Nanotechnology bill takes steps to ensure safety
The May 20 editorial, "Safeguards on nanotech," mischaracterized
the legislation (H.R. 5940) approved May 7 by the House Science and
This bill amends certain aspects of the National Nanotechnology
Initiative (NNI), the federal multiagency research and development
program authorized in 2003. It does not actually authorize funding
for any part of the NNI and certainly does not reduce the level of
funding authorized for environmental, health, and safety (EHS)
On the contrary, the bill assigns responsibility to a senior
White House official to ensure that a detailed implementation plan
for EHS research is developed and executed.
The bill will strengthen and provide transparency to the federal
research effort to understand the potential risks of nanotechnology.
Rep. Bart Gordon Washington
Chairman, House Committee on Science and Technology How to
improve science's kid-appeal
In response to the May 16 article, "Can competitions raise 'cool'
factor of math, science?": As this story observed, many students are
still not drawn to the existing math and science options.
There are more than 6 million children in after-school programs
in the United States (and 15 million more would participate if a
program were available, according to the Afterschool Alliance). Only
a tiny fraction of this population sees math and science as
something they could be doing outside of the classroom. Meanwhile,
evidence suggests that students have to be interested in science and
math (not just good at it) if they are going to pursue it, and that
interest is often linked to knowing someone like them who does
science as a career.
There are many exemplary programs connecting young people to
science and technology. I encourage your readers to support their
local after-school programs and science centers in bringing fun
science not just to competition winners but to all the students who
we will need as future science and engineering workers.
Jason Freeman Berkeley, Calif.
Director, Coalition for Science After School In response to the
May 16 article about using science and math competitions to lure
more students into these fields: A name change would go a long way.
"Science Fair" is probably not going to pique the average teenager's
interest, but "Science Smackdown" just might.
Additionally, prizes provided should be relevant to the typical