Program Manager for Education and Outreach
IITRI Inc, Contract Staff
National Nanotechnology Coordination Office
Self-replicating, sentient, consuming, or creating, nanobots are a popular tool in science fiction to explain fantastical abilities or threats worse than death. But what is the reality?
What is a nanobot? What might they be able to do? Scientists and engineers can’t even agree on a definition for a nanobot–does the entire robot need to fit at the nanoscale or does it just have nanoscale components? Does that make your smart phone a nanobot? Artistic renditions of nanobots feed into ideas of spidery machines patrolling (or, perhaps, controlling) our bodies. Some scientists envision nanobots safeguarding our environment, removing pollutants, and monitoring exposure. Others are trying to harness nature’s nanobots and use viruses to do our bidding. The hype around nanobots and the natural inclination to assign them agency can lead to outlandish ideas about what nanotechnology will be capable of delivering, but does it hurt to dream of manufactured nanobots?
Quinn Spadola is a biophysicist who discovered her love of science education and outreach while completing her PhD. After receiving her doctorate, Dr.
Spadola entered the Science and Natural History Filmmaking program at Montana State University. She was an AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow in the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office from 2014 to 2016 and joined the contract staff in September 2016. There she works to build community around the National Nanotechnology Initiative, create engaging nanotechnology-themed content, and share the awesomeness of nanotechnology.
Saturday, November 12, 2016, 1:30 pm
Location: National Science Foundation, Room 110 4201 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA (Ballston-MU Metro stop). Enter NSF from the corner of 9th St. N & N Stuart Streets. www.nsf.gov/about/visit