Skip to main content

Nano Bite: January 2012

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

What's new?

NanoDays 2012 Physical Kits Awarded
Regional hub leaders are contacting NanoDays Physical Kit applicants individually regarding awards. As always, making decisions was a difficult process, with only 225 Physical Kits to award. We encourage those who were not awarded a Physical Kit to utilize the digital materials in their ongoing education efforts. The new 2012 Digital Kit will be posted here by January 15th:
NanoDays 2012 Physical Kits Shipping Soon
Kits will be shipped in early January. Please note that the Kit will come in three separate boxes this year:
  1. Very Large Box containing almost everything.
  2. Flat Box with the Build a Giant Puzzle activity.
  3. Small, insulated package containing nano gold (which must not freeze!). Please do not let this box sit outside on a loading dock. For more on what happens when nano gold freezes read the blog post Black Gold...Not the Texas Tea Variety.
Nano Mini-Exhibition Applications Now Available
We are pleased to announce that online applications are now available 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, check out the mini-exhibition application blog post.

 New in the Catalog: Zoom into a Blue Morpho Butterfly and Lotus Leaf
  • Zoom into the nanostructures that manipulate light on the wing of Blue Morpho Butterflies in this narrated video. Starting with a normal digital camera, the zoom travels all the way down to the 200 nanometer structures that produce the beautiful blue iridescent color of the Blue Morpho.
  • In the companion video, Zoom into a Lotus Leaf, take an up-close look at the nanostructures that allow the leaf to repel water so effectively.
    • The Lotus Leaf Effect cart demo shows how nature can inspire nanotechnologies by demonstrating how the nanoscale features on a surface can influence how a material behaves at the macroscale. Visitors learn that lotus leaves are self-cleaning due to the particular features on their surface.
For more on helping to provide understanding of the nanoscale size, the Scale Ladder shows how objects are related by size. This diagram can be included as an exhibition graphic, or used as a template and adapted for different content or graphical contexts.

What Else?

Guides Available to Help Incorporate Universal Design into Exhibits and Programs
The Inclusive Audiences team has made resources available to help increase professional and institutional capacity to effectively engage a wide range of museum visitors.
  • Universal Design Guidelines: Exhibits: These are basic concepts and guidelines for creating exhibits that are as accessible as possible for museum visitors with a broad range of abilities and disabilities.
  • Universal Design Guidelines: Programs: These guidelines describe ways educators can develop and implement public programs such as interpretation carts, stage demonstrations, and science theater so that they are inclusive of the wide range of museum visitors.
Material Marvels with Ainissa Ramirez - Graphene
In this video, Dr. Ainissa  Ramirez discusses how a layer of carbon that is one atom thick, called graphene, will revolutionize our lives. Discovered by scientists who won the Nobel prize, graphene can be found in everyday pencils, is incredibly strong and super-conductive.

Partner Highlight
Imaginarium of South Texas
The Imaginarium of South Texas, in Laredo, TX has been an involved member of the NISE Network since 2008, when they first started hosting NanoDays events. This past year they took their programming to a new level by adopting the Alice in Nanoland children's book and making it all their own.

As part of a STEM Weeks series that began in 2009, the Imaginarium hosted a Nanotechnology Week in 2011 in conjunction with NanoDays. They used the 2011 NanoDays kit activities during their week of hands-on nano education programming. However, the real buzz at the museum was centered on the week's puppet show. The Imaginarium staff adapted the book Alice in Nanoland into a stage puppet show, and it was a crowd hit! Kids requested this puppet show all week, and parents loved the playful ingenuity. For more on the Imaginarium of South Texas' activities, read this Partner Highlight by Aaron Guerrero of the Children's Museum of Houston, the regional hub leader for the South region. To find out more about the program directly, please contact Lisa Chappa at the Imaginarium of South Texas.

Nano in the News
  • Cotton Fabric Cleans Itself When Exposed to Ordinary Sunlight: Scientists are reporting development of a new cotton fabric that cleans itself of stains and bacteria when exposed to ordinary sunlight. The fabric uses a coating made of nanoparticles from a compound of titanium dioxide and nitrogen, the white material used in everything from white paint to sunscreen lotions. Titanium dioxide has been used to kill microbes in items such as self-cleaning windows and odor-free socks. Previous self-cleaning cotton fabrics only work when exposed to ultraviolet rays. This new fabric self-cleans when exposed to ordinary sunlight, and the coating remains intact after washing and drying.
  • Researchers Figure Out How to Outperform Nature's Photosynthesis: Researchers have created a solar-powered bionanodevice that works twice as fast as nature to produce hydrogen biofuel.

Nano Haiku

Got no stains on me
Nanowhiskers keep me clean
I love nanopants!

Keith Ostfeld of the Children's Museum of Houston shares his passion for stain resistant pants. For more on Keith's aversion to stains, check out his O Wow Moment with Mr. O video I Got No Stains on Me.

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

Check out the NISE Net on: