Low public awareness of nanotechnology is cause for concern.

Many Americans know little to nothing about nanotechnology, new research shows. The consequences of that ignorance could create big problems for the rapidly growing technology.

Just 6% of Americans say they have "heard a lot" about nanotechnology, according to a recent telephone poll commissioned by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Fully 42%, by contrast, have heard "nothing at all" and another 29% report having heard "just a little."

How much have you heard about nanotechnology?
Who cares, you ask, whether public knowledge is keeping pace with growth in this arena? Nano enthusiasts had better and here's why, according to David Rejeski, director of the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies. "This increases the danger that the slightest bump -- even a false alarm about safety or health -- could undermine public confidence, engender consumer mistrust, and as a result, damage the future of nanotechnology before the most exciting applications are realized," he says.

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