Ethics in Nano Education, but First the Ethics of Nano Education

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Discussions of the ethics or societal implications of nanotechnology almost always focus on products (and occasionally manufacturing or experimental processes) which are nano-enabled and/or contain nanomaterials. These discussions are important, but they miss that (literally) the most visible part of nanotechnology involves the reorganization of education at all levels but especially in universities, museums, and community colleges. In general, institutions which have “nano” in their names have spent the 21st century advocating for more interdisciplinary, market-oriented, hands-on, publicly engaged forms of education. Both the benefits and the costs of these educational innovations should be at the center of discussions of the societal implications of nanotechnology. Education is the means by which cultures reproduce themselves; thus education is always sensitive and frequently contested. In this paper I survey the long history of activism and political debate which informs the educational innovations associated with nanotechnology, including the innovation of bringing ethics training into nano education. I argue that ethics does belong in nano education, but to understand why we first need to analyze the ethics of nano education.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2018 IEEE 13th Nanotechnology Materials and Devices Conference
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-5386-1016-9
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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