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Nano Bite: September 2015

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

  • Community News - Engaging Underserved Audiences in Nano Through NISE Net's Museum & Community Partnerships (MCP) Project, New Opportunities Through Building With Biology Project
  • Upcoming Events - National Chemistry Week, ASTC Annual Conference 2015, Online Brown-Bag Conversations: September 21, 28, 30 and October 5
  • Featured on the Website - Partnerships in the NISE Net: A Study of Partnerships Between University Scientists and Museum Professionals, National Chemistry Week
  • Science in the News - Another Milestone in Hybrid Artificial Photosynthesis
  • Nano Throughout the Year
Engaging Underserved Audiences in Nano Through NISE Net's Museum & Community Partnerships (MCP) Project

Are you looking to engage underserved audiences in your community you're not currently reaching in nanoscale science, engineering, and technology? Maybe you're seeking ways to expand upon or develop new local community-based collaborations? Do you want to help local community organizations provide high-quality STEM learning experiences for their audiences they might not otherwise provide?


The Network is continuing to build upon its experience, knowledge and network of enthusiastic partners to help museums expand their reach and engagement within their community. To support these partnerships, the NISE Net is developing a free "Explore Science" physical kit of materials intended for outreach events and programs with community-based and youth-serving organizations around nano topics. One hundred (100) Explore Science outreach kits will be made available nationwide to Network partner institutions that apply and meet application requirements; kits will be awarded on a competitive basis.


The Explore Science physical outreach kit includes more than 15 hands-on activities featuring nano topics designed for programming in informal learning settings and appropriate for classroom-style and small group environments, professional development materials such as training videos for each activity, and professional materials on planning and collaboration.


For more project and eligibility details, to learn more the outreach kit and eligible activities for these collaborations, and for additional resources such as profiles of national youth-serving organizations and tips for collaborating, please visit


Important Dates

New Opportunities Through Building with Biology Project

The "Multi-Site Public Engagement with Science (MSPES) - Synthetic Biology" project, more publicly known as "Building with Biology" [official website], has held events at eight pilot host sites across the U.S. this summer in an effort to refine and improve prototype hands-on activities and public forums around synthetic biology. Through pilot event evaluation and volunteer feedback, the project team is in the process of refining activities to improve the event to promote visitor conversations, particularly with scientists. In the summer of 2016, these events and conversations will take place at 200 sites nationwide. For science centers/museums, universities, institutions, and scientists interested in learning more about how to get involved in 2016 Building with Biology events, please fill out an Expression of Interest form so that we can provide you with project updates including physical kit application deadlines, professional development webinars, and more.

National Chemistry Week: October 18 - 24, 2015
National Chemistry Week (NCW) is a community based program of the American Chemical Society (ACS) whose annual events unite local ACS local sections, businesses, schools, and individuals in communicating the importance of chemistry to our quality of life. This year's theme is "Chemistry Colors Our World: the chemistry of food colors and fireworks, rainbows, natural dyes and pigments, and more." For more resources and to see a list of NISE Net's hands-on activities that explore chemistry, colors, and light, please visit

Are You Planning to Attend the ASTC Annual Conference 2015 in Montreal, Ontario, Canada? So Are We!
The NISE Network will host a booth in the exhibit hall featuring public engagement activities and resources around nanoscale science. The booth will also feature hands-on activities and resources relating to the Building with Biology project highlighting the topic of synthetic biology. Information will also be available about the upcoming Sustainability in Science Museums project. NISE Net's activities and information about engaging the public in nanoscale science, engineering, and technology (and also one session around synthetic biology) will be featured in the following conference sessions. Please stop by and say hello!

Online Brown-Bag Conversations: Staying Connected to the Network and Community. There is no charge to participate in any of these online brown-bag conversations.

Making Evaluation Design Decisions: When Basic Evaluation Methods Meet the Real World
Monday, September 21, 2015
2:00 - 3:00 PM Eastern -
Sign up for this conversation
Come attend this upcoming brown-bag conversation to learn more about how members of the NISE Net Evaluation team adapted basic data collection methods to support various phases of NISE Net Evaluation Studies. You'll gain new perspectives on how to implement basic methods, an understanding of the factors to consider when trying these in your own unique environments, and a sense of empowerment to work with methods that will benefit both study participants and your organization.

