Tag Archives: Society for the Study of Nanoscience and Emerging Technologies

S.NET 2013 call for proposals

The fifth annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Nanoscience and Emerging Technologies (S.NET) will be taking place Oct. 27 – 30, 2013 at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. The call for proposals was sent out yesterday, Mar. 5, 2013,

Proposals are now being solicited for the 2013 annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Nanoscience and Emerging Technologies (S.NET), to be held at Northeastern University, Boston, October 27-30. At this point we are open to all suggestions, ranging from standard papers, presentation, and posters to ideas for concurrent workshops, plenary sessions, and special roundtables.
Our theme for the 2013 meeting is Innovation, Responsibility, and Sustainable Development. Boston is a literal hub for innovation, and the theme fits in well with the region’s traditions and current strengths in a wide range of technologies. Moreover, as we have stressed from its origins, the Society seeks to advance critical reflection from various perspectives on developments in a broad range of new and emerging fields, including, but not limited to, nanoscale science and engineering, biotechnology, synthetic biology, cognitive science and geo-engineering.
Proposals can be submitted until May 1 via the S.NET Submission Portal. The Program Committee will assess all proposals and respond by June 15 [2013].

You can read the full call announcement here in a Mar. 2, 2013 posting on the Nanotechnology and Society Research Group (NSRG) blog. The NSRG is located at Northeastern University.

Zombies, brains, collapsing boundaries, and entanglements at the 4th annual S.NET conference

My proposal, Zombies, brains, collapsing boundaries, and entanglements, for the 4th annual S.NET (Society for the Study of Nanoscience and Emerging Technologies) conference was accepted. Mentioned in my Feb. 9, 2012 posting, the conference will be held at the University of Twente (Netherlands) from Oct. 22 – 25, 2012.

Here’s the abstract I provided,

The convergence between popular culture’s current fascination with zombies and their appetite for human brains (first established in the 1985 movie, Night of the Living Dead) and an extraordinarily high level of engagement in brain research by various medical and engineering groups around the world is no coincidence

Amongst other recent discoveries, the memristor (a concept from nanoelectronics) is collapsing the boundaries between humans and machines/robots and ushering in an age where humanistic discourse must grapple with cognitive entanglements.

Perceptible only at the level of molecular electronics (nanoelectronics), the memristor was a theoretical concept until 2008. Traditionally in electrical engineering, there are three circuit elements: resistors, inductors, and capacitors. The new circuit element, the memristor, was postulated in a paper by Dr. Leon Chua in 1971 to account for anomalies that had been experienced and described in the literature since the 1950s.

According to Chua’s theory and confirmed by the research team headed by R. Stanley Williams, the memristor remembers how much and when current has been flowing. The memristor is capable of an in-between state similar to certain brain states and this capacity lends itself to learning. As some have described it, the memristor is a synapse on a chip making neural computing a reality and/or the possibility of repairing brains stricken with neurological conditions. In other words, with post-human engineering exploiting discoveries such as the memristor we will have machines/robots that can learn and think and human brains that could incorporate machines.

As Jacques Derrida used the zombie to describe a state that this is neither life nor death as undecidable, the memristor can be described as an agent of transformation conferring robots with the ability to learn (a human trait) thereby rendering them as undecidable, i.e., neither machine nor life. Mirroring its transformative agency in robots, the memristor could also confer the human brain with machine/robot status and undecidability when used for repair or enhancement.

The memristor moves us past Jacques Derrida’s notion of undecidability as largely theoretical to a world where we confront this reality in a type of cognitive entanglement on a daily basis.

You can find the preliminary programme here.  My talk is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012 in one of the last sessions for the conference, 11 – 12:30 pm in the Tracing Transhuman Narratives strand.

