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"Legal Problems of Nanotechnology: An Overview"

by Frederick A. Fiedler and Glenn Reynolds,

Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal, Volume 3, Number 2, pp. 593-629.

This law article is the first substantive discussion of legal issues in nanotechnology to appear in a law journal. Feidler and Reynolds break new ground exploring both the modest and the more extreme applications of nanotechnology, particularly to medicine.

The article discusses both positive and negative applications, and both the benefits and risks of regulation. This last point - the risks of regulation - is made vivid through the example of the unexpected effects of "the British Explosives Act of 1875, which forbade all private rocketry experimentation," and which "caused British rocketry enthusiasts to fall behind others - like American Robert Goddard and the German Wernher von Braun - with dramatic results."

Includes a clear layman's explanation of nanotechnology. This article is understandable for those outside the legal profession as well as those within.

- Chris Peterson, foresight@foresight.org