WASHINGTON, D.C. – Internet businesses haven’t been the only high-tech concerns drawing attention on Capitol Hill. It was standing room only for a recent Senate Commerce Committee hearing on nanotechnology.
The mood from the Senators? Glowing, for the most part. “This is likely to be a $1 trillion industry,” said Oregon Republican Gordon Smith. “Mind-boggling to say the least,” added Massachusetts Democrat John Kerry.
There was plenty at the hearing to boggle the mind. Bryant Linares, chief of closely held Apollo Diamond, told Senators how his company uses nanotechnology, which works on the scale of atoms or molecules, to “grow” diamonds for use in jewelry, semiconductors and other applications. Timothy Swager, professor of chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, detailed efforts of his MIT research center–along with corporate partners like Honeywell, Raytheon and W. L. Gore & Associates–to create fabric for U.S. soldiers that can monitor health or detect explosives.
But business interests at the hearing weren’t just strutting their stuff for Congress. They also took the opportunity to press their case for keeping nanotech regulation at bay.