Davis to discuss ethical issues in nanotechnology

Published: Mar 20, 2007 9:21:51 AM
Media Contact: Cheryl Cobb, cobbche@auburn.edu, 334.844.2220

Davis Baird, dean of the honors college at the University of South Carolina and director of the nanoscience and technology studies group in the USC NanoCenter, will be discussing the ethical and societal issues of nanotechnology on Tuesday, March 20 at 3:30pm in Haley Center 2370. The university community is invited to attend.

His lecture will cover an introduction to nanotechnology - what it is, why it is interesting, and what types of products have and have the potential to come from nanotechnology. Baird will discuss some of the difficulties of understanding images of the nanoscale and will include a survey of the issues raised by nanoscience, including environmental health and safety issues, equity issues, privacy issues, legal issues and concerns about the rate of technological change.

Baird's research currently focuses on the history and philosophy of scientific instruments, most recently the instruments that make nanotechnology possible. Baird's father, Walter Baird, was co-founder of one of the early developers of spectrographic instrumentation, Baird Associates. Baird leads a National Science Foundation funded interdisciplinary team of 20 researchers from 10 departments at USC, on the societal and ethical interactions of nanotechnology. He is the author of Thing Knowledge: A Philosophy of Scientific Instruments - winner of the 2006 Paul Bunge Prize, and Inductive Logic: Inferring the Unknown. He is also co-editor of Discovering the Nanoscale and two collections published in the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science series: Heinrich Hertz: Classical Physicist, Modern Philosopher and Philosophy of Chemistry: Synthesis of a New Discipline. He is the editor of Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology, Journal of the Society for Philosophy and Technology. Baird received his doctorate from Stanford University Program in Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Language and Logic. In addition, he has a master's degree from Stanford and a bachelor's degree from Brandeis University.