Compartmentalization of Science
Science and technology do not emerge and develop totally compartmentalized. Any attempt to compartmentalize the scientific and technological knowledge in specific fields is, in a certain extent the product of the human mind.
Which solution must then be proposed: do not compartmentalize science and technology in specific fields? I am sure that this is not the solution.
I believe that science and technology should continue to be compartmentalised. However, I also believe that the partitioning of science and technology should not act like a corset that atrophies its development.
Science and technology need freedom to expand, grow, interact, jump out from their compartments, take advantage of interdisciplinary and science integration. Situations where science and technology have potential to be transversal should not face barriers, with the exception of regulation and ethics.
These aspects assume greater importance today and in the future, given the fact that interdisciplinary plays a more important role in the development of science and technology.
Compartmentalization of Nanotechnology
One good example of the above presented is nanotechnology.
Nanotechnology is extremely vast, complex, tremendously promising.
Nanotechnology requires urgent and appropriate risk monitoring and assessment, urgent and appropriate regulation and serious debate on ethical and philosophical issues. Nanotechnology does not need at all overhype, over buzz, sensationalist journalism, which only originates unfounded suspicions and fears. Nanotechnology does need serious and transparent information, communication and education.
Nanotechnology: Fields versus Fields of Application
Can we identify specific fields within the nanotechnology? Of course.
However, I believe that is more correct and appropriate to identify specific fields of application on nanotechnology.
I propose that we examine in some detail the approach of nanotechnology by fields versus the approach of nanotechnology by fields of application.
Hardly nanotechnology can be compartmentalized in specific fields. The only really valid compartmentalization I consider is the nanoscale: 100 nm - 1 nm. And even this compartmentalization requires some self discipline in the approach.
On the other hand compartmentalizing nanotechnology by field of application seems to me a wiser and less confusing approach.
Compartmentalization of Nanomedicine
Let us examine nanomedicine as an example.
Regarding nanomedicine, if we consider nanomedicine a field of nanotechnology (approach of nanotechnology by fields) it may seem a consensual choice at first glance (but only at first glance). In another context and another perspective, nanomedicine could also be considered a field of medicine or biomedicine. Why not? There is medicine on a macroscopic scale. There biomedicine that may be addressed to the microscopic scale, sub-micron scale or even nanoscale. At this point, one might argue: well, nanomedicine can be considered a field of nanotechnology, but also may be considered a field of medicine or biomedicine. It depends on the context and nature of the approach. In other words, it depends on what we are talking about. It makes some sense, in my opinion. But it seems to me a bit confusing.
On the other hand, we can consider nanomedicine as nanotechnology with applications in medicine, including biomedicine (approach of nanotechnology by field of application). This perspective is more consensual. Besides, it meets the definition of nanomedicine and there are no conflicts of compartmentalization of science. We do not have to worry about "consider" nanomedicine as a field of nanotechnology or as a field of medicine or biomedicine.
More important than discussing the theme of compartmentalization of nanotechnology or nanomedicine is to recognize that these sciences cannot be in any way, isolated from the scientific and technological interdisciplinary.
Nanomedicine may be a field of nanotechnology or medicine or biomedicine. Nanomedicine may be perceived as an independent science. Nanomedicine may be faced as nanotechnology applied to medicine or biomedicine. This is almost irrelevant. Much more important is that nanomedicine will always have access to scientific and technological interdisciplinary.