Am. J. Phys. 74, 4 (April 2006)
Nanotechnology has emerged as a broad, exciting, yet ill-defined field of scientific research and technological innovation. There are important questions about the technology’s potential economic, social, and environmental implications. We discuss an undergraduate course on nanoscience and nanotechnology for students from a wide range of disciplines, including the natural and social sciences, the humanities, and engineering. The course explores these questions and the broader place of technology in contemporary societies. The course is built around active learning methods and seeks to develop the students’ critical thinking skills, written and verbal communication abilities, and general knowledge of nanoscience and nanoengineering concepts. Continuous assessment was used to gain information about the effectiveness of class discussions and enhancement of student understanding of the interaction between nanotechnology and society.