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2009 Annual Meeting Sessions


Session 1: Research Round-Robin: Concurrent Conversations with Six Nano Researchers
Session organizer: Larry Bell, Museum of Science, Boston

Get a taste of the latest developments in nano research! This round-robin session offers a chance for you to get overviews of current research in some of nano's leading fields: Nano and Society, Nano and Medicine, Nano and Materials, Nano Toxicity and Risk, and Nano and Nature. After a brief introduction, participants will break into groups, choosing two of five possible 45-minute discussions on the different research fields. You can focus your time on the two topics most interesting to you, or move from group to group.


  • Clark Miller, Arizona State University (Nano and Society)
  • Matt Francis, UC Berkeley (Nano and Medicine)
  • Jeff Urban, Lawrence Berkeley National Labs (Nano and Materials)
  • Steve Whitelam, Lawrence Berkeley National Labs (Nano and Nature)
  • Ron Zuckerman,Lawrence Berkeley National Labs (Nano and Nature)
  • Andrew Maynard, Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (Nano Toxicity and Risk)

Session 2: Communicating Science Through Creative Performances
Session organizer: Rae Ostman, Sciencenter

Performance offers a vibrant path into science content and can help reach new audiences. Join us for this workshop, where we'll explore some opportunities for using performance as a vehicle to communicate scientific concepts. Cornell University physicist Dr. Itai Cohen and choreographer Maren Waldman will present The Dance of Scales, a performance that uses dance to investigate the movement of organisms on the nanoscale. Following the performance, Max Evjen and Megan Halpern of Redshift Productions will facilitate a hands-on activity and help you devise new ways of using the arts to communicate nano concepts.

  • Max Evjen, Redshift Productions
  • Megan Halpern, Redshift Productions
  • Itai Cohen, Cornell University
  • Maren Waldman, Choreographer


Session 1: Exploring the Nano in Art and the Art in Nano
Session organizer: Stephanie Long, Science Museum of Minnesota

The visual and theatrical arts can provide an accessible and alternative entry point to science for learners of all ages by blending science, emotion, and aesthetics. In this session, we'll learn how a variety of institutions have integrated nano and art into their exhibits, programs, and projects. Examples range from coffee shop shows featuring research images as art to theatrical programming about the interactions between science and society to immersive experiences that engage the visitor as artist. We also want to hear what's worked for you and how NISE Net can help you as you seek to blend art and science. Share your inventive ideas, challenges, and strategies for bringing art and nano together.


  • Catherine Hughes, International Museum Theatre Alliance
  • Kathryn D. de Ridder-Vignone, Science & Technology Studies
  • Tom Rockwell, Exploratorium
  • Victoria Vesna, UCLA Art | Science Center
  • Greta M. Zenner, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Carol Lynn Alpert, Musuem of Science, Boston
  • Stephanie Long, Science Museum of Minnesota

Session 2: ISE at the Intersection of Nano and Nature
Session organizer: Alex Fiorentino, Museum of Science, Boston

This session will bring participants to the fascinating intersection between nanotechnology and nature. This subject area can be particularly fertile ground for creating links between nano and existing ISE content, since so many ISE exhibits and programs already focus on biology that's related to these nano-phenomena. We'll explore examples of photonic materials based on butterfly wings, adhesives inspired by gecko feet, and DNA nanotechnologies. And we'll introduce you to a few existing programs, some created within the NISE Net and others created outside, that bring together concepts of nano and nature. Then we'll work together to devise innovative ways of tapping into the connection between nano and the natural world with the goal of engaging the public.


  • Steve Whitelam, Lawrence Berkeley National Labs
  • Dr. Rashmi Nanjundaswamy, Lawrence Hall of Science
  • Dr. Mohan Srinivasarao, Georgia Tech

Session 3: Making Nano Relevant: Programs and Exhibits about Energy and the Environment
Session organizer: Catherine McCarthy, Sciencenter

How might nanotechnology impact the way we harness energy and affect the planet? Learn about products the NISE Network has developed to explore the potential benefits and challenges nano can bring to our approach toward energy and the environment. We'll have a product showcase featuring a forum, program, media, and exhibits. After the showcase, we'll discuss which energy and environment topics are of most interest to you and what approaches to these subjects you'd like to see the NISE Network pursue in the future. You'll get information on the products in the showcase to take home with you.


