April 04, 2007

Wyden, Burr, Gordon, Hall Kick OffCongressional Nanotechnology Caucus

Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Richard Burr (R-NC) and U.S. Reps. Bart Gordon (D-TN) and Ralph Hall (R-TX) today kicked off a new year for the Congressional Nanotechnology Caucus by announcing a lecture series for congressional staffers designed to educate them about the enormous potential that nanotechnology holds and the challenges that must be overcome to fully realize that promise.

Nanotechnology allows the creation of new products and processes through the manipulation of individual atoms. Nanotechnology is expected to have a significant impact on the future of many fields, including information technology, homeland security, medicine, and energy production and distribution. Indeed, estimates of the potential annual global market for products that apply nanotechnology exceed $2 trillion by 2014, and projections indicate that two million workers are likely to be needed to support nanotechnology industries worldwide.

"Too many folks still don't know what nanotechnology is," Wyden said. "These Congressional Nanotechnology Caucus briefings will help ensure that Members of Congress and Hill staff recognize the huge possibilities that nanotechnology presents in so many fields and that nanotechnology can help drive the U.S. economy into the 21st century."

"Nanotechnology in an important part of the emerging economy," Burr said. "I believe it is important for communities to support research and development of nanotech advancements and government should be a friend to economic growth and more jobs, not an obstacle. Nanotech will have a very real practical effect on our health care system, the way we do business and how we live."

"In just twenty years, nanotechnology has grown into a multibillion dollar industry successfully addressing technological challenges in materials, medicine and electronics. It is a great success story, and it presents many opportunities. To stay competitive in nanotech, the U.S. needs to invest in an infrastructure that facilitates innovation and commercialization," said Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN), Chairman, House Committee on Science and Technology. "We've also got to improve math and science education so that our young people are prepared to become the next generation of nanotechnologists. Nanotech growth isn't without its challenges, but if we manage those challenges wisely, the resulting products could be groundbreaking."

"These tiny particles are going to revolutionize so many industries, yet many policymakers don't know enough about the potential benefits and implications of nanotechnology," Hall said. "I'm pleased to be a part of this Caucus and look forward to hearing from the diverse group of speakers in the upcoming lecture series."

The purpose of the Nanotechnology Caucus is to promote nanotechnology, educate policy makers about this emerging area, and facilitate communications between industrial and academic researchers and the Hill.

To that end, the Caucus' co-chairs will be hosting a series of brown bag lunches over the next year designed Speakers drawn from government, industry and academia will help provide congressional staff with a solid understanding of this exciting and dynamic field.

Topics will include:

  • Nanotechnology: Introduction and Overview.

  • Nanotechnology and Medicine.

  • Nanotechnology and Energy.

  • Nanotechnology, Electronics and Photonics

  • Nanotechnology and Security.

  • Nanotechnology and the Environment.

  • Nanotechnology and Environment, Health, and Safety Issues

  • Nanotechnology and Commercialization.

  • Nanotechnology and International Competition.