2007 Annual Meeting Proceedings


Wednesday Keynote

"Please don't shout. We're not deaf, We're just not interested." A Personal Perspective on the Public and Nanoscale Science Education.

  • Wednesday, November 7, 2007
  • Speaker: Dr. Andrew Maynard, Chief Science Advisor to the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars" Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies

Wednesday Morning Sessions

Religious Reactions to Nanotechnology (and What Science Museums Might Expect in this Area)

  • Wednesday, November 7, 2007
  • Session leaders: Chris Toumey, University of South Carolina, and Tom Rockwell, Exploratorium

Chris Toumey will discuss religious reactions to nanotechnology. To date, reactions from religious leaders have been limited, especially when compared with commentaries about nanotech by secular ethicists. This probably means that religious groups do not link nanotech to issues such as abortion, stem-cell research, or sexuality. But it would be regrettable, Chris maintains, if religious groups were caught off-guard by major developments in nanotechnology, whether beneficial or otherwise, because they would then have to react in crisis conditions with little or no knowledge of nanotech.

Tom Rockwell contends that science museums in general are ambivalent at best about tackling the "religion and science" debates currently taking place in society. While natural history museums have had to grapple with evolution, other topics remain unexplored. This leaves science museums under-prepared to facilitate certain conversations with the public. Join Tom in discussing what this might mean for the ISE field regarding nanotechnology.

The Stem Cell Network: Experiments in Science Communication

  • Wednesday, November 7, 2007
  • Session leaders: Chris Toumey, University of South Carolina, and Tom Rockwell, Exploratorium
  • Wednesday, November 7, 2007
  • Session leader, Maja Horst, Copenhagen Business School

It's common for scholars of public understanding of science to advocate more dialogue and interaction regarding the communication of science research. But how do they propose this might be accomplished? This session will discuss experiments with communication of biotechnology research that were intended to affect public opinion formation. We examine two interactive installations that were designed to invite visitors to engage and interact, and thereby change the messages and research questions embodied in the installations. The installations have been presented to various sections of the Danish public with the goal of stimulating dialogue about the shaping of emerging biotechnologies by society.

Creating a Public "Stakeholdership" in Science and Technology

  • Wednesday, November 7, 2007
  • Session leader: Andrew Maynard, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

So far, efforts have focused on building awareness and understanding of science and technology, but haven't yet tackled the next step: creating "stakeholdership," a public sense of empowerment and ownership. Join keynote speaker Andrew Maynard in a dialogue that begins to identify a process for advancing the discussion.

Hot Springs, Viruses, and Nanomaterials

  • Wednesday, November 7, 2007
  • Session leader: Michelle Flenniken, Montana State University/UCSF

Viruses are the ultimate nanomachines. They have evolved to carry out their job of self-replication and evasion of their host's defense systems. They occur on the planet in all environments where life is found, including the boiling acid hot springs of Yellowstone National Park. But viruses are not all bad -- new research shows that they have the potential to be used in a new generation of materials, from drug delivery vehicles to diagnostic imaging agents.

Communicating with the Public: Nanoscience, Nanotechnology, and Education and Outreach from Research Centers

  • Wednesday, November 7, 2007
  • Session leader: Barry Kluger-Bell, Exploratorium

Nanotechnology Education Outreach (NEO) uses work on posters to develop skills for public communication. Graduate students and postdocs who attended one of the two NEO sessions in 2007 were asked to create posters, aimed at a public audience, about some of the exciting science, engineering, and technology from their own research on the nanoscale. Education directors attending NEO created similar posters on their Education and Outreach work. During the NEO workshop, an Exploratorium science writer worked with the group on communicating about science to the general public. These posters were displayed and poster authors were given feedback on their posters by NEO staff and their peers. The revised posters that resulted are on display in this session.

Act Locally: Forging Effective Research Center-Museum Partnerships

  • Wednesday, November 7, 2007
  • Session leaders: Carol Lynn Alpert, Museum of Science, Boston, and Timothy Miller, Museum of Science, Boston

How are we to keep up with the job of interpreting advances in nanoscale science and engineering for our public audiences when nano research is advancing at such a rapid pace? How can we afford to update our programs, exhibits, and media so that they don't fall quickly out of date? NISE Net is on a mission to help catalyze the development of effective, funded educational outreach collaborations between regional nano research centers and science museums. Whether you are connected with a research center or with a science museum, join us and share your experience in collaborative outreach, and help us strategize how to facilitate the forging of new partnerships around the nation.

Wednesday Afternoon Sessions

Interpreting Nano for the Public: What We"ve Learned about Exhibits and Programs

  • Wednesday, November 7, 2007
  • Session leaders: Kirsten Ellenbogen, Science Museum of Minnesota, and Christine Reich, Museum of Science, Boston

NISE evaluators have gathered data from almost two thousand museum visitors in an effort to test practices for delivering nanoscience exhibits, programs, and forums. Our evaluation has focused on a number of critical factors involved in learning about nano, including attraction, content, enjoyment, relevance, and usage. Problematic issues that we have dealt with include vocabulary, innovative media, social science content, and attracting and engaging a diverse audience. In this workshop, you will compare evaluation findings, consider implications, and use project findings to try your hand at writing labels, revising program scripts and forum scenarios, and developing exhibit approaches. Issues to address in the future will also be discussed.

