Preface

The rapid growth of nanoscience and nanotechnology is a global and widely acknowledged phenomenon. In Europe and the United States in particular, the rapid increase in both public and private investment in nono-scale science and technology has been accompanied by statements recognizing the need to steer the process in a democratic fashion and to secure broad public acceptance. The international controversy over genetically engineered crops and livestock is often mentioned in this connection. Commentators from industry, government and public interest organizations alike pledge to "learn the lessons," from the successes and failures of scientists, regulators and companies who developed the technology that came to be popularly known as "genetically modified organisms," or GMOs.

But what were those lessons? This volume is the result of a systematically planned research activity designed to answer that question. To that end, the editors and several colleagues at Michigan State University undertook a three year process to survey literature on the GMO controversy, contact a number of authors who had made distinguished contributions to that literature, and to bring them together in a workshop setting with others who were undertaking both technical applications in nano-scale science and engineering as well as schlorship on the processes of governance and public acceptance of nanotechnology. This volume is the end product of that research, consisting of reflective and critical essays written by just a few of the participants in this iterative interdisciplinary research project. We owe an enormous debt to all of those who participated in our workshop, as well as to all the members of Michigan State Agrifood Nanotechnology Research Team responsible for planning and conducting the research. Research assistants for the project were especially important in actually making the nuts and bolts of the conference and workshop work. These names are listed in the acknowledgments and in appendices to the volume.

We would like, however, to make special note of the career contribution that Dr. Rachelle Hollander has made to research on the social and ethical issues in science and engineering. Her important research contributions speak for themselves. What may be less evident to outsiders is the continuing role that she played at the National Science Foundation in finding an institutional home for this work, not to mention dollars to support it. Her last assignment at NSF before entering what we hope will be a well earned but still productive retirement was to help lay the foundations for the program in Social and Ethical Issues in Nanotechnology component of the National Nanotech-nology Initiative. Without that work, this volume would truly have been impossible. It is to Rachelle that this book is dedicated.

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