Celebrate NanoDays™ 2011

Christina Akers, cakers@smm.org, 651-221-9434

NanoDays is a nationwide festival of educational programs about nanoscale science and engineering.

NanoDays is organized by the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net), and takes place nationally from March 26 through April 3, 2011. This community-based event is the largest public outreach effort in nanoscale informal science education and involves science museums, research centers, and universities from Puerto Rico to Alaska.

NanoDays celebrations bring university researchers together with science educators to create unique new learning experiences for both children and adults to explore the miniscule world of atoms, molecules, and nanoscale forces. Most NanoDays events combine fun hands-on activities with presentations on current research. A range of exciting NanoDays programs demonstrate the special and unexpected properties found at the nanoscale, examine tools used by nanoscientists, showcase nano materials with spectacular promise, and invite discussion of technology and society.

The local community can experience many of these activities firsthand. Visitors will investigate super thin materials used in solar cell technology, forces stronger than gravity, and sand that doesn’t get wet—even under water!  Other activities include using your nose as a nanodetector and measuring yourself in nanometers.

More about Nano and NISE Network

Many scientists and engineers believe that advances in nanotechnology have the potential to bolster the U.S. economy through innovations providing clean, secure, affordable energy, techniques to clean up hazardous chemicals in the environment, and medical devices and drugs to detect and treat diseases more effectively and with fewer side effects. Despite this promise, the public knows little about research and development being carried out today by 25 departments and agencies of the federal government and by universities and corporations in their own communities.

Originally launched by the Museum of Science in Boston, the Science Museum of Minnesota, and San Francisco's Exploratorium, the NISE Network is now led by 14 museums and universities across the nation. In 2005, an initial grant funded formation of NISE Network to collaboratively develop and distribute innovative approaches to engaging Americans in nanoscale science and engineering. The NISE Network has won its second five-year $21 million grant from the National Science Foundation allowing partners to continue the work of the NISE Net into the next decade.

Through activities like NanoDays, the NISE Network is actively building partnerships between science museums and research centers to increase their capacity to engage the public in learning about nanoscale science and engineering. In addition to the individual museums and research centers, two major professional organizations–the Materials Research Society and the Association of Science-Technology Centers—support the NISE Network and annual NanoDays activities.

For more information about NISE Net or to download a digital NanoDays kit please visit http://www.nisenet.org/nanodays.

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For more information about Nano please visit http://www.whatisnano.org

This project is based on work supported by the NSF under Award Numbers ESI-05322536 and 0940143. NanoDays™ is trademarked by North Carolina State University and used by NISE Net with permission.

NOTE added by the editor – This is a really fun, exciting, and educational event – I encourage your participation, at whatever level you can do. However, a caution – if you are accepted as a ‘full participant’ to receive a “NanoDays” Kit, then a GIANT box of Nano-Activities will arrive in your office – so be prepared!!

Disclaimer- The articles and opinion pieces found in this issue of the APS Forum on Education Newsletter are not peer refereed and represent solely the views of the authors and not necessarily the views of the APS.