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Nano Bite: November 2011

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

What's new?

Applications are now open for NanoDays 2012 Physical kits! NanoDays, a week of community-based educational outreach events to raise public awareness of nano across the United States, will be March 24 through April 1, 2012. From now through December 8, 2011 we invite you to fill out an online application for a physical kit containing all of the materials and resources you need to start planning your community events.
The 2012 kits are currently in production, and include a slew of new resources, educational activities, and more. For example, in response to feedback, this year's kit includes two new activities that require only minimal staffing:
  • I Spy Nano!: A game in which visitors try to spot nano-related objects on a game board, learning about the different ways nano is in the world around us.
  • Build a Giant Puzzle!: A hands-on activity in which visitors assemble large building blocks to piece together nano-related images, learning about the nano connection for a variety of real-life objects.

Looking for ideas for NanoDays 2012? Here are a few highlights from NanoDays past:
  • At last year's NanoDays, the Museum of Science, Boston paired NanoDays kit activity tables with tables staffed by industry partners. Visitors could explore a nano concept through the kit activities and then see a real-life application of that concept right next to the activities. For more on how the Museum of Science, Boston incorporated industry partners into their NanoDays, read the blog post here.
  • Science Discovery Center of Oneonta on the State University of New York (SUNY) Oneonta campus hosted an activity fair, demonstrations, and planetarium shows. The fair also featured their "Passport to Nano" program. Visitors received a stamp for their passport at each of the activity tables. Once the passport was complete, they received a prize bag featuring several items from the NanoDays kit (tattoos, the paper fold-your-own buckyballs, etc). For more on the Science Discovery Center of Oneonta's NanoDays, contact Kelly Gallagher.
  • As part of their NanoDays events, the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque asked teachers to have their students write essays that describe "nano." The winning author received a fluorescent zebrafish. The winning teacher, Adam Brechtel, teaches at Native American Community Academy, an Albuquerque area charter high school. Brechtel has since started to collaborate with a PhD candidate from the Nanoscience and Microsystems degree program at UNM. For more on UNM's NanoDays, contact Heather Armstrong.
  • The South Florida Science Museum held evening events: Nano Nights at the Museum. The Museum stayed open from 6-10pm and hosted workshops with the activities from the NanoDays kit. They also made nano ice cream with liquid nitrogen and talked to guests about the effects that the liquid nitrogen had on the ice cream mixture to make for a very smooth and creamy consistency. For more on South Florida Science Museum's NanoDays, contact Sara Bogotch.

Materials Research Society 2011 Fall Meeting
The Materials Research Society will be holding their 2011 Fall Meeting in Boston, MA from November 28 - December 2. NISE Net-sponsored activities will include Mastering Science Presentations seminars, hands-on activities, a live presentation on using nanotechnologies for water purification, and more. For the full list of events relating to the NISE Network at the meeting, click here.

Nano & Me Videos
Meet Macro and Nano, two friends who are very different sizes. Nano has some very surprising properties! These short 30 second clips highlight some simple fundamentals about the nanoscale.
What Else?

→ National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Article: Nanoscience with 3rd Graders
Troy Dassler recently wrote an article for the October 2011 issue of the NSTA's Science and Children magazine about his work at Aldo Leopold Elementary School setting up a lab and introducing nanoscience to his young students. The NSTA article has been made available in this NISE Net Blog post. Fans of Coco the gecko, one of the stars of Troy's article, will be pleased to know that he has safely re-appeared in a cabinet drawer after a week-long disappearance from his habitat.

 CNS-UCSB Seeks Postdoctoral Researchers to Explore Nanotechnology's Societal Impacts
The Center for Nanotechnology in Society at the University of California, Santa Barbara is recruiting 1-2 postdoctoral researchers to join their Interdisciplinary Research Groups. Positions begin as early as January, 2012. Please visit for position details and application procedures.

Partner Highlight
Port Discovery Children's Museum
Did you catch the new Nano mini-exhibition on display at the NISE Network booth at ASTC this year? After the exhibit hall closed down, the mini-exhibition made its way to its new home at the Port Discovery Children's Museum in Baltimore. For more on Port Discovery's plans to incorporate even more nano into their institution, and how they used a NISE Net mini-grant to create their "Small Wonders" activity cabinet, read this Partner Highlight by Jayatri Das of the Franklin Institute, the regional hub leader for the Mid-Atlantic region.

Nano in the News
  • Stanford Researchers Build Transparent, Super-Stretchy Skin-Like Sensor: Researchers have used a transparent film of single-walled carbon nanotubes to create a transparent, highly-elastic skin-like pressure sensor. The nanotubes act as tiny springs, enabling the sensor to accurately measure the force on it. The researchers hope that this sensor could be used in touch-sensitive prosthetic limbs or robots.
  • Mechanical Engineer Creates Robot Venus Flytrap: A professor of engineering at the University of Maine has created a robot version of a Venus Flytrap using a material he invented called Ionic Polymeric Metal Composite (IPMC). IPMC is a nanomaterial that can mimic muscle function, generating a very small voltage when touched.
  • Science, Skin and Ink - Slide Show: This slide show highights science-related tattoos, including a couple tattoos of carbon atom patterns. More specifically, they are the two-dimensional pattern of buckyballs, and will exactly match your cardboard buckyball if you flatten it back out (which I did - or you can take my word for it).

Nano Haiku

Forget jazzercise
Scouts leave the 80s behind
Girls need nano now

Former Girl Scout and current member of the NISE Net, Anna Lindgren-Streicher of the Museum of Science, Boston shared the above haiku in response to the USA Today story New Badges Get Girl Scouts Prepared for 21st Century. Of particular interest to nano-enthusiasts: "Gone is 1987's Fashion, Fitness and Makeup badge; in its place, a Science of Style badge has girls explore use of nanotechnology in fabrics and the chemistry of sunscreens."

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

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