Live webcast on public views of nanotechnology

Tune in to the live webcast from the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies at Woodrow Wilson Center on Sept. 19, 2006 — either TODAY or TOMORROW for most readers — at 12:30 PM Eastern time (9:30 AM Pacific): “Public Awareness of Nanotechnology: What do Americans know? Who do they trust? Major Poll Findings to be Released“.

Always a scary topic — to ask what Americans know — but the Wilson Center nanotech folks have done a new study to find out:

How many Americans are aware of nanotechnology, the emerging science which experts argue will enable a new industrial revolution?…Does the American public feel that the benefits of nanotechnology will outweigh the potential risks?

These questions were part of a representative national telephone survey of 1,014 adults conducted in August 2006, the first poll on nanotechnology awareness in two years…Results from the national awareness and trust barometer poll—as well as two complementary focus groups of adult women—will be released on Tuesday, September 19th at 12:30 p.m. at a program to be held in the 5th floor conference room of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

If you happen to be in DC, you can RSVP and show up in person. Or come early for the (presumably no-fee) lunch. But always remember, there is no such thing as a truly free lunch.

I hope they will include the specific wording used in the questions, their definition of “representative”, and the selection process for focus group participants. Frequent readers of Nanodot know we here are increasingly skeptical of how public participation activities are being conducted. But we expect the highest standards from the Wilson Center—their publication The Wilson Quarterly is required reading.. —Christine

UPDATE: Yahoo has jumped the gun and posted the embargoed press release summarizing the results. It gives a higher percentage of people who think risks outweigh benefits than the reverse. Now I really want to see how they asked the questions, as this is different from previous polls.

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