We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.

The full article is available here as HTML.

Press Ctrl-C to copy

The claims of an anti-technology group that has recently claimed responsibility for parcel bomb attacks on Mexican researchers are "absurd", but the threat they pose must be taken seriously, says physicist Gerardo Herrera Corral, whose brother was targeted in the attacks.

The extremist group has declared that nanotechnology will lead to humanity's downfall, and blamed scientists who work on it for "seeking to advance control over people by 'the system'". It has been linked to other attacks in Chile, France and Spain.

Herrera Corral urges the police to take these incidents seriously, and the scientific community to be alert to terrorist organisations and their capabilities to cause destruction and spread fear. "Nanotechnology-research institutes and departments, companies and professional associations must beef up their security procedures, particularly on how they receive and accept parcels and letters."

He argues that opposing technology and technical development is acceptable, and the value of pursuing further advances should be openly debated. "Yet radical groups ... overlook a crucial detail: it is not technology that is the problem, but how we use it."

Dynamite, for example, has found applications in mining, construction and other industries — but it can also be used to make a parcel bomb, says Herrera Corral.


Nature 476, 373 (2011)