Laboratory Engagements: Risky Discourse and Research Decisions

author: Erik Fisher, Center for Nanotechnology in Society, Arizona State University
.administrator: Michelle Sagan Gonçalves, University of Massachusetts Amherst
published: Feb. 25, 2009,   recorded: October 2008,   views: 2745

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This presentation describes semi-structured interactions between social scientists and nanoscale researchers in and around the laboratory that are based on an approach termed midstream modulation. Contrary to initial skepticism on the part of nanoscale scientists, the interactions came to be seen as valuable both from the standpoint of responsible innovation and also in terms of the research process itself.

Erik Fisher is Assistant Research Professor, Center for Nanotechnology in Society and Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes. Fisher joins CNS-ASU from the University of Colorado's Center for Science and Technology Policy Research. In the summer of 2006, a CNS-ASU fellowship allowed him to spend several weeks in the Netherlands, comparing international studies of nanotechnology in society. His Ph.D research included both macro- and micro-level analysis of the integration of societal considerations into R&D. He conducted ethnographic-style research in a nanoscale engineering laboratory to investigate the possibility and utility of implementing key provisions of federal nanotechnology legislation. Fisher's research has been published in Science and Public Policy, Technology in Society, and Philosophy Today. He holds a graduate certificate in Science and Technology Policy, an MA in Classics, and a BA in Philosophy and Mathematics

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