From fighting individual cancer cells to engineering organs, scientists are taking unprecedented control over human health. Welcome to the brave new world of nanotechnology.
Scientists have begun to manipulate the very building blocks of life – with profound consequences for medicine, biology and society as a whole.
Nanotechnology – the ability to build machines and structures on the atomic scale – has been promised by science fiction writers and scientists alike for more than forty years. Now the technology is finally here, and its applications are breath-taking in scope – from discovering drugs to transplanting tissues, killing resistant bacteria to purifying water in the poorest parts of the world. Can we maximise the benefit to humanity, and avoid the very real risks inherent in this extraordinary new power over nature?
Oxford Professor Sonia Contera has the answers. A pioneer working at the interface of physics and biology, Professor Contera designs nano-materials to mimic the human body’s functions – and advises governments and NGOs on the consequences of her technology.
She joins How To: Academy to share her insights into the present and future of this exhilarating science, and explore the promises and pitfalls of our power to exert control over our biology, our health and our lives.