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Philosophy professor publishes book on nanoethics

March 25, 2010

KALAMAZOO--A Western Michigan University professor has written a new book that engages the rising tide of interest and concern over nanotechnology.

"What Is Nanotechnology and Why Does it Matter? From Science to Ethics" was co-written by Dr. Fritz Allhoff and published in early March by Wiley-Blackwell. It is one of the first monographs to be written by experts from both the technical and nontechnical sides of the field, thereby offering a complete, as well as cohesive look at the issues.

Nanotechnology, or nanotech for short, is the study of controlling matter on an atomic and molecular scale. The new technology has great potential, but raises ethical questions, such as its possible use to improve the capabilities of the human body.

Allhoff wrote the book with Dr. Patrick Lin, assistant professor of philosophy at California Polytechnic State University, and Dr. Daniel Moore, an IBM nanoscientist trained at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Allhoff and Lin are cofounders of The Nanoethics Group and co-editors of two anthologies in nanoethics, while Moore is an advisory board member of the organization.

"We're excited about this book, because it fills a gap in the field of nanotechnology and society," Allhoff explains. "While anthologies offer a wide range of expert perspectives, they can feel disjointed. Our new monograph provides a consistent tone and running narrative to better explain both the science and ethical impacts of nanotechnology, making this difficult but important subject easier to understand."

Dr. Eric Drexler, considered by many to be the "father of nanotechnology" with his seminal 1986 book "Engines of Creation," called the new book "a broad and balanced examination of the nature of nanotechnology, how it is unfolding, and how these developments will affect issues of global concern."

For more information, visit Wiley-Blackwell online or contact Dr. Fritz Allhoff at fritz.allhoff@wmich.edu.

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Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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