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Nano Bite: July 2014

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

NISE Net: The Biggest Story in the Smallest Presentation!
Larry Bell from the Museum of Science, Boston and Paul Martin from the Science Museum of Minnesota recently presented the accomplishments and capabilities of the NISE Network at the "reverse site visit" at NSF on June 9th. With a room full of program officers and heads of two NSF directorates, the NISE Net story was condensed into a 20 minute presentation (allowing sufficient time for questions) that highlighted the Network's reach and focused on the overarching themes of building collaborations, engaging the public, and increasing the capacity of our partners.

In preparation for the presentation, the evaluation team made some calculations on NISE Network activities. Based on responses to the NanoDays reports, the team estimated that the number of individuals reached by the NanoDays kit outside of NanoDays events is over 1,000,000 and with the distribution of the last batch of Nano mini-exhibitions in 2015, a total of 90 mini-exhibitions will reach over 9 million people each year. Between NanoDays kits and mini-exhibitions, NISE Network resources reach over 10 million individuals each year!

Continue reading Larry Bell's blog post on the reverse site visit at

Online Brown-Bag Conversations
Looking for a chance to learn about what others are doing in the Network, ask questions, or share your own work? The NISE Network is hosting a bunch of free, informal, one-hour online brown-bag conversations in the coming months! We'd love to have you, or others from your staff, join us. Upcoming topics will include staff/volunteer training and marketing for the Nano mini-exhibition, adapting NISE Network materials for your local community, and nano programming for girls

To view brown-bag details and to sign up for the conversations, go to Past conversations and resources have been archived online for your viewing here.

Thursday, July 24th - 2-3pm ET [Sign up now]
Whether you're preparing to host the Nano mini-exhibition, currently have pieces on the floor, or are just looking for some new tips for staff training, join us for this first in a series of brown-bags about the Nano mini-exhibition.

Tips and Tricks for Engaging Girls in Museum Programming
Tuesday, August 5th - 4-5pm ET
[Sign up now]
Join NISE Net partners for a conversation on how to better engage girls in museum programing. Presenters will share lessons learned, resources from PBS programing SciGirls and NSF funded Girls RISE (Raising Interest in Science and Engineering) Museum Network, and some specific tips and tricks to better engage girls in upcoming NanoDays 2015 activities.

Exhibit Small Talk - Tips for Hosting the Nano Mini-Exhibition: Marketing Strategies
Wednesday, August 27th - 2-3pm ET [Sign up now]
Second in a series of brown-bags about the Nano mini-exhibition, this conversation will review the development process of the mini-exhibition, go over promotional materials developed by the NISE Network, discuss strategies for marketing Nano and ideas for adapting these resources for use by your institution.

Localizing Your NanoDays Kit: Adapting Kit Material for Local Culture and Industry
Wednesday, September 10th - 3-4pm ET [Sign up now]
Come explore with us how NISE Net partners have adapted NanoDays activities to extend and increase engagement and understanding of nano in their local communities. From creating a series of culturally based activities for camps and school outreach to using kit activities to foster closer relationships with local industry, learn how you might adapt your kit or programming for your community.
Five Things Worth Knowing about Nanoparticles and Sunscreen. As summer arrives and people start thinking about sunburns and sunscreen (and skin cancer), The University of Michigan Risk Science Center Risk Bite short video takes a look at five things worth knowing about nanoparticles in sunscreens and their safety. 
Related NISE Network activities and resources:
Clean Room Lab Tour Videos. Do you and your visitors ever wonder what happens in a Clean Room? Check out this selection of videos touring of some of these nano fabrication facilities.

Mission: Nano Online Game. The product, Mission: Nano, educates players about uses of nanotechnology in medicine and inspires them to consider careers in the STEM sectors. Players are able to lead a doctor through a series of four challenges to diagnose and treat a bone injury utilizing medical nanotechnology.
Mission: Nano
Author credit: Aaron Guerrero from Children’s Museum of Houston and Ennio Tasciotti from the Houston Methodist Research Institute

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to play the Mission: Nano game.

