The phrase nanotechnology and nano science have become buzz words which have taken over from others in attracting the attention of funding agencies and the press. It is critically important that it does not become a bubble which bursts and takes with it good science. I feel it is important to properly understand the place of nano scale structures in the whole spectrum of structural thinking which takes science from the small molecule through the individual polymer - aggregates - self assembling clusters to micron and macro scale assemblies. Nature does this every day and there could be argued the case that we are not doing anything very novel only mimicking nature. This is rather like the GM debate, where a little knowledge can be dangerous. Specifics. We at Strathclyde hope to be able to demonstrate in the very near future how use of understanding of nano structures can produce viable solutions to real problems. We hope through a LINK project to be able to develop flame retarded polyurethane foams which will be much safer and more environmentally acceptable that conventional foam materials. this may not be seen as the high technology end of the nano area but does rely on nano scale dimensions to achieve the effects. I believe that this type of application can help the acceptability of the nano concept and also justify the investment in this area of science and technology.

Your sincerely

Prof RA Pethrick
Dept of Pure & Applied Chemistry
University of Strathclyde