Using Forums as a Model for Public Engagement

  • Wednesday, November 7, 2007
  • Session leaders: Troy Livingston, Museum of Life and Science, Chris Toumey, University of South Carolina, Cynthia Needham, ICAN Productions, and Cate Alexander, The National Technology Coordination Office

This session will compare several different styles of public engagement forums on nanotech, including the focus-group model such as NISE Net forums, university-based miniclasses such as the South Carolina Citizens" School of Nanotechnology (SCCSN), facilitated deliberations as part of a larger nanotechnology dissemination project (Convergence and the Power of Small), and a planned series of Web-based dialogs with a variety of audiences.

The Role of Art in Science Museums

  • Wednesday, November 7, 2007
  • Session leader: Jennifer Frazier, Exploratorium

Artwork can be found in many science museums. This session will explore working with artists to create exhibits from the museum"s perspective. Through a panel presentation and discussion, we'll explore questions such as the difference between an art piece and an exhibit, the advantages and challenges of working with artists, and whether art pieces should be evaluated by the same metrics as more traditionally developed exhibits. Panelists will include Tom Rockwell (Exploratorium), Eric Siegel (New York Hall of Science), and Peggy Monahan (Children"s Discovery Museum).

Science Communication Training Roundtable

  • Wednesday, November 7, 2007
  • Session leaders: Timothy Miller, Museum of Science, Boston, and Carol Lynn Alpert, Museum of Science, Boston

Let"s gather round and share the various techniques being used in research centers and science museums and in collaborative efforts between them to help train researchers in public communication skills. One of the goals of the NISE Research Center-Informal Science Education partnership development strand (RISE) is to facilitate the growth of training programs on a regional basis.

Lateral Thinking

  • Wednesday, November 7, 2007
  • Session leaders: Andrea Bandelli, DECIDE - Deliberative Citizens Debate, and Auke Touwslager, informationlab

NISE is a unique network that connects museums, research institutions, and educational bodies. As such, it is exploring and implementing strategies and tools in the domain of collaboration, design, and community building that constitute a critical body of knowledge. How can we identify the "knowledge byproducts" of NISE that can be further exploited, and how can we leverage this know-how to make it valuable for other fields of work and other institutions?

Thursday Keynote

Identify Your Publics

  • Thursday, November 7, 2007
  • Speaker: Rick Borchelt, Director of Communications, Genetics & Public Policy Center

Thursday Morning Sessions

Creating the Best Nano Workshops Ever

  • Thursday, November 8, 2007
  • Session leaders: Vicki Coats, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Brad Herring, Museum of Life and Science, and Amy Grack Nelson, Science Museum of Minnesota

After two full years of collaborative work, NISE Net is undertaking regional and national workshops as an important strategy for sharing our resources and building on our work together. What content, ideas, and methods create the best workshop experiences? Hear findings from recent NISE workshops, and share your thoughts about your prior professional development experiences. Join us in this important discussion to help identify the best methods for future collaboration between NISE Net and partner organizations. Participants from past NISE workshops are encouraged to join us.

ASTC and NISE Net: Building Informal Learning Networks

  • Thursday, November 8, 2007
  • Session leaders: Margaret Glass, ASTC, and Wendy Pollock, ASTC

In 30 years, the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) has grown from a small collection of founding institutions to an international professional organization that represents the largest network of interactive science centers in the world. Come hear how this association fits into the informal science education landscape -- both past and present -- and what it has learned about network building. Join us in an exchange of ideas and practices to explore how ASTC can contribute to NISE Net as it expands its collaborations across informal and formal learning communities. Scientists and researchers who may not be familiar with ASTC are particularly encouraged to come.

NanoDays Planning Party

  • Thursday, November 8, 2007
  • Session leaders: Susan Koch, Science Museum of Minnesota, Gail Jones, North Carolina State University, and Francisco Monar, Columbia University

What are you doing for your 2008 NanoDays event?

  • Nano science demonstrations?
  • "Nano Survivor" game show?
  • Public forum on environmental impacts of nano-manufacturing?
  • Something completely different?

Join us for this NanoDays planning get-together to hear from institutions that have held successful NanoDays events, share your ideas, and trade suggestions. This will be a working session, so if you've held a nano public event in the past, bring pictures, agendas, and programs that you can share. If you"re new to nano public outreach, this is a chance to gather ideas, get recommendations for speakers and topics, and learn from your peers.

32 Short Films about Nano

  • Thursday, November 8, 2007
  • Session leader: Carol Lynn Alpert, Museum of Science, Boston

NISE Net educators are clamoring for a ten-minute introductory video to use in exhibits, at forums, in programs, and on the web. The MOS Strategic Projects group intends to produce just such a video, with a multimedia ancillary. Come help us workshop out some ideas. The format we are proposing is nonlinear and nondidactic: It looks and sounds nothing like the standard research center narrative. We want to intersperse brief cartoons that get across fundamental properties of the nanoscale, with insightful video clips from insiders and observers (and simple Flash interactive pieces for the multimedia version). Think "32 Short Films about Nano." In this workshop, we'll split into pairs or trios or groups of various sizes, brainstorm segments, storyboard them, and assemble them on the wall. NISE Net will provide the giant sticky pads and markers; you provide fresh ideas and fun.