Nanotechnology magazine competition: you decide

Fortunately for us, Elsevier and the Institute of Nanotechnology — both based in Europe — are competing for eyeballs in the nanotechnology magazine race. This means they are letting us see their publications for free online, at least for now.

From the IoN we have the excitedly-named new monthly “NanoNOW!”, the first issue of which should be available here (pdf). This first issue has a very sexy front cover, with some kind of cyborg and the headline “We are the robots — the ethics of human performance enhancement”. However, this is from someone we’ve already heard from, Dr. Donald Bruce. He says:

Beyond a certain basic point of physical survival and necessity, what matters most to humans are not functional and material things but the relational, the creative and the spiritual. It is highly unlikely that technological tweaking will address what spoils and troubles people and societies, or make a big difference to what ultimately delights and satisfies us. For me, as a Christian, it largely misses the point. As Jesus put it, what does it profit someone if they gain the whole world but in the process they lose their soul?

True enough, but perhaps not as useful as it might be in helping us think about advanced nanomedicine applications. Maybe next time we could have a little debate between Dr. Bruce and an enhancement advocate in, say, Singapore.

Next is “Arise Sir Fraser Stoddart, Knight of the Nano Realm”, an unusually revealing interview with one of nanotech’s high achievers:

It is my sheer addiction to science, chemical science and the nanomachines we design, create, and bring through to some potentially practical reality that drives me forward relentlessly.

And in the other corner — From Elsevier, and mentioned here previously, we have “Nano Today”, now available in electronic form. A free issue, February 2007, should be available here. Compared to NanoNOW!, this issue has more technical meat. The upcoming issue has articles by two of our favorite researchers, Thomas LaBean and Vincenzo Balzani, both of whom are interested in molecular machinery.

So based on this quick comparison, I’d say NanoNOW! is more accessible and has more business content, and Nano Today is more technical. If you are strongly interested in nanotechnology, you may want to skim both on a regular basis. And don’t forget Small Times here in the U.S. as well, for an industry slant. And Nanotech Briefs, on the Editorial Advisory Board of which I am honored to serve. —Christine

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