PRINCE Charles has spoken out about the apocalyptic doomsday scenario he fears may be posed by a controversial new science.
Having attacked GM foods in the past, the Prince has now turned his attention to the ‘doomsday risk’ posed by nanotechnology.
Charles is said to have organised a crisis summit of leading scientists at his home in Highgrove to discuss the potential threats posed by the technology. The move threatens to put the Prince of Wales on a collision course with Prime Minister Tony Blair, who backs the cutting-edge science.
The Prince is said to fear a worst case scenario in which nanotechnology spin-offs would annihilate life on earth.
It is claimed that Charles knows that the technology has huge potential for progress but fears that scientists plan to create miniscule nanorobots programmed to build new substances, atom by atom from raw materials.
The Prince is said to be concerned that this could lead to an apocalyptic ‘grey goo’ theory in which these miniscule robots would reproduce like viruses, feeding off all natural matter and consume the whole planet; leaving behind only a grey goo.
In contrast, the Prime Minister has said he believes that nanotechnology could be worth billions to Britain, hailing its "startling potential" in a recent speech. He said nanomachines could eventually be used to cure diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria.
It is believed that Science Minister Lord Sainsbury will announce a further 90m of grants to the 50m is already being given to nanotechnology research each year.
As with his intervention over genetically modified food, which also put him sharply at odds with Downing Street, Charles is bringing to public notice scientific research few had previously heard of.
But Ian Gibson, the Labour chairman of the Commons Science Committee said the Prince should "keep his nose out".
The Prince has been backed by environmental campaigners and Zac Goldsmith, the editor of the Ecologist magazine, said: "He can play an enormously important role in the debate. With nanotechnology there is real room for disaster."
Leading environmentalist Jonathon Porritt said: "The research has radical consequences and we need to be more alert to it’s implications."
Yesterday Prince William also found himself the subject of controversy with the claim that he self-mockingly uses his royal status when chatting up women, according to an intimate new book on the heir to the throne.
The prince, who will celebrate his 21st birthday in June, uses the line: "Hi, I’m the future king. Wanna pull?" according to author Ingrid Seward.
Seward, a renowned royal-watcher, details tensions between William’s flamboyant, fun-loving side and the wariness attached to the role he is expected to play in public life.
In her book, William and Harry, to be published next month, Seward reveals that William remains self-conscious about his status, making four-letter outbursts when teased over his position as the future king.
Seward claims the prince went skinny-dipping with a mixed group of friends last summer, showing his fun-loving side, while he berated a fellow pupil at Eton - the public school he attended before going to St Andrews University - with a foul-mouthed outburst when the boy blocked his path.
The author also reveals that William’s relationship with his brother Harry has improved since William took a gap year out.
Harry has been landed with a reputation as a drinker after a string of high-profile escapades, but William was also present at many of these nights-out, according to Seward.