Ethics of Nanotechnology -Home



Please click the speaker's name for a video of their original commissioned presentations. A compilation of these papers is available in the:

Nanoethics Special Edition Monograph




Jürgen Altmann is a professor of experimental physics at the University of Dortmund, Germany (Habilitation). He is a co-founder of the German Research Association for Science, Disarma­ment and International Security (FONAS) and a deputy speaker of the Working Group on Physics and Disarmament of the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG, the learned society of physicists in Germany). He also founded the Bochum Verification Project (Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany) which does research into the potential of automatic sensor systems for co-operative verifica­tion of disarmament and peace agreements. Dr. Altmann studies military uses of microsystems technologies and of nanotechnology, with a view towards pre­ventive arms control. Recent projects have analyzed potential new technologies for non-lethal weapons, and uninhabited military systems. He teaches about the relationship of natural science, armament and disarmament and has co-authored a corresponding text book for students of peace and conflict research.



Davis Baird is dean of the South Carolina Honors College and a founding member of the Nanoscience and Technology Studies Group at the University of South Carolina NanoCenter. He received his PhD (1981) from Stanford University’s Program in Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Language and Logic. In addition, he has an MA (1981) from Stanford and a BA (1976) from Brandeis University. His research has focused on the history and philosophy of scientific instruments, those developed for analytical chemistry during the 20th century, and more recently the instruments that make nanotechnology possible. He is the principle investigator of a funded interdisciplinary research effort focused on the societal and ethical interactions of nanotechnology. This effort involves a team of 20 researchers from 10 departments across six colleges at USC, working in cooperation USC’s NanoCenter.



David M. Berube is a professor of communication at North Carolina State University where he teaches courses in rhetoric of science and technology, risk communication, legal communication, environmental communication, and argumentation. He is also the coordinator of the Public Communication of Science and Technology Project. Dr. Berube’s current research focuses on science communication and he has been the principle investigator or co-principle investigator for over $5 million in federal National Science Foundation grants to study risk communication and emerging technologies. In 2006, he published “Nano-Hype: The Truth About the Nanotechnology Buzz” and maintains a blog on nanohype. He has spoken at national and international conferences on nanoscience, emerging technologies, and toxicology and published over a dozen articles and chapters on risk perception and the public sphere. He is on the steering committee for the International Council on Nanotechnology.



Taft Broome is a professor of civil engineering at Howard University. Dr. Broome’s research interests include the study of continuous and dynamical systems. During his 29-year career at Howard, he has served as both department chair and chair of the University Senate. In 1985, he received his M.S. in science, technology, and society from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and now teaches and writes on issues of engineering ethics and philosophy in addition to courses on civil engineering. He has served in leadership positions in major national organizations including AAAS, ASEE, and the National Association for Science, Technology, and Society.



Nigel M. de S. Cameron is president of the Center for Policy on Emerging Technologies ( in Washington, DC, and a Research Professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology where he was formerly founding director of the Center on Nanotechnology and Society, and an Associate Dean at Chicago-Kent College of Law. His books include Nanoscale: Issues and Perspectives for the Nano Century (ed. with M. Ellen Mitchell, John Wiley 2007). He has been a visiting scholar at UBS Wolfsberg in Switzerland, a featured speaker at the Aspen Ideas Festival, and a participant in the US/European Commission dialogue on Perspectives on the Future of Science and Technology. He has also represented the United States as bioethics advisor on US delegations to the United Nations, and is a member of the United States National Commission for UNESCO. A native of the United Kingdom, he has studied at Cambridge and Edinburgh universities and the Edinburgh Business School.



David H. Guston is a Professor of Political Science and Co-Director of the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes at Arizona State University.  He is Principal Investigator and Director of the Center for Nanotechnology in Society (CNS) at ASU.  CNS-ASU is a National Science Foundation-funded Nano-scale Science and Engineering Center (NSF # 0531194; $6.2M over five years) dedicated to studying the societal implications of nanoscale science and engineering research and improving the societal outcomes of nanotechnologies through enhancing the societal capacity to understand and make informed choices.



