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Nano Bite: December 2013

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

Upcoming Activities!
Final Reminder: NanoDays 2014 physical kit applications due December 1, 2013

NISE Network in Full Swing at the 2013 Fall Materials Research Society (MRS) Meeting
This year's MRS Fall Meeting in Boston, MA takes places December 1-6th and includes a three day educational symposium, many professional development opportunities for scientists, and includes a NISE Network booth and presentation (see full list of activities here)

NISE Network public outreach activities include:

Get Ready for New Spring 2014 Online Brown-Bag Conversations
Have you joined a brown-bag conversation yet? These one-hour long presentations and discussions are designed to bring NISE Net community members relevant information on upcoming activities, program ideas, and to share experiences with one another. This spring, brown-bag conversations will focus on various aspects of NanoDays 2014, nano for summer camps, and discussions about how to talk with the public about nano and society!

Mark your calendar!
Nano for Summer Camps - Thursday, January 9, 2014: 10-11 am PST / 1-2 pm EST
Organizer: Lizzie Hager-Barnard, Lawrence Hall of Science (UC Berkeley)

Presenters: Angela Ameling of the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center, Michele Laverty of the National Ag Science Center, and Meghan Schiedel of the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum
Interested in discovering new ways to introduce nanoscience into your camps? Join us for a conversation about tips and best practices for incorporating nano into summer camps. To sign up to join this conversation, go to Nano for Summer Camps.

Hosting a Bilingual NanoDays - Wednesday, January 15, 2014: 11-noon PST / 2-3 pm EST
What's Coming in Your NanoDays Kit - Tuesday, February 4, 2014: 10-11 am PST / 1-2 pm EST
The Science Behind NanoDays 2014 - Part 1 - Wednesday, February 19, 2014: 11-noon PST / 2-3 pm EST

Nano and Society - Tuesday, March 4, 2014: 10-11 am PST / 1-2 pm EST
The Science Behind NanoDays 2014 - Part 2 - Tuesday, March 18, 2014: 11-noon PST / 2-3 pm EST

New in the Catalog

National Geographic's Mysteries of the Unseen World 3D film opened at selected theaters across the country in November. The film also includes accompanying educational materials, a museum educator guide, as well a free iPad app. More details on Mysteries of the Unseen World 3D film are available here.
Nano Latch 'n' Catch Nanomedicine Activity developed by the Arizona Science Center
Disease Detectives middle school outreach program developed by the Arizona Science Center
Microbes: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly theater demonstration developed by the Arizona Science Center

Partner Highlight

Children's Discovery Museum of West Virginia
Team-based inquiry (TBI) is the NISE Network’s practical approach to evaluation focused around an ongoing cycle of inquiry: question, investigate, reflect, and improve. This month, we’re sharing a story of TBI at work from the Children’s Discovery Museum of West Virginia (CDMWV) that demonstrates how TBI can improve practice, build capacity, and even strengthen partnerships and institutional investment. 

CDMWV is a small children’s museum in Morgantown, WV – at the time of this TBI story, they had just one full-time and one part-time staff. Over the last few years, supported by their partnership with the NISE Network, CDMWV has also developed a close collaboration with West Virginia University’s nanoscale science and technology initiative (NanoSAFE). Julie Bryan, CDMWV director, learned about TBI at the Nano and Society Workshop and decided to put it into action to test the "You Decide" activity with their young audience...[read full Partner Highlight]

For more information on the work of TBI at the Children's Discovery Museum of West Virginia, read the full Partner Highlight by Jayatri Das of the Franklin Institute, and the Regional Hub Leader for the Mid-Atlantic.

You can learn more about this approach by downloading the Team-Based Inquiry guide and other training materials here.

What Else?

Change the World: Science & Engineering Careers Fair [video highlight]
Inspiring young people to consider careers in STEM was fully supported during a two day career fair held September 2013 at the Dulles Town Center in Virginia, which was hosted by Congressman Frank Wolf and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Brad Herring, from the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, NC and NISE Net Southeast Regional Hub Leader, partnered with faculty and students from the University of Maryland MRSEC to host a booth at the event. Visitors had the opportunity to participate in a variety of hands-on activities that demonstrated the special and unexpected properties found at the nanoscale, examine tools used by nanoscientists and engineers and consider the potential societal implications of new and emerging technologies.
Job opportunity: University of Buffalo - NSF BioXFEL Science and Technology, Education and Diversity Coordinator position

Conferences and Meetings
If you're planning to present at a conference on NISE Net-related projects and want to make the community aware of these activities, please notify Kayla Berry at [email protected]. Upcoming meetings and conferences that include NISE Network participation are indicated with an asterisk.
Nano in the News  
Nanogrid, Activated by Sunlight, Breaks Down Pollutants in Water, Leaving Biodegradable Compounds. Imagine a world where water contamination as a direct result of oil spills, hydraulic fracturing, and dry cleaning practices are a reduced environmental threat due to a new remediation technique that uses photocatalytic nanogrids. A National Science Foundation-(NSF) supported scientist and her team have designed a new nanocatalyst that can break down hydrocarbons in water, leaving only biodegradable compounds behind, and can be used over and over again.
        - See NISE Net Program "Nanotechnology: Small Science, Big Deal!"
        - See NISE Net Program "Cleaning Our Water with Nanotechnology"

The Problem with Indigo. The problem with indigo (a natural dye used as the coloring agent for blue jeans) is that "in some areas of China, you can tell which colors are fashionable in New York and Paris by the color of the rivers," according to Dr. Hinestroza, professor and director of Cornell University’s textile nanotechnology laboratory. But researchers have discovered that natural fibers can be immersed in a solution of sodium permanganate and then treated with ultrasound resulting in the growth of manganese oxide molecules within tiny cellulose cavities. These molecules then react with the dyes and break them down into non-colored forms in a matter of minutes.
        - See NISE Net Program "Cleaning Our Water with Nanotechnology"
        - See NISE Net Program "Exploring Fabrication-Self Assembly (NanoDays 10)"
Turning Plastic Bags into High-Tech Materials. Researchers from the University of Adelaide have developed a "nanotechnological recycling" process for turning non-biodegradable plastic grocery bags into high-tech carbon nanotube membranes through a vaporization process. Carbon nanotubes, tiny cylinders of carbon atoms one nanometer in diameter, are the strongest materials yet discovered (and six times lighter than steel) with unique structure and properties that make their various applications to medical, sports, and energy industries highly desirable.     
        - See NISE Net Program "Nanotube Models"
        - See NISE Net Program "Balloon Nanotubes"
        - See NISE Net Forum "Energy Challenges, Nanotech Solutions?"
Nano Throughout the Year
A list of nano activities for use throughout the year is available on the NISE Net’s list of seasonal activities. Winter nano content may include the incorporation of Computer Science Education Week (December 9-15, 2013) and the science of snowflakes!

Nano Haiku
Calling all poets and authors! Seeking creative and fun haiku submissions to include in the monthly Nano Bite.

Human influence
Enviro degradation
Rescue us nano

This month’s haiku was submitted by Kayla Berry and was inspired by the potential that nanotechnology has on the remediation of human-influenced polluted ecosystems.

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Read the Nano Bite e-newsletter online at /newsletter/nano-bite-december-2013.