Nano Bite: December 2009

Welcome to the December Nano Bite, the monthly e-newsletter for the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net).
What's new? Winter!
Winter officially begins December 21st-- celebrate with snowflakes!  The structure of snowflakes results from the nanoscale arrangement of water molecules in an ice crystal, and snowflakes are examples of self-assembled systems studied by nanoscientists.  The NISE Net has two snowflake-related activities:
The first, Snowflakes: Nano at its Coolest, is a twenty minute stage demonstration introducing nanoscale science through the subject of snowflakes.  Visitors watch videos of snowflakes growing and observe real ice crystals growing in a chilled chamber. 
 
  The second, Ready, Set, Self-Assemble, is a brand new game in which visitors self-assemble themselves into a variety of shapes, including a snowflake, mimicking the process by which molecules and cells form themselves into functional structures.  Download it from our website here, it will also be included in this year's NanoDays kit.
This month at the Sciencenter in Ithaca, NY, Rae Ostman will be combining the two activities into one snowflake uber-program-- first the stage presentation, followed by the self-assembly game.
What else?
More self-assembly
Can't get enough self-assembly?  Check out the Creating Nanomaterials exhibit in the nisenet.org catalog, and download the audio files, manual, screens, and evaluation report.
 
 
Want to see the exhibits in real life?
Creating Nanomaterials, along with a number of other NISE Net exhibits, recently began traveling throughout the Arkansas Discovery Network.  The first stop on the tour is the Mid-America Science Museum in Hot Springs, Arkansas where the exhibits will be on display through January 10, 2010. From there, the exhibits will travel to other museums in Arkansas during the next two years.  The exhibits are also currently on view at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and the Museum of Science, Boston.
 
Apply for a NanoDays kit by December 15th!
Have big plans for NanoDays at your institution this year?  The application deadline for a physical kit is December 15th, apply now.  The kits are intended for use in public events, and this year's kits will have several new activities and new resources, as well as revised instruction sheets and manuals for the activities.  As an example of the kinds of things our partners do for NanoDays: last year the Chabot Space & Science Center set up tables with NanoDays kit activities and gave their visitors NanoDays passports to get stamped at each table.
 
Cell Size and Scale
Thanks to Anders Liljeholm for sending me this cool online activity on size, developed by the Genetic Science Learning Center at the University of Utah.
 
Picture of the Month
 Snowflake Image
Snowflake image courtesy of Kenneth Libbrecht, Caltech.  You can find more snowflake pictures and information about snowflakes at his website www.snowcrystals.com
Nano Haiku
Nano, oh nano
With surface area so
Small, but big impact