  • David Sittenfeld, Museum of Science, Boston
  • Karine Thate, Museum of Science, Boston
  • Richard Hudson, Dragonfly TV
  • Lisa Regalla, Dragonfly TV
  • Catherine McCarthy, Sciencenter
  • Jayatri Das, Franklin Institute
  • Todd Kehoe, OMSI
  • Paul Martin, Science Museum of Minnesota

Session 4: Tiny Fundamentals
Session organizer: Anders Liljeholm, OMSI

Schoolhouse Rock taught us that as our bodies get bigger, our minds grow and flower. But what happens when things get smaller--a LOT smaller? The changes to key properties of matter, such as surface area, surface tension, color, and more, make nano an incredible new realm for research and potential application. Join us for a hands-on learning session, looking at the fundamental science of the super-small. We’ll show you our favorite demonstrations and discuss how you have, or could, adapt them to suit your institution.


  • Anders Liljeholm, OMSI
  • Keith Ostfeld, Children's Museum of Houston

Session 5: Why Should I Care?: Using Societal and Ethical Issues to Make Nano Relevant
Session organizer: Troy Livingston, North Carolina Museum of Life and Science

What stake do our audience members have in nano, and how can we use that stake to pique their interest? We'll begin this workshop with an overview of the ISE field’s approach to Public Engagement in Science, and the way it encourages us to think about our audiences, speakers, and the programs we offer. Then we'll discuss examples of Societal and Ethical Implications (SEI) content in a variety of youth- and adult-focused programs, some developed by the NISE Network and some by other organizations. This session is designed to encourage a collaborative brainstorming-based workshop on how you might use SEI-based discussions in your programs at home and for us to learn how the NISE Network might support partners in overcoming obstacles to developing these programs.


  • Brad Herring, North Carolina Museum of Life and Science
  • Troy Livingston, North Carolina Museum of Life and Science
  • Veronica Garcia-Luis, Exploratorium

Session 6: This Won’t Hurt a Bit! Injecting Nanomedicine Into Public Awareness
Session organizer: Kari Jensen, OMSI

Amazing advancements in medical research have been made in recent years, thanks to nanotechnology. In this session, we’ll address topics in the field of nanomedicine, including the detection and treatment of disease, tissue regeneration, and cancer treatment. Through exhibits, programs, community forums, and computer interactives, the NISE Network has been bringing nanomedicine to the public for the past four years. We’ll take a look at each of these project areas and will review the successes and challenges of each. Finally, we’ll discuss potential content areas and directions for future NISE projects on nanomedicine.


  • Marilyn Johnson, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
  • Tim Miller, Divine Wind, LLC
  • Carol Lynn Alpert, Museum of Science, Boston
  • Jennifer Weil, Nanobiotechnology Center, Cornell University
  • Ben Almquist, Melosh Group, Materials Science & Engineering, Stanford University


Session 1: Developing Full-Body Experiences to Reach Diverse Audiences
Session organizer: Rae Ostman, Sciencenter

Getting up off your chair can be a great way of learning. During this workshop, participants will brainstorm ways to use full-body experiences to explore nano concepts, focusing on creating experiences that are appropriate for specific audiences. We'll have a movement-based workshop being developed by choreographer Maren Waldman to engage middle school students in nanoscale science. Participants will also be able to take part in a design challenge facilitated by Redshift Productions, a duo of working artists who specialize in science communication and education.


  • Max Evjen, Redshift Productions
  • Megan Halpern, Redshift Productions
  • Maren Waldman, Choreographer

Session 2: Engaging Science Attentive Adults in Everything Nano
Session organizer: Brad Herring, North Carolina Museum of Life and Science

Informal learning institutions don't only cater to youth, but that's often the public perception. How do we overcome this barrier and engage adults in nano programming? Learn how adult programming, from science cafes and forums to book clubs and science theater, has worked in a variety of institutions. Join us and take part in discussions about the successes and pitfalls of reaching out to adult audiences and explore ways in which we can better serve and reach the over-18 crowd. In this session, you’ll have a chance to share your experiences, successes, challenges, and concerns with creating and engaging adults in everything nano.


  • Brad Herring, Museum of Life and Science, Durham
  • David Sittenfeld, Museum of Science, Boston
  • Stephanie Long, Science Museum of Minnesota
  • Marilyn Johnson, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
  • Meena Selvakumar, Pacific Science Center

Session 3: Nano Camps and Afterschool Programs
Session organizers: Jayatri Das, Franklin Institute, and Darrell Porcello, Lawrence Hall of Science

Summer camps and afterschool programs provide great opportunities for in-depth explorations of nanotechnology. In this session, several NISE Net institutions with ongoing programs share their approaches, curricula, and activities. Discover our great successes and cringe at our spectacular failures! And if you've run a nanocamp at your own institution, we encourage you to bring your experiences and materials to share with the group. Participants will get down and dirty with two of our favorite hands-on nanocamp activities: making nanosolar cells with raspberries and unravelling the unique properties of gold at the nanoscale. We will also discuss how these rich, long-term activities could be adapted for high-throughput audiences on the museum floor.


