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Nano Bite: February 2012

Welcome to the February Nano Bite, the monthly e-newsletter for the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net).
What's new?

→ Nano Mini-Exhibition Applications Available
We are pleased to announce that the online application remains open for NISE Network museum partners to apply for a free copy of the Nano mini-exhibition. The NISE Network plans to fabricate and award up to 50 free copies of the mini-exhibition. Applications are due March 1, 2012. For details on the exhibition and application, go to the mini-exhibition application blog post.

 NanoDays Digital Kit Now Available
The digital version of the NanoDays 2012 kit is now available online: This is a great resource for school teachers, those at institutions outside of the United States, or for those who want to create multiple copies of print resources, or anyone else who did not receive a physical NanoDays 2012 kit.
What Else?

NanoDays Training Materials and Planning Guide
NanoDays 2012 is fast approaching with events starting in less than two months! As a reminder, if you have not yet done so, please check out the new training materials, which includes tips for engaging visitors, orientation slides, training videos and the planning and marketing guide.
The Making of a NanoDays Kit
Have you ever wondered what it actually takes to make the NanoDays kits? Well, it's only about 650 person-hours, 3,600 boxes, over a mile of reinforced tape, and a lot of love! Check out this great time-lapse video detailing the whole process here.

 Sharing Science Workshop and Practicum
This guide provides information and resources for informal science educators planning and hosting a Sharing Science Workshop & Practicum. The Workshop & Practicum helps to build stronger ties between universities, researchers, educators, and the community. Science museums gain enthusiastic volunteers, university faculty members appreciate the mentoring provided for their graduate students in science communication and outreach, and students appreciate the opportunity to contribute their knowledge in meaningful ways.

The Sharing Science Workshop & Practicum can be implemented by science and children's museum staff as well as other informal science educators, either separately or in collaboration with university faculty, and is highly adaptable to a variety of situations. Designed to accommodate up to 24 participants at a time, the Workshop & Practicum can be delivered in a single 6-7-hour day, or divided into two 4-hour sessions. It is often a good idea to plan the Workshop & Practicum to conclude a few weeks before a major outreach event, such as NanoDays, so that participants have a follow-up opportunity to apply their new skills as volunteers at the public outreach event.

Partner Highlight
Arizona Science Center
The Arizona Science Center has been a NISE Net partner since 2009 in the Southwest Region. Having attended the NISE Net National Programs Workshop in Madison, WI in 2011, they are preparing to perform "Attack of the Nano Scientist" on their new science stage year-round. For NanoDays, they converted one of their floor laboratories into a clean room!

The Arizona Science Center works closely with another NISE Net partner, the Arizona State University Center for Nanotechnology in Society (ASU-CNS). Together, they work on engaging public audiences on the topic of nanotechnology in society, and host regular Science Cafes at the Science Center. As one of the first recipients of the NISE Net mini-exhibition, Arizona Science Center and ASU-CNS will be collaborating with the NISE Net to create trainings for floor staff on the societal and ethical implications of nano addressed in the exhibition. For more on the Arizona Science Center's involvement with the NISE Network, read this Partner Highlight by Frank Kusiak of the Lawrence Hall of Science, the regional hub leader for the Southwest region.

Nano in the News
  • Smaller Magnetic Materials Push Boundaries of Nanotechnology: Researchers have stored and retrieved digital 1s and 0s from an array of just 12 atoms, pushing the boundaries of the magnetic storage of information to the edge of what is possible. The findings could help lead to a new class of nanomaterials for use in memory chips and disk drives.
  • Introducing the "Nano-Ear": Physicists in Germany have developed the first ever "nano-ear" capable of detecting sound on microscopic length scales with an estimated sensitivity that is six orders of magnitude below the threshold of human hearing. The device is based on a gold nanoparticle, and its inventors claim that it could be used to "listen" to biological micro-organisms as well as investigate the motion and vibrations in tiny machines.
  • Miracle Material Graphene can Distill Booze, Says Study: An international team created a membrane from graphene oxide that blocks the passage of several gases and liquids, but lets water through. This unusual property could find use in filtration or barriers for selective removal of water from materials. In the meantime, researchers found that the evaporation of only the water from a bottle of vodka sealed with the membrane made the distilled solution stronger over time.
Nano Poetry
To Nano With Care

Atoms, atoms everywhere.
An atom’s so tiny, how do you know it’s there?
At the nanoscale you cannot see.
A billionth of a meter in size it would be.
That’s 10,000 times skinnier than a strand of hair.
So how do you even know it’s there?
Charges move a point up and down,
That’s how an atom can be found.
It’s like braille allowing the blind to read,
Now scientists can explore the nanoworld indeed.
This has led to new nano-products galore.
Stronger, stain-proof, less stinky, and more.
Nano-science might cure the sick someday,
Or give us clean, cheap, energy – hooray!
But is it safe on our skin, in the water and air?
We should be sure to answer these questions with care.
New technology can be really great.
But let’s be safe about it, or we’ll mess up our fate.

Barb Sauer of the Paper Discovery Center shares her hopes and concerns about the future of nano!

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

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