"Exploring Size - Moving Molecules" is a hands-on activity in which visitors use an air cannon toy to spin pinwheels. They learn that air is made up of molecules, which are tiny nanometer-sized particles.
The Tiny Solutions to Our Big Energy Problem program gives a brief overview of energy sources and our current energy crisis and discusses a variety of ways that nanotechnology can improve the way we harness energy (improving solar cells), distribute energy (carbon nanotube transmission lines) and use energy (nanotech-enhanced LED bulbs). It is primarily a slideshow presentation, designed for medium-to-large audiences. It consists mostly of a lecture, with a few live demonstrations and a few audience interactions.
This is a stage presentation, designed for audiences of 11 and up, intended to give a broad overview and introduction to the subject of nanotechnology. The talk attempts to answer three basic questions about nanotech: How is It New, What Can It Do, and Do You Care?
"Exploring Forces - Gravity" is a hands on activity in which visitors discover that it’s easy to pour water out of a regular-sized cup, but not out of a miniature cup. They learn that size can affect the way materials like water behave.
"Exploring Size - Ball Sorter" is a hands-on activity in which visitors use sieves with different-sized holes, to sort balls by size. They learn that researchers are developing new technologies that can sort nano-sized things, including filters with nano-sized holes.
"Exploring Materials - Nano Gold" is a hands-on activity in which visitors discover that nanoparticles of gold can appear red, orange or even blue. They learn that a material can act differently when it’s nanometer-sized.
“DNA Nanotechnology” is a facilitated, hands-on activity exploring deoxyribonucleic acid, a nanoscale structure that occurs in nature. Visitors extract a sample of DNA from split peas and put it in an Eppendorf tube to take home. They learn that nanoscientists study DNA to understand its biological function, and that they also use it to make other nanoscale materials and devices.
“Nanotube Balloons” is a large display made of balloons that can be used to draw visitors to a program on nanotechnology. Visitors observe how the carbon atoms are arranged in a carbon nanotube. The nanotube balloon model can be pre-constructed by museum staff, or visitors can help to build it. The balloon structure provides an intriguing hook for other programs, like “Forms of Carbon” or the “World of Carbon Nanotubes”.
This cart demonstration reviews the basics about nanotechnology. Visitors learn that nanoscale objects are very small and have surprising properties because of their size. They also learn about some of the possible technologies that may lead to. They mix chemicals, turn potatoes black, generate electricity, and see invisible light in their exploration.
“Magic Sand” is a cart demo that demonstrates how changing nanoscale changes in a material can affect how that material behaves at the macroscale. Visitors learn that hydrophobic surfaces repel water and that “magic” sand repels water because of a nanoscale hydrophobic coating on the grains of sand. During the program, compare how magic sand and regular sand interact with water.