  • Jayatri Das, Franklin Institute
  • Darrell Porcello, Lawrence Hall of Science

Session 4: Back-to-School Nano: What to Offer School Groups
Session organizer: Marilyn Johnson, OMSI

Nano content presents unique opportunities and challenges for educators in a field trip environment. Join us in this open workshop, where we'll map out resources and strategies for creating nanotechnology-rich K-12 field trip experiences, with a special focus on grades 4-8. Share your successful approaches to attract and engage school groups in museum field trips focused on nanotechnology or other content areas.


  • Marilyn Johnson, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)
  • Shari Hartshorn, Science Museum of Minnesota

Session 5: NanoDays and Beyond
Session organizers: Margaret Glass, ASTC, and Anders Liljeholm, OMSI

NanoDays was originally conceived as a week of public events focused on a standard set of tabletop activities and cart demos. But many institutions have taken NanoDays beyond these materials and taken their events beyond the expected venues of the museum or university. At the same time, we realize that many of our potential target audiences for nano education don’t live near urban center cities; sometimes we have to bring the nano to the audience. In this session, we'll see a visual showcase of NanoDays events and hear some success stories about how to move nano education to more far-flung locations year round.


  • Several NanoDays organizers from throughout the Network

Session 6: Beyond Text: Using Audio to Enhance Nano Learning for All
Session organizer: Christine Reich, Museum of Science, Boston

How can you describe what's too small to see to someone visually impaired? How do you create labels for people who can't read English? Many museums rely on text to give visitors the information they need at exhibits. Yet text is only one of the many mediums that can be used for exhibit interpretation. NISE Net has gone beyond traditional text-based interpretation, using both English and Spanish audio labels. In this session, we’ll review best practices for the development and evaluation of audio labels. We'll share our evaluation findings from testing that was conducted with the general public, visitors with low/no vision, and Spanish speakers. Session participants will then practice applying lessons learned through an interactive activity when they create their own audio labels and test those created by others.


  • Lisa Wisniewski, Antenna Audio
  • Scott Ewing, OMSI
  • Kari Jensen, OMSI

Session 7: Marketing Nano Back Home: Selling Museum VIPs on the Very Small
Session organizer: Larry Bell, Museum of Science, Boston

What if nano just isn’t on the radar screen of folks back home at your institution? They may not know what it is or find it relevant to your institution’s work. In this session, we’ll look at ideas and resources to help you build a case for nano back at your home institution. We’ll spend the first part of the session in small groups discussing whose support you need and what interests, concerns, and needs are involved. Then together as a larger group, we’ll look at resources to help you communicate about nano, including the special demo that initially got Larry’s trustees buzzing. Back in small groups, we’ll devise strategies for reaching key stakeholders and compose an "elevator pitch" to make your argument short and to the point. We’ll hear everyone’s inventive ideas and participants will walk away with a wealth of resources for building institutional support: strategies, a sample pitch, some Powerpoint slides, materials, Web links, and hands-on demos you can do at a desk or dinner table. You’ll also get to help NISE Net shape our future work to best provide you with way to build institutional support for nano.


  • Larry Bell, Museum of Science, Boston

Session 8: The Little Nano that Could: Younger Audiences and Nanotechnology
Session organizers: Keith Ostfeld, Children's Museum of Houston and Krystal Willeby, Children's Museum of Houston

The effort to engage our youngest visitors in the tiniest of technologies poses its own unique set of challenges. How can NISE materials and activities be "hacked" to make them more amenable to youngsters? In this session, we'll share our assessments of what gives an activity the most potential with younger audiences and show you how we massaged existing programs to better suit the needs of our younger visitors. Then you'll get a chance to browse an open showcase of child-oriented programs and ask whatever questions you have. We'll wrap up with a brainstorm about future nano topics that can be directed at younger audiences and identify participants interested in developing these kinds of programs in the future.


  • Keith Ostfeld, Children's Museum of Houston
  • Krystal Willeby, Children's Museum of Houston
  • Catherine McCarthy, Sciencenter
  • Steve Hale, Sciencenter