Findings from the Professional Impacts Summative Evaluation
Monday, September 28, 2015
2:00 - 3:00 PM Eastern
- Sign up for this conversation
Come hear the highlights from the NISE Network Professional Impacts Summative Evaluation. This longitudinal study explored how the Network impacted museum and university professionals' sense of community, understanding of nano content, and implementation of nano education. We'll share stories and details about how the Network has successfully reached professionals in these areas.

Planning a Museum and Community Partnership Project
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
2:00 - 3:00 PM Eastern - Sign up for this conversation
This conversation will provide an introduction to NISE Net's new Museum and Community Partnerships project, which will support partners' efforts to develop or improve existing partnerships with local community-based organizations, through which these partnerships will help extend their reach to underserved audiences and help community organizations provide high-quality STEM learning experiences to their audiences. Presenters will walk through the application process for receiving a physical outreach kit (100 copies will be available nationwide) and we'll also hear first-hand from a NISE Net partner institution who has built a long-standing partnership with the YMCA.
Findings from NISE Net's Public Impact Studies
Monday, October 5, 2015
2:00 - 3:00 PM Eastern
- Sign up for this conversation
Come learn about findings from several NISE Net evaluation studies focusing on the Network's public impacts. In this brown-bag, you'll get (a) a snapshot of the entirety of NISE Net's ten-year public impacts, and (b) a description of the kind of impacts that any single institution might have on its visitors.


  • Partnerships in the NISE Net: A Study of Partnerships Between University Scientists and Museum Professionals - This report describes findings from SRI's research on NISE Net-supported partnerships between university scientists and museum professionals to educate the public about nanoscale science, engineering, and technology. These kinds of partnerships have the potential to leverage the expertise of both scientists and museum professionals, which is a particularly important benefit in an area as complex and difficult to distill for public consumption as nano.
  • National Chemistry Week - Information about how to get involved and ways you can use existing NanoDays and other NISE Network materials within this year's theme: Chemistry Colors Our World: the chemistry of food colors and fireworks, rainbows, naturals dyes and pigments, and more.

Another Milestone in Hybrid Artificial Photosynthesis
Imagine a battery capable of storing energy (sunlight) captured during the summer to heat millions of homes during the winter months when sunlight is more elusive. The solar storage unit may still need to be designed but a team of researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a hybrid system - a process called artificial photosynthesis - that produces liquid fuel by using artificial plants. To accomplish this, researchers used nanowires to generate electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen captured through photosynthesis. Bacteria then combine hydrogen with carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to form methane, which can then be stored for later use. One of the researchers states that "since we still get the majority of our methane from natural gas, a fossil fuel, often from fracking, the ability to generate methane from a renewable hydrogen source is another important advance."
Time to rev those engines and get motivated for the start of a new school year!

Astronomy Day is a world-wide event observed each spring and fall, which will take place on September 19th, and is an opportunity for science centers and museums to increase public awareness about astronomy and the universe. See NISE Net's related activities and programs: Bye-bye summer, it's time for back to school, which means it's back to school field trips and afterschool programs. See NISE Net's related activities and programs:

Start Planning for National Chemistry Week (October 18 - 24, 2015). See a list NISE Net's related activities and programs that explore chemistry, colors, and light.

For a list of nano activities for use throughout the year, see NISE Net's list of seasonal activities.

October 17 - 20, 2015 - ASTC 2015 Annual Conference - Montreal, Canada
Registration now open. NISE Net will have a booth in the exhibit hall featuring public engagement activities and resources for both NISE Network and the Building with Biology project.

September 24 - 28, 2015 - iGEM 2015 Giant Jamboree - Boston, MA. An annual event where collegiate and high school iGEM teams from across the world come together to present their synthetic biology projects.

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

February 11 - 15, 2016 - American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 2016 Annual Meeting - Washington, DC


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Read the Nano Bite e-newsletter online at /newsletter/nano-bite-september-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].