Nanodays 2009

The Institute for Functional Nanomaterials (IFN) and the NASA Center for Advanced Nanoscale Material (CaNM)
Join over 200 Sites Nationwide in NanoDays The Nation’s Largest Public Outreach Effort in Nanoscale Informal Science Education

Contact: Javier Figueroa 787.764.9116

The Institute for Functional Nanomaterials (IFN) and the NASA Center for Advanced Nanoscale Material (CaNM) presents NanoDays™ 2009, part of the second annual nationwide festival of educational programs about nanoscale science and engineering and its potential impact on the future. The largest public outreach effort in nanoscale informal science education, NanoDays events, organized by the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net, www.nisenet.org), will take place March 28 - April 5, 2009, at over 200 science museums, research centers, and universities across the country from Maine to Hawaii. NanoDays activities will bring university researchers together with science museum 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 sites will combine simple hands-on activities for young people with presentations on current research for adults. In one popular activity, visitors together build a giant balloon model of a carbon nanotube. Real carbon nanotubes, which are 1/50,000th of the width of a human hair, have a unique cylindrical structure, extraordinary strength, and unusual electrical properties making them useful in electronics and materials science. NanoDays activities demonstrate other unexpected properties of materials at the nanoscale -- sand that won’t get wet even under water, water that won’t spill from a teacup, and colors that depend upon particle size. Some sites will host forum programs engaging the public in discussions about the benefits and risks of particular applications of nanotechnology, while several universities will host public tours of their laboratories.

This year the IFN and CaNM will be offering a Nanoscience Exposition consisting of hands-on interactive activities and demonstrations on April 3 and 4 at Plaza Las Americas. High school students from public high schools and undergraduate and graduate students from the University of Puerto Rico will be presenting the key concepts in Nanoscience and Technology to the participants in an engaging and fun atmosphere. There will be a continuous poster session offered by graduate students from different programs. They will be presenting cutting edge results developed by research scientist at the University of Puerto Rico System. General public, student and teachers from all ages are welcome to participate and can schedule a visit contacting Javier Figueroa at 787 764-9116. Many scientists and engineers believe that advances in nanotechnology have the potential to bolster the U.S. economy with 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.

The National Science Foundation funded NISE Net in 2005 to support a core group of science museums led by the Museum of Science (MOS), with the Science Museum of Minnesota (SMM) and San Francisco’s Exploratorium, to collaboratively develop and distribute innovative approaches to engaging Americans in learning about nanoscale science and engineering. The NSF’s $20 million award to the Museum of Science and its partners is the foundation’s largest ever to the science museum community.

Through activities like NanoDays, the NISE Net is building partnerships between science museums and research centers to increase the capacity of both kinds of institutions 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 -- are supporting NISE Net and NanoDays 2009 activities. For NISE Net Nanodays information or to download a digital NanoDays kit visit http://www.nisenet.org/nanodays.

About the NISE Network Partners

In addition to the core leadership team of the Museum of Science, Boston, the Science Museum of Minnesota, and the Exploratorium in San Francisco, core NISE Network partners include the New York Hall of Science, the Sciencenter in Ithaca, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, the Museum of Life and Science in North Carolina, the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, the Association of Science-Technology Centers, the Materials Research Society, the nanotech education outreach group at University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Center for Nanotechnology in Society headquartered at Arizona State University, and the National Center for Learning and Teaching (NCLT) in Nanoscale Science and Engineering, headquartered at Northwestern University, which is developing nanoscale curricula for middle and high schools.

This project is based on work supported by the NSF under Grant No.ESI-05322536. NanoDays™ is trademarked by North Carolina State University and used by NISE Net with permission.

 

Map of NISE Net hubs and NanoDays sites in U.S. follows.


14 NISE Net hubs and over 200 NanoDays sites nationwide.

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