

When: Wednesday, December 13th, 2006, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Where: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 5th Floor Conference Room. 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC
-end-
MEDIA ADVISORY
Sharon McCarter, Director of Outreach and CommunicationsDecember 7, 2006
Phone: (202) 691-4016
E-Mail: Sharon.mccarter@wilsoncenter.org

The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies was launched in 2005 by the Wilson Center and The Pew Charitable Trusts. It is dedicated to helping business, governments, and the public anticipate and manage the possible health and environmental implications of nanotechnology.

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars/Science and Technology Innovation Program

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