Barbara Herr Harthorn Principal Investigator and Director of the CNS, is also Associate Professor of Feminist Studies, Anthropology, and Sociology at UCSB. In the CNS-UCSB she leads Interdisciplinary Research Group 3, which focuses on public, expert and media views on nanotechnologies' risks. She also serves on the Executive Committee of the new NSF/EPA UC Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (UC CEIN). In the UC CEIN she leads Interdisciplinary Research Group 7, which conducts research on nanomaterials and Environmental Risk Perception. Her research broadly examines culture and health, health inequality, and technological risk and perception; in particular she is studying the intersections of socially constructed risk with gender, ethnicity/race, and other categories of difference. Her current work in the CNS-UCSB examines nanotechnological risk perception among both experts and diverse US and comparative UK publics. Her work is published in a variety of social science, medical care, public health, environmental science and technology, technology and society, and nanoscience journals. She is editor (with Laury Oaks) of Risk, Culture, and Health Inequality: Shifting Perceptions of Danger and Blame (2003). She received a doctorate in medical anthropology and transcultural psychiatry from UCLA and a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Bryn Mawr College; she completed postdoctoral research in social psychology at UCSB.



Douglas Kysar is a professor of Law at Yale University where he teaches and writes in the areas of tort law, products liability, risk regulation, environmental law, and sustainable development.  He has published widely on competing policymaking paradigms for the regulation of nascent technologies, examining in particular certain underappreciated moral and political assumptions that underlay invocation of cost-benefit analysis and the precautionary principle within environmental policymaking contexts.  He has recently completed a book-length treatment of these subjects, Regulating from Nowhere:  Environmental Law and the Search for Objectivity (forthcoming, Yale University Press).  From 2006 to 2008, Professor Kysar served as Societal and Ethical Issues Coordinator for the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network.



Marjorie Olmstead is professor of physics and adjunct professor of chemistry at the University of Washington, where she also directs the interdisciplinary Nanotechnology Ph.D. Program.  She is principal investigator of the NSF/NCI funded IGERT: Building Leadership for the Nanotechnology Workforce of Tomorrow and is working to expand educational opportunities in nanoscale science and technology at the graduate and undergraduate level.  She currently serves on the Leadership Team of the UW ADVANCE program and on UW’s Faculty Council on Women in Academia.



Joachim Schummer is an independent scholar and consultant based in Berlin, Germany. He graduated both in chemistry (1990) and in philosophy (1991) and received his Ph.D. (1994) and Habilitation (second doctorate, 2002) in philosophy from the University of Karlsruhe. From 1991 to 2008 he had a number of academic appointments around the world, including at the University of Karlsruhe, University of South Carolina, Technical University of Darmstadt, Australian National University, and the University of Sofia. Dr. Schummer’s research focuses on the history, philosophy, sociology, and ethics of science and technology, with particular emphasis on the chemical sciences and, since 2002, on nanotechnology and emerging technologies. By developing a critical and reflexive understanding and assessment of science and technology in society, his research does not only aim at a better understanding of the science-society relationship, but also at improving technological developments for the benefit of both science and society. His research has been funded by numerous grants and awards, including from the US National Science Foundation (NSF), German Science Foundation (DFG), European Commission (EC), and Bulgarian Science Fund (BSF).



Cynthia Winston is an Associate Professor in the Howard University Department of Psychology, as well as Principal and founder of Winston Synergy L.L.C., a psychology and research consulting firm.  In addition, she is Principal Investigator of the Identity and Success Research Laboratory and Associate Director of the Center for High Performance Computing in the Department of Electrical and Computing Engineering. Dr. Winston has received several awards including the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Professor Fellowship from Brown University, the Emerging Scholar Award from the Howard University Faculty Senate, the Howard University Syllabus of the Year Award, and the National Science Foundation Early CAREER Award.  Dr. Winston’s professional career is devoted to psychology and engineering education research that pursues questions about identity, as well as the psychology of success within lives and racialized societies.  She also has a special interest and expertise in mixed methods research design and narrative data analysis.  Dr. Winston is the former Director of Educational, Fellowship, and Internship Programs at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF), and Program Director for the NSF Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) at Howard University.  She earned her Ph.D. in Psychology and Education from the University of Michigan and B.S from Howard University in Psychology.