Not much about nanotechnology in particular in 2004's Science and Engineering Indicators, just released by the National Science Board. Where nanotechnology is being measured, though, is again through the prism of "public attitudes and understanding." Even this is already outdated by two years. 2002 and 2004 might belong to separate epochs in nanotime. Anyway, here's what they found a couple of years ago:
- In 2002, 89 percent of Americans said that solar energy would "improve our way of life in the next 20 years," 88 percent held that view about computers, 82 percent about telecommunications, and 73 percent about the Internet. Expectations were less positive for space exploration (67 percent), cell phones (59 percent), nanotechnology (52 percent), and nuclear power (48 percent). In Europe, the pattern was similar, although the proportion of positive responses never exceeded 80 percent for any technology. Telecommunications, computers, and solar energy all scored in the 70s in Europe; mobile phones and the Internet scored about 10 percentage points lower; and several technologies scored in the 50s, including space exploration, nanotechnology, and nuclear energy (at 27 percent, the lowest).