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First Year Students Perceptions Of The Societal And Ethical Implications Of Nanotechnology

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Conference

2010 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Contemporary Issues in Engineering Ethics

Tagged Division

Engineering Ethics

Page Count

11

Page Numbers

15.591.1 - 15.591.11

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/16468

Download Count

21

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Paper Authors

biography

Alejandra J. Magana Purdue University, West Lafayette

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ALEJANDRA J. MAGANA is Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Network for Computational Nanotechnology and the School of Engineering Education, at Purdue University West Lafayette. Alejandra's research interests center on how scientists and engineers reason with computing and computational thinking to understand complex phenomena. She is also interested in investigating how scientists and engineers perceive and experience the societal and ethical implications of nanotechnology. Based on her findings her goal is to identify and develop the necessary instructional changes to provide educational frameworks for educators of formal and informal learning environments.

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biography

Donna Riley Smith College

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DONNA RILEY is Associate Professor in the Picker Engineering Program at Smith College. Her engineering research interests lie in the areas of human factors and exposure assessment. Her engineering education research focuses on implementing and assessing pedagogies of liberation in the engineering classroom.

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

First-year Students’ Perceptions of the Societal and Ethical Implications of Nanotechnology

Abstract

Nanotechnology has established itself as an important new scientific discipline with an extraordinary number of potential applications. Consequently, researchers and policy makers have identified a need for well-trained scientists, engineers, and technicians in nanotechnology and its ethical, legal and societal implications. This project builds on this consensus that workforce training and education must include, in addition to technical training, education on the ethical, legal, and societal implications of nanotechnology in the core courses so that future professionals and scientists will be able to shape the direction of nanotechnology policy. As an initial step, this pilot project sought to characterize the current level of awareness of the societal and ethical implications of nanotechnology among first-year engineering students. This project also proposes an educational approach for including the education of the societal and ethical implications of nanotechnology in engineering courses. Engineering students that encounter nanotechnology education across science, technology, social sciences and humanities may be better equipped to participate in debates about how societies ought to be transformed.

Introduction

Nanotechnology has established itself as an important new scientific discipline with an extraordinary number of potential applications. Consequently, researchers and policy makers have identified a need for well-trained scientists, engineers, and technicians in nanotechnology. However, there is an equally urgent need for expert training and research in the ethical, legal, 1 and societal implications of nanotechnology (Roco and Bainbridge 2001) . The National Science and Technology Council (2000) 2 proposed two components for promoting a new generation of skilled workers for the rapid progress in nanotechnology: a) awareness of ethical, legal, societal implications and b) workforce education and training efforts. Similarly, Roco (2003) 3 argued that nanotechnology success is determined by an interaction of different factors such as training of students in nanoscale science and engineering, legal aspects, and state and federal policies among others (Roco, 2003, p.181) 3 . This project builds on this consensus that workforce training and education must include, in addition to technical training, education on the ethical, legal, and societal implications of nanotechnology in the core courses so that future professionals and scientists will be able to shape the direction of nanotechnology policy.

What are the Societal and Ethical Implications of Nanotechnology?

According to Roco (2004) 4 , societal implications were addressed from the start of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). It began with the first research and education program on environmental and societal implications, issued by NSF in July 2000. In 2004 The United States Congress refined the details of a nanotechnology Research and Development Act and called for a focus on the societal and ethical implications of nanotechnology (Gorman, Groves, and Catalano

Magana, A. J., & Riley, D. (2010, June), First Year Students Perceptions Of The Societal And Ethical Implications Of Nanotechnology Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/16468

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