As a collaborator with Dr Altmann in the field of nanotechnology concerns related to military applications and international security, I wish to support his call for the inclusion of these issues in the agenda for the Royal Society's study on nanotechnology.
Major government studies in Europe and the US have not addressed military nanotechnology as a "societal" concern; instead the prospect of military applications has been treated as a benefit to the Defense establishment, which is actively funding nanotechnology research. However, it is clear that nanotechnology weapons applications raise significant issues for arms control and international security, which should be assessed not only in terms of opportunities and advantages of military exploitation of the technology. This has been discussed publicly since the late 1980s. Dr. Altmann has written some excellent and up-to-date reviews of the subject.
Mark Avrum Gubrud
Center for Superconductivity Research
Physics Dept., University of Maryland
College Park, USA