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Center for Nanotechnology in Society at ASU

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NSEC: Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University  (Arizona State University)

Research Focus & Anticipated Benefits

The Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University (CNS-ASU) is a Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center (NSEC) sponsored by the National Science Foundation. NSECs address complex, interdisciplinary challenges in nanoscale science and engineering, and integrate research with education internally and through a variety of partnership activities.

Nanotechnology is expected by many to create "the next industrial revolution." Whether or not its social consequences are that profound, they will be wide-reaching. The 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act, signed into law in 2003, mandates "integrating research on societal, ethical and environmental concerns with nanotechnology research and development” to ensure that nanoscale science and engineering advances "bring about improvements in quality of life for all Americans." CNS-ASU responds to this directive by building a new capability, in the United States and globally, for understanding and governing the transforming power of nanotechnology - what is known as "anticipatory governance."

Education & Outreach

CNS-ASU is involved in extensive formal and informal educational activities. Many of these activities are tightly integrated with research and outreach activities, and most maintain as their central focus the building of broader societal capacity for anticipatory governance. These activities include the development of a comprehensive graduate program and new undergraduate courses such as “Perspectives on Nanotechnology.” On the K-12 level, CNS-ASU has created a first-of-its-kind course for teachers, providing them with research experiences and helping them develop curricular materials for their own classrooms on societal aspects of nanotechnologies. CNS-ASU also sponsors Science Café, a monthly public event during the academic year, at the Arizona Science Center.

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