Funded by a NISE Network mini-grant, the Houston Methodist Research Institute (HMRI) and Rice University's Center for Technology in Teaching and Learning (CTTL) in Houston, TX partnered to develop a nanotechnology-based multimedia game app. The product, Mission: Nano, educates players about uses of nanotechnology in medicine and inspires them to consider careers in the STEM sectors.

Mission: Nano consists of a series of four challenges to diagnose and treat a bone injury utilizing medical nanotechnology. Players can choose a "story mode" where they lead the doctor to complete all four challenges or a "practice mode" to complete the four challenges as quickly as possible. Mission: Nano is currently available in web and Android versions and is hosted on the Houston Methodist Research Institute’s website:  

Mission: Nano was developed under the supervision of Dr. Ennio Tasciotti, Co-Chair of the Department of NanoMedicine, Director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine, and Scientific Director of The Surgical Advances Technology Laboratory
...continue reading the full Partner Highlight.

Find out more about what the Houston Methodist Research Institute’s NanoMedicine department is doing by visiting, or contact Aaron Guerrero of the Children’s Museum of Houston, the NISE Net South Hub and Children’s Museum Hub Leader.

ASTC Annual Conference
The early-bird registration deadline for the 2014 ASTC Annual Conference [register now] in Raleigh, NC is July 31st! The NISE Network will be hosting a number of events at this year's conference, including a special evening reception event at the Museum of Life and Science, and we would love to see you there!

Here are some events to keep in mind while you're booking your flights or registering for ASTC:
  • Pre-conference workshop "From Demonstration to Conversation: Engaging Visitors in Technology and Society," taking place Friday, October 17th from 9:00am-4:00pm. There is a $60 registration fee, which can be paid when registering for the conference.
  • The NISE Network and the Museum of Life and Science welcomes you to an open house reception special event at the Museum of Life and Science on Friday, October 17th from 4:00-7:00pm. NO COST to attend, buses will be provided from the convention center to the museum, food and drinks available for purchase. Pre-registration required; please RSVP at
  • Pre-conference tour of the Museum of Life and Science: Friday, October 17th from 10:00am-5:00pm; pre-registration and $45 fee required (includes lunch and transportation).
  • Partner breakfast: The NISE Network invites partner institutions to an informal breakfast on Monday, October 20th from 7:30am-8:30am at the Raleigh Marriott City Center. The breakfast provides partners the opportunity to learn about plans for the coming year and meet other partners from across the country.
Featured Findings: Updates from NISE Network Evaluation and Research
How do our partners stay current on nanoscience?

Evaluation and research findings from the 2013 Annual Partner Survey found that web-based resources and NISE Net’s own NanoDays kit content are keeping 64% or more of respondents current on nanoscale research. Other common methods of staying up-to-date include presentations at NISE Net meetings (52%) and relying on colleagues who have backgrounds and expertise in the area (48%). For a visual of the findings on how partners stay current on nanoscale research, read the full Evaluation and Research blog post.

Nanotechnology-Based Improvements in MRIs. Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories, along with collaborators from Rice University and the Tokyo Institute of Technology, are developing new terahertz (a frequency range between the infrared and microwave domains on the electromagnetic spectrum) detectors based on carbon nanotubes. Applications for terahertz technology could provide less intrusive security screenings for airport passengers since terahertz waves can easily penetrate fabric and other materials, be used in food inspection without impacting food quality, and potentially replace MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) technology in screening for cancer and other diseases. Researcher Junichiro Kono of Rice University states that with this technology "a hand-held terahertz detection camera that images tumors in real-time, with pinpoint accuracy" is conceivable.
→ It's officially summer! Looking for summer activities or camp ideas, check these out:
For a full list of nano activities for use throughout the year, visit
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Read the Nano Bite e-newsletter online at

Do you have something you would like to submit for inclusion in the NISE Network Nano Bite monthly e-newsletter? Please send your announcements, articles, or community acknowledgements to Kayla Berry, NISE Net Coordinator, at [email protected].