Nanoscientists Do Damage Control

When Michael Crichton’s wrote Jurassic Park, a novel about bringing dinosaurs back via cloning, biologists and paleontologists were thrilled at the positive exposure it provided for their field. But as told in this Globe & Mail story, nanoscientists are worried that with Crichton’s latest novel Prey, which deals with self-assembling, self-reproducing, self-sustaining molecules programmed as predators that escape from their lab, the exact opposite will be true–so worried, in fact, that nanoscientists from the American Association of Science are preparing a press statement to explain how the book should be interpreted.

“We have to take this seriously,” says German physicist Wolfgang Heckl. “If enough senators in the U.S. get phone calls from their constituents saying, ‘I just read Prey and I’m scared,’ it could have a real impact on our funding. Nanoscience is just in its infancy. We can’t afford to be cut off.”