I do see a few names I recognize, Wickson, Pat (Roy)  Mooney and Youtie. I believe Wickson is Fern Wickson from the University of Bergen last mentioned here in a Jul;y 7, 2010 posting about nature, nanotechnology, and metaphors. Pat Roy Mooney is from The ETC Group (an activist or civil society group) and was last mentioned here in my Oct. 7, 2011 posting), and I believe Youtie is Jan Youtie who wss mentioned in my March 29, 2012 posting about nanotechnology, economic impacts, and full life cycle assessments.

S.NET (Society for the Study of Nanoscience and Emerging Technologies) 2012 call for proposals

The conference (4th annual is upcoming in Oct. 2012) and the Society for the Study of Nanoscience and Emerging Technologies are more oriented to folks in the humanities and social sciences. I don’t think they preclude other participants but the topic areas for the conference (which reflects the society’s interests) will tend to appeal to those audiences.

Here’s the invitation to the conference from their home page,

S.NET invites contributions to the Fourth Annual meeting of The Society for the Study of Nanoscience and Emerging Technologies (S.NET), to be held at the University of Twente, the Netherlands, on October 22-25, 2012. The four-day conference will assemble scholars, practitioners and policy makers from around the world interested in the development and implications of emerging technologies.

There is an invitation for proposals (from the How to apply page),

Proposals will be accepted on the basis of a submitted abstract, which will be refereed. Abstracts must be between 250 and 400 words in length. Proposals for panel sessions should include a general introduction and abstracts of the separate contributions. All proposals should include the strand to which the abstract/panel session is submitted. If an abstract fits more strands, or does not fit the existing strands, simply note that in your submission.

Proposals should be submitted online before April 2, 2012. All submitters will be notified about the results of the review process by the end of May 2012.

Possible topics/themes include (from the Themes, Topics, and Conference Strands page),

Possible themes and topics have been organized into six ‘strands’. While applicants are asked to indicate the strand relevant to the topic of their paper, submissions dealing with themes or topics outside the present strands are also welcome.

1. R&D practices and the dynamics of new and emerging sciences and technologies

E.g. Research networks & collaborations, emerging research fields, practices of ‘doing’ nano or other emerging fields of science and technology, including historical and philosophical studies of these practices.

2. Innovation and the use of new and emerging sciences and technologies

E.g. Innovation networks and systems, commercialization, implications for industry structures, translation from lab to practice, application and use of nano-based products and other innovations, critical analyses of growth and consumption, including economic, social and cultural approaches of innovation processes

3. Governance of newly emerging sciences and technologies

E.g. Regulations, anticipatory governance practices, risk assessment, risk concerns, (constructive) TA , forms of public participation and engagement, including critical evaluation of forms of governance

4. Visions and cultural imaginaries of newly emerging sciences and technologies

E.g. Promises, expectations, visions, science fiction, imagination, socio-technical change, moral change, role of media, including assessments of such visions and analyses of their role in innovation processes.

5. Publics and their relations to newly emerging sciences and technologies

E.g. Science communication, risk communication, public engagement, participation and discourses on NEST, science museums, informal science learning initiatives, including critical evaluation of such initiatives and the notion of ‘publics’.

6. Politics and ethics of newly emerging sciences and technologies

E.g. Responsible innovation, (in)equality, equity, development, global and social distribution of benefits and risks, sustainability, ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ impacts of emerging technologies, including theoretical perspectives on NEST and global developments


S.NET encourages proposals for individual papers, posters, traditional panels, roundtable discussions and other innovative formats. All proposals for panels, roundtables and other formats, should clearly specify topic, order and timing of the different contributions.

The first conference was in Seattle in 2009.

S.NET 2011 annual meeting

S.NET is the Society for the Study of  Nanoscience and Emerging Technologies and members will be holding their 3rd annual meeting in Tempe, Arizona from the 7th to the 10th of November 2011 according to Dietram Scheufele’s Jan. 11, 2011 posting on his nanopublic blog (I can’t link directly to the posting but you can find it by scrolling down). From Dietram’s posting,

Invitation. S.NET invites contributions to the Third Annual Meeting of the The Society for the Study of Nanoscience and Emerging Technologies (S.NET) to be held in Tempe (Phoenix), Arizona. The workshop will engage diverse scholars, practitioners, and policy makers in the development and implications of emerging technologies.

