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Nano Bite: August 2012





Welcome to the August Nano Bite, the monthly e-newsletter for the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net).

What's new?

Universal Design for Public Programs Online Workshop
The NISE Net and Inclusive Audiences team are hosting a one-hour online workshop on Universal Design for Public Programs on Tuesday, August 21st, 1-2 pm Eastern Time

 New in the Catalog: Wonders and Worries of Nanotechnology
Please enjoy and use these new short films to aid in the discussion of the societal and ethical implications of nanotechnology:

What Else?

Faith, Ethics, and Nanotechnology
A number of NISE Net partners recently contributed articles to Covalence, an online magazine of religion and science, as part of a package of five papers on "faith, ethics, and nanotechnology." The five articles, Virtue and Vice Among the Molecules by Chris Toumey, The Landscape of Nanoethics by Ronald Sandler, Biomilitarism and Nanomedicine: Evil Metaphors for the Good of Human Health? by Brigitte Nerlich, A Place for Religion in Nanotechnology Debates by Jamey Wetmore, and Nanobots Dancing: Science Fiction and Faith by Steven Lynn can all be found in the collection here: Thank you to Chris Toumey for letting us know!

→ Materials360 Online
The Materials Research Society has recently launched their newest online resource: Materials360 Online "your premier source for materials science news."

Featured Finding
Over the past year, the evaluation team has been conducting A Study of Communication in the NISE Network (Network Communication Study) to learn about how the Network's primary communication components, NanoDays, face-to-face meetings, the regional hub structure, and the website, are being used by actively involved partners. We'll be highlighting different findings from the study - such as the bulleted points below - over the next few months in our Featured Finding section, and you can also read the whole report at
  • Actively involved NISE Net partners especially value Network components that allow for communication between partners and across the Network, such as face-to-face meetings and the regional hub structure.
    • We're excited that partners are interested in sharing their work with the Network and are looking to create more opportunities for partners to do so in future years. In the meantime, if you have done something that you would like to share in the Nano Bite, please get in touch with Eli Bossin at [email protected].

Partner Highlight
Informal Science Learning Associates (ISLA)
The Informal Science Learning Associates (ISLA)  is a newly-formed nonprofit organization dedicated to improving educational opportunities for all children. A museum without walls, ISLA provides interactive programming in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to promote life-long learning in the community and surrounding communities of Laredo, Texas. One of ISLA's first big events was hosting NanoDays at local high schools. For more on ISLA's NanoDays activities and programs, read this Partner Highlight by Aaron Guerrero of the Children's Museum of Houston, the regional hub leader for the South region.

Nano in the News
  • Nanoparticles Get Under the Skin: Nanoparticle-loaded moisturizers could help to treat skin deseases by smuggling gene-silencing molecules into skin cells.
  • Graphene Repairs Holes by Knitting Itself Back Together: Make a hole in graphene and the material will heal itself, observed researchers after witnessing the process in action. The researchers hope that this discovery will help with the manufacture of graphene in addition to repairing graphene objects.
  • Aerographite is the Lightest Material Ever Made: With a density of less than .2 milligrams per cubic centimeter, aerographite was made from a network of hollow carbon nanotubes. The incredibly low density means that aerographite can be compressed by a factor of one thousand and then spring back to its original size. Aerographite's ability to conduct electricity has researchers hoping that it could contribute to an ultra-lightweight battery.
  • A New Approach to Water Desalination: MIT researchers have come up with a desalination system using graphene sheets with precisely controlled pores that would be large enough to let water molecules through, but small enough to prevent the salt to pass through. The key difference between this process and the already common method of reverse osmosis is that the graphene membrane would be a thousand times less thick than the current reverse osmosis. This means that the desalination system would operate at much lower pressure, purifying the water with significantly lower energy costs.

Nano Haiku
Fantastic voyage
Dendrimer nanospaceship
Drug delivery

After reading the article Nanoparticles Help Researchers Deliver Steroids to the Retina, Wendy Aldwyn, of the Museum of Life and Science, Durham, NC shared the above haiku.


Questions? Haikus? Contributions to the newsletter? Contact Eli Bossin at [email protected]