A world in (super-)miniature
Today, nanotechnology is regarded as a future technology. Its name comes from the Greek word “nanos”, which means “dwarf”. One nanometre equals one billionth of a metre and is therefore about 2,000 times thinner than a human hair. Because of the small dimensions involved, synthetically produced nanomaterials are acquiring new properties and functions.
Multifaceted range of applications
Nanotechnology can, for example, be used in cancer therapy. It also plays an increasingly important role in electronics and in the packaging industry. But the use of synthetic nanomaterials also raises questions. Are these new kinds of materials harmless to human beings and the environment?
Researchers go to great lengths to check questions of toxicology or environmental compatibility. But this evidence is not easy to obtain, and is therefore not universally available. Nevertheless, synthetic nanomaterials are already in use, sometimes without consumers knowing.
TA-SWISS identifies topics in the field of nanotechnology that could be socially controversial. This covers in particular the fields of medicine, nutrition and the environment. In public discussions, with participative methods and with recommendations from studies, TA-SWISS encourages the dialogue between science, industry and society.
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