About S.NET. S.NET is an international association that promotes intellectual exchange and critical inquiry about the advancement of nanoscience and emerging technologies in society. The aim of the association is to advance critical reflection on developments in a broad range of new and emerging fields of science and technology, including, but not limited to, nanoscale science and engineering, biotechnology, synthetic biology, cognitive science, and geoengineering.

Eligibility. S.NET includes diverse communities, viewpoints, and methodologies from across the social sciences and humanities, and welcomes contributions from scientists, engineers, and other practitioners.

To Apply. The program committee (see below) invites submissions from the full breadth of disciplines, methodologies, and epistemologies, as well as from applied, participatory, and practical approaches to studying these emerging fields and from different regional or comparative perspectives. Committed to diverse styles of communication, S.NET welcomes proposals for individual papers, posters, traditional panels, roundtable discussions, and other more innovative formats. In particular, the program committee encourages proposals for topics and formats that will encourage greater dialogue and interaction. Details of the submission process are available online at cns.ucsb.edu/snet2011. All proposals should be submitted online between 1 Feb and 1 March 2011.

Stipends. Travel stipends may be available for US graduate students, and post-doctoral scholars, and non-US participants from the Global South.

I mentioned the 2010 S.Net annual meeting in my Sept. 14, 2010 posting and briefly in my Nov. 8, 2010 posting. In both cases, you will have to scroll down to find the information as the meeting was not the main subject.

Reimagining prosthetic arms; touchable holograms and brief thoughts on multimodal science communication; and nanoscience conference in Seattle

Reimagining the prosthetic arm, an article by Cliff Kuang in Fast Company (here) highlights a student design project at New York’s School of Visual Arts. Students were asked to improve prosthetic arms and were given four categories: decorative, playful, utilitarian, and awareness. This one by Tonya Douraghey and Carli Pierce caught my fancy, after all, who hasn’t thought of growing wings? (Rrom the Fast Company website),

Feathered cuff and wing arm

Feathered cuff and wing arm

I suggest reading Kuang’s article before heading off to the project website to see more student projects.

At the end of yesterday’s posting about MICA and multidimensional data visualization in spaces with up to 12 dimensions (here)  in virtual worlds such as Second Life, I made a comment about multimodal discourse which is something I think will become increasingly important. I’m not sure I can imagine 12 dimensions but I don’t expect that our usual means of visualizing or understanding data are going to be sufficient for the task. Consequently, I’ve been noticing more projects which engage some of our other senses, notably touch. For example, the SIGGRAPH 2009 conference in New Orleans featured a hologram that you can touch. This is another article by Cliff Kuang in Fast Company, Holograms that you can touch and feel. For anyone unfamiliar with SIGGRAPH, the show has introduced a number of important innovations, notably, clickable icons. It’s hard to believe but there was a time when everything was done by keyboard.

My August newsletter from NISE Net (Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network) brings news of a conference in Seattle, WA at the Pacific Science Centre, Sept. 8 – 11, 2009. It will feature (from the NISE Net blog),

Members of the NISE Net Program group and faculty and students at the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University are teaming up to demonstrate and discuss potential collaborations between the social science community and the informal science education community at a conference of the Society for the Study of Nanoscience and Emerging Technologies in Seattle in early September.

There’s more at the NISE Net blog here including a link to the conference site. (I gather the Society for the Study of Nanoscience and Emerging Nanotechnologies is in its very early stages of organizing so this is a fairly informal call for registrants.)

The NISE Net nano haiku this month is,

Surface plasmon resonance
Silver looks yellow
by Dr. Katie D. Cadwell of the University of Wisconsin-Madison MRSEC.
Have a nice weekend!