Prince Charles Attacked for Opinions on Nanotech

The British scientific establishment responded with anger Monday to an attack by Prince Charles on nanotechnology — applied science involving tiny particles.

Fertility expert Robert Winston described as “very unfortunate” Charles’ renewed attack over the weekend in which he suggested using the technology in fertility treatment could lead to a disaster of the kind caused by the use of thalidomide.

It is the second time in a month that Charles has crossed swords with eminent British scientists.

Beating Cancer with Vegetables

In June the prince told a conference he knew a woman who had beaten cancer after going on the Gerson diet, a radical regime involving eating only vegetables and fruit and undergoing daily coffee enemas.

Cancer experts accused the prince of promoting quack remedies that raised the hopes of desperate victims without providing any hope of a cure.

Charles was feeding a growing suspicion of science in society, Lord Winston told the BBC.

Science-Suspicious Society

In his weekend article Charles quoted retired Cambridge University engineering professor John Carroll, who said it “would be surprising if nanotechnology did not offer similar upsets” as thalidomide, the morning-sickness drug which led to thousands of babies suffering birth defects around 1960.

Winston said: “We are living in a very science-suspicious society and to raise these kinds of spectres without really quite explaining why he is so worried, I think, is very unfortunate.”

Environmentalist Jonathan Porritt, a friend and adviser to Charles, defended his actions.

“Prince Charles is calling for exactly the kind of informed intelligent debate that Lord Winston has recommended,” he said.

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