Popularizing Nanoscience: The Public Rhetoric of Nanotechnology, 1986–1999

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Abstract

This study examines the representations of nanoscale science and technology in written popular media from 1986 to 1999. Nanoscale science is an emergent field that examines the principles of matter at a molecular level. This article presents the representations through which nanoscale science and technology was initially introduced to the public. Written popular media influences the ways stakeholder groups perceive, support, and fund science and technology. From 1986 to 1999 this field was introduced to the general public through articles in newspapers, magazines, and other general interest publications. During this period, nanoscale science and technology had a fragmented public image as proponents of various representations of the field competed for legitimacy. The study demonstrates that the emergence of nanoscience and technology in the popular media occurred as a competitive and transitional social–rhetorical process in which the new emerged within existing and established understandings of science but was mediated by biographical and other social accounts of the research.

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Authors

  • Brenton Faber

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