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Nano Bite: June and July 2015

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

  • Letter From the Director - NISE Net at its Peak and Exploring New Possibilities
  • Upcoming Events - Online Brown-Bag Conversations: Staying Connected to the Network
  • Featured on the Website - From Lab to Fab: Pioneers in Nano-Manufacturing; Interference Acrylics: Painting with Structural Color
  • Community News - New Project Opportunities for Existing and New NISE Network Partners; June 2015 NISE Network-Wide Meeting
  • Nano in the News - Building the World's Smallest Faucet
NISE Net at its Peak and Exploring New Possibilities

Even as our ten years of funding from the National Science Foundation comes to an end, the NISE Net's capacity to reach the public is at its peak! The numbers in our year-10 annual report show a total of 598 organizations that regularly participate in NISE Net activities, of which 352 are museums or other kinds of informal science education groups, 203 are groups from universities, and 43 are a variety of other kinds of organizations.

Continue to the full blog post...

Did you know that over 1600 NanoDays kits have been distributed throughout the country, many of which are used for programming outside of NanoDays, and that nearly 200 mini-grants have been awarded allowing partners to adapt and incorporate nano educational activities into ongoing programs or to bring nano education to under-served and under-represented audiences. Soon a total of 93 Nano mini-exhibitions will have been deployed across the U.S., some stationary and some shared at a total of 149 organizations, allowing NISE Net educational resources to reach over 10 million members of the public each year! So even though our main NISE Net grant is ending, we are an organization at peak capacity for reaching public audiences.

We have been talking with a variety of folks about this and a few spin-off projects are already underway. The most closely connected spin-off is being made possible by a supplement to our NISE Net award from NSF that will allow us to develop kit of materials to support the expansion and/or development of new Museum and Community Partnerships to reach underserved audiences. Another spin-off is the Building with Biology project that focuses on public engagement through conversations and activities about synthetic biology, and will also entail the development of a kit. Also underway is the Sustainability in Science Museums project, aimed at engaging the public in sustainability through the educational power of science centers and museums, also to include a kit of activities and programs [more about these projects below].

And this is just the start. We are actively exploring a number of other possibilities over the summer. It's not over. So let me offer these words, also expressed during the recent NISE Network-Wide Meeting:

TAKE THE LEAD on building upon your NISE Net experience, go forth and do great things, and bring ideas and projects back to your colleagues in the NISE Net.

USE THE TOOLS to continue to engage audiences in learning about nano and to build the capacities of your colleagues and your institutions on topics beyond nano.

STAY IN TOUCH because there is still a lot going on and continuing to work together, we can continue to do great things.


Larry Bell
Director, Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network

  Online Brown-Bag Conversations: Staying Connected to the Network
NISE Net Brown-BagUpcoming online brown-bag conversations will range in topic and partner opportunities. In future conversations, the NISE Net Evaluation Team will share results from studies focusing on the public and professional impacts of the Network, and project teams will also provide introductions to the Museum and Community Partnerships and Building with Biology projects, discussing ways for partners to get involved and answer questions!

Building a Museum and Community Partnership Project
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
2:00 - 3:00 PM Eastern

Sign up for this conversation!

Join this conversation for an introduction to NISE Net's new Museum and Community Partnerships project, which will support efforts by Network partners to develop or improve existing partnerships with local community-based organizations. Through these partnerships, museums will be able to extend their reach to underserved audiences and help community organizations provide high-quality STEM learning experiences to their audiences. During the brown-bag, presenters will introduce the project and walk through the application process for receiving a physical outreach kit (100 copies will be available nationwide). We'll also hear first-hand from a NISE Net partner institution who has built a long-standing partnership with the YMCA. We hope you can join us - and bring your questions!

  • From Lab to Fab: Pioneers in Nano-Manufacturing - "From Lab to Fab" is a video produced by the Museum of Science, Boston in collaboration with the Center for High-rate Nanomanufacturing, and follows the story of two nanotech entrepreneurs navigating the rocky road from discovery to commercialization. Nanomanufacturing is creating products ranging from stronger, lighter weight sporting equipment to tiny implantable body sensors and materials used in bullet-proof vests to help save lives, and for aircraft flooring that is aiding in reducing carbon emissions.
  • Interference Acrylics: Painting with Structural Color - in this NISE Net short hands-on activity, students learn about structural color while exploring interference paints. Students compare interference acrylic paints to normal acrylic paints and are able to observe how the pain color changes when applied to different paper or when viewed from different angles.

