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The Nation’s Largest Public Outreach Effort in Nanoscale Informal Science Education
For the second year in a row, NanoDays™ 2009 will launch a nationwide festival of educational programs about nanoscale science and engineering and its potential impact on the future. The largest public outreach effort in nanoscale informal science education, NanoDays events, organized by the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net), will take place March 28 - April 5, 2009, at over 200 science museums, research centers, and universities across the country from Maine to Hawaii.
Both children and adults will explore the tiny world of atoms, molecules, and nanoscale forces. Most NanoDays sites will combine simple hands-on activities for young people with presentations on current research for adults. NanoDays activities demonstrate the unexpected properties of materials at the nanoscale -- sand that won’t get wet even under water, water that won’t spill from a teacup, and colors that depend upon particle size. These events will bring university researchers together with science museum educators to create unique, new learning experiences for both children and adults to explore the miniscule world.
National polls have found that up to 70% of the American people are simply not interested in science. When it comes to science and technology policy issues, 90% say they are really turned off.
But, a January 9, 2009 National Research Council report concluded that events such as Nano Days can help increase awareness and interest in science.
“There is abundant evidence that these programs and settings, and even everyday experiences such as a walk in the park, contribute to people's knowledge and interest in science, says a new report from the National Research Council.”
The report said that experiences such as Nano Days can also improve science learning outcomes for women and minorities, and may also support academic gains for children and young people.
NanoDays highlights at specific sites across the nation include:
- On Saturday, March 28, at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, North Carolina, Duke University environmental science and policy professor David Hinton will display his work on Medaka fish and nanoparticles; Duke assistant biology professor Emily Bernhardt will demonstrate the impact of nanosilver on bacteria; and Dr. Mark Wiesner from Duke's Center for the Environmental Implications of NanoTechnology (CIENT) will address the behavior of nanoscale materials in ecosystems.
- On Saturday, March 28, the Museum of Science, Boston kicks off its NanoDays activities with Harvard professor Joanna Aizenberg, who discusses how ideas from nature can inspire engineering projects, and the Amazing Nano Brothers Juggling Show. In the show, which is also featured Saturday, April 4, comic performers Dan Foley and Joel Harris romp their way through the mysteries of the atomic world juggling back-to-back, in the dark, and from atop 7-foot unicycles.
- On Sunday, March 29, at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, volunteers from the National Society of Black Engineers and Big Brothers, Big Sisters will offer nano demonstrations.
- On Saturday, April 4, the Pennsylvania State Center for Nanotechnology Education & Utilization, will provide high school juniors and seniors with information on nanotechnology and statewide nano education.
- On Saturday, April 4, the Materials Research Society will be hosting a NanoDays booth at the San Diego Science Festival.
- On Tuesday, April 7, the Franklin Institute will host a science café about nanotechnology at a local restaurant in partnership with Café Scientifique Philadelphia.