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Nano Bite: June 2012

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

What's new?

NanoDays Report Drawing Winners
We have two randomly drawn winners who submitted their online NanoDays reports by the May 1st deadline. Both will be receiving additional educational materials to use with their visitors:
Thank you to everyone who filled out a NanoDays Report. We've received all but six reports - a 97% response rate - by far the highest since the launch of NanoDays. Thank you!

The NanoDays team has been going through the completed reports, and we are excited to be able to share some preliminary statistics about the usage of different kit components. Of the 214 who filled out their reports by May 15th, nearly everyone (99%) used the Exploring activities. The games were new to the kits this year, and 90% of you reported using them. Large numbers of you also used the educational posters (76%) and the nano and society posters (70%). We were also excited to see that many of you used the training materials, including the orientation powerpoint (50%), the how-to video (46%), the tips sheets (87%), the key concepts guide (67%) and the universal design guide (37%).

We will let you know more about what we learned from the reports in the coming months, and will post a summary of the reports on when it's complete.

 Network Communication Study
The NISE Network is lucky to have a fantastic team of evaluators to help us improve our work and understand the impact of the Network. Many of you have participated in evaluation studies over the years (thank you!), so we thought you might be interested in some of the findings of those studies.

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 over the net few months in our Featured Finding section, and you can also read the whole report at

Featured Finding
NanoDays makes nano content seem "doable." Other messages conveyed through the kit: "nano can be fun and exciting," "nano is all around us," "nano can have a significant impact on people, " and "nano is a topic that should be taught to the public." Actively involved partners also reported that the quality of the kit materials and activities represents the professionalism of the Network.

What Else?

MRS Fall 2012 Call for Papers
The MRS 2012 Fall Meeting in Boston November 26-30, 2012 is having an Educational Symposium ZZ - Communicating Social Relevancy in Materials Science and Engineering Education. The Call for Papers lists a deadline of June 19, 2012 for abstract submission. If you have any questions or suggestions regarding topics, ancillary events, panel sessions or invited speakers, please contact one of the organizers listed at the end of the Call for Papers announcement.

 To Think, To Write, To Publish
This two-part, multi-day workshop will bring together emerging writers and early career science and innovation policy scholars - along with creative writing and journalism professors, museum professionals, and editors of mainstream publications to immerse themselves in the art and business of nonfiction storytelling.

Participants will attend workshops in Washington, DC and Tempe, AZ and will be guided for an entire year. Travel expenses to attend the workshops will be paid, along with an honorarium. For complete instructions and details, go to

We're looking forward to all of the wonderful nano-haikus that participants are sure to create!

Bio Flash Mob Video
For the Cambridge Science Festival, the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT put on a "Bio Flash Mob" in which scientists, students, and community members acted out targeted delivery of therapeutics to a cancer cell.
Partner Highlight
Mining, Metallurgy, and Moving with the Duluth Children's Museum
In April, the Duluth Children's Museum joined forces with the Science Museum of Minnesota to represent the NISE Network at the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration conference in Duluth, MN. Nanofiltration was a highlight at this year's meeting, so those who stopped by the trade show were intrigued to learn about the NISE Net's resources and see educational activities first-hand. Most popular were the Exploring Size - Ball Sorter activity from this year's NanoDays kit, which demonstrates filtration, and the Exploring Products - Nano Sand activity from last year's kit, which engaged visitors in the possible real-world applications of this material for mining. For more on the Duluth Children's Museum's nano activities and their move to a new facility, read this Partner Highlight by Christina Akers of the Science Museum of Minnesota, the regional hub leader for the Midwest region.

Nano in the News
  • Jack Andraka, 15, Wins Intel Science Competition for Pancreatic Cancer Research: Andraka, a 15-year-old from Maryland, developed a test for pancreatic cancer that is 28 times cheaper and faster than current tests, and 100 times more sensitive. The test can detect cancer with 90% accuracy. Click here to watch Jack explain his prize-winning research, which makes good use of carbon nanotubes.

    For a NISE Net program that explores similar concepts, check out Treating Tumors with Gold.

  • Nanocomposite Fillings Kill Bacteria and Regenerate the Tooth: Researchers at the University of Maryland have developed a nanocomposite that can be used not only as a filling for a cavity, but also can kill any remaining bacteria in the tooth and regenerate structure lost to decay. The nanocomposite is made of calcium phosphate nanoparticles that regenerate tooth minerals, and silver nanoparticles and quaternary ammonium to kill the remaining bacteria in the tooth.
  • Metamaterials Step Into the Light: Researchers in England and Spain have constructed what may be the first practical metamaterial that manipulates visible light. A silver-and-glass nanofishnet structure brings the optics of metamaterials into the range of light we can see. The researchers predict it could be used for optical switches and finely controlled laser pulses.
  • Through a Glass, Clearly: MIT researchers have used a new way to create nanotextures on the surface of glass that produce an array of conical features, is self-cleaning and resists fogging and glare. They hope it can be made using an inexpensive manufacturing process that could be applied to optical devices, electronics screens, solar panels, and windows.

Nano Haikus
A young man's finest weapon
Cancer cannot hide

Sune Chunhasuwan of the Museum of Science created the above haiku in reference to the work of Jack Andraka, who developed a method to detect pancreatic cancer using carbon nanotubes.

A Network-wide endeavor.
Here are our findings.

Gina Svarovsky of the Science Museum of Minnesota writes about the recently completed Network Communication Study that was highlighted above.

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

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