New Project Opportunities for Existing and New NISE Network Partners!

NISE NetMuseum and Community Partnerships
This new opportunity is for existing NISE Net partners to reach underserved audiences in your community you aren't currently engaging in nano, by building or expanding local museum and community partnerships. NISE Net and other national youth-serving organizations will develop a variety of professional development and public engagement resources. These will be available as both physical and digital kits (100 physical kits will be available nationwide). The physical kit application period will open in September 2015. Learn more about this project.

BuildingwithBiologyBuilding with Biology
This new project opportunity for new and existing NISE Net partners is focused on creating two-way conversations in museums among scientists and public audiences about the emerging field of synthetic biology and societal implications. Partners are encouraged to apply for a Building with Biology kit, which will include hands-on activities and programs to stimulate these conversations. 200 kits will be available nationwide; application period early 2016. Learn more about incorporating synthetic biology into your programming.

sustainABLESustainability in Science Museums
This opportunity for new and existing NISE Net partners uses the educational power of science centers and museums to engage public audiences in sustainability. Arizona State University's Sustainability in Science Museums program will create trainings, activity toolkits, and other resources to promote sustainability. Fifty hands-on activity kits will be available nationwide in 2017 and 2018. This project is a partnership of the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives and the Center for Engagement and Training in Science at ASU. Learn more about this project opportunity.

  June 2015 NISE Network-Wide Meeting
The 2015 Network-Wide Meeting took place June 3-4 in Saint Paul, Minnesota and was attended by nearly 300 NISE Network partners. This meeting featured outstanding partner work and collaborations in meeting sessions and throughout a two-day showcase. Digital versions of the program, plenary presentations and concurrent sessions, attendee lists, and select photos from the meeting are available online at /events/network-wide-and-regional-meetings/2015-network-wide-meeting.


Building the World's Smallest Faucet
By Luke Donforth, University of Vermont

NISE Net has been around for a decade, so we all know that making things small can make them behave differently. But in new very-cool research, scientists have extended this to Superfluid Helium (which only exists near absolute zero temperature). Superfluids are already interesting in a lot of ways, like having no friction and the ability to climb walls. But it turns out that if you confine them to nano-sized pipes, instead of flowing faster (like when you mostly cover the end of a garden hose with your thumb) the superfluid actually slows down. An international collaboration of scientists worked together to build and model the world's smallest sprinkler, and the closest physical approximation yet to theoretical one-dimensional Luttinger Liquids. Read the full story for a description of drilling holes with a beam of electrons, and how an accident in the lab helped make it all work out.

Popular science article on the research:

Link to research paper in Science Advances (peer reviewed, open access journal):

See related NISE Net activities and programs

Summertime is a beloved time of year by so many, and provides so many wonderful teachable moments in and out of the formal classroom. Whether you're planning summer camps or looking to bring part of summer indoors for your visitors, NISE Net has many activities to engage audiences in nanoscience!

Sun and sand related activities
Summer Camp For a list of nano activities for use throughout the year, see NISE Net's list of seasonal activities.
July 14 - 18, 2015 -  Visitor Studies Association Conference - Indianapolis, IN
Registration is now open! This year's VSA Conference includes several NISE Network Presentations focused on the public and professional impacts of the NISE Network as wells as on evaluation capacity building.

October 17 - 20, 2015 -  ASTC 2015 Annual Conference - Montreal, Canada
Registration now open (early bird rates until July 31). NISE Net will have a booth in the exhibit hall featuring public engagement activities and resources.

Nov. 29 - Dec. 4, 2015 -  2015 MRS Fall Meeting - Boston, MA

Follow the NISE Net on Social Media!
Nano Haiku
Submitted by Luke Donforth, Physics Department, University of Vermont
Nanoscale pipes slow
quantum superfluid flow
to pressure that's low.

Read the Nano Bite e-newsletter online at /newsletter/nano-bite-june-and-july-2015.

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 opportunities to Kayla Berry at [email protected].