Posts in Development
My biggest realization on our trip to South Africa was the idealism associated with participating in a cutting edge science like nanoscience. I found that by and large, the scientists, in particular South African nationals and other Africans, seemed inspired by the idea that they were contributing to the emergence of a new South Africa that could become globally relevant.
This summer I presented the results of my study about the potential contributions of nanotechnology to the agricultural sector. One of my classmates from Ghana made a very intriguing comment: he said that nanotechnology seems like a promising technology for the ag sector, but was concerned that farmers in Africa have enough problems to worry about without transferring new technologies and that nanotechnology could even aggravate their current problems of food security. I did not have, at that moment, a convincing answer to give him.
Towards the end of our field work, Team H2O (the subset of our delegation focusing on water applications of nanotechnology) got a look at rural poverty in South Africa. I have already blogged on urban poverty in South Africa and the need for redesigning innovation to engage with it. Rural poverty appears to have some similarities and some differences.
The CNS Thematic Research Cluster on Equity, Equality, and Responsibility spent the first two weeks of July conducting fieldwork on how nanotechnology research and development in South Africa can benefit the poor, including people like Pastor Julius, his wife, and the 22 orphans for whom they care in township of Barcelona.
The headline reads 'Cracking Open the World Bank.' Above, a graphic shows ethereal streams of 1s and 0s issuing from a vault, its heavy door slightly ajar. The story below tells of a revolution at the World Bank. This global institution, long attacked as arrogant and inept, seems to be getting with the times. The information age heralds its future as open, digital and democratic. A closer reading, however, cautions against such a hasty conclusion.
A few years ago while attending an engineering education conference in Lima, Peru, entitled Engineering for the Americas, I was struck when the opening speaker (who was from Microsoft) used Tom Friedman's book The World is Flat to set the tone for the meeting.
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