Tag Archives: Catherine McCarthy

December 2014 issue of the Nano Bite (from the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network) features last day (Dec. 1, 2014) to apply for NanoDays 2015 physical kit and a bit about a medieval cleric who* ‘unwove’ light

Depending on your timezone, there are still a few hours left to submit an online application for a NanoDays 2015 physical kit. From a Sept. 15, 2014 posting by Catherine McCarthy for NISENet (Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network),

Apply now for a NanoDays 2015 physical kit!
NanoDays 2015 will be held from March 28 through April 5, 2015. NanoDays is a week of community-based educational outreach events to raise public awareness of nanoscale science, technology and engineering throughout the United States. NanoDays kits are currently in production and will be ready for distribution in early 2015. 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; applications are due December 1, 2014.

 

We’re in Year 10 of funding for NISE Net, what’s going to happen to NanoDays?

This is the final NanoDays physical kit that will be funded through the current NISE Net award. Beyond 2015, we encourage you to continue to host NanoDays and strengthen local partnerships by using this kit (and any previous kits you have). We’ve set dates for the next five years to promote national participation in NanoDays in the years to come.

Future NanoDays will be held:

  • 2016: March 26-April 3
  • 2017: March 25-April 2
  • 2018: March 31-April 8
  • 2019: March 30-April 7
  • 2020: March 28-April 5

The NISE Network leadership is seeking opportunities to continue NanoDays after 2015, so stay tuned for further information!

Who can participate in NanoDays?
NanoDays kits are intended for use in public events; most host organizations are informal science education institutions and public outreach programs of nanoscience research centers. We invite you and your organization to participate in NanoDays 2015, whether or not you have previous experience with nano-related public outreach activities.

For anyone unfamiliar with the NanoDays programs, the post goes on to provide more details.

Here’s more about the upcoming International Year of Light (IYL)  mentioned in my Nov. 7, 2014 post,

What’s Nano about Light?
The United Nations has declared that 2015 is the International Year of Light (IYL) and light-based technologies. This global initiative helps to highlight for the public the importance of light and optical technologies in ones’ everyday life and it’s role in the development of society and the future. Endorsed by the International Council of Science, the International Year of Light 2015 has more than 100 partners from more than 85 countries!

Are you looking for ways to get involved?

There’s this tidbit about a special event featuring the University of Vermont physics department, light, and a local watershed (from the newsletter),

A Bi-Polar Affair Captivates Visitors with EnLIGHTening Nanoscale Science

By Luke Donforth, The University of Vermont

The University of Vermont (UVM) Physics Department and ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center have a long collaborative relationship, through which the NISE Network has provided an excellent framework to help strengthen and deepen. Although an institution of formal learning, UVM values and contributes to informal education in the surrounding community.

Recently, the UVM Physics Department and ECHO received a NISE Net mini-grant to develop a daylong event outside the purview of NanoDays. ECHO focuses on the Lake Champlain watershed, and the Physics Department wanted to show how basic science is a useful tool for investigating, understanding, and caring for the lake and world around us. Light, and specifically polarization, gave us a unifying theme to bring a number of activities and concepts to ECHO. Visible light, something most museum visitors have experience with, has wavelengths in the hundreds of nanometers. This provides a comfortable entry point to familiarize visitors with “nano,” and from there we can highlight how interacting with light at the length scale of its wavelength allows us to investigate both light and the world around us.

….

Polarization, the orientation of components of light, provides a tool with uses ranging from telling the time of day to monitoring invasive species in Lake Champlain. As an example of the later, Professor J. Ellen Marsden (an ichthyologist with UVM’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources and long-time ECHO collaborator) supplied samples of larval zebra mussels from Lake Champlain. Zebra mussels, an invasive species actively monitored in the lake, are more easily distinguished and detected earlier with the thoughtful application polarized light.

We’re going to be hearing a lot more about light as we gear up for 2015. Meanwhile, you can read the entire December 2014 issue of the Nano Bite here.

In keeping with my previous comment, there’s this bit about a medieval cleric who helped us to understand light and optics. From a Nov. 27, 2014 posting by Michael Brooks, on the Guardian science blog, concerning his recent participation in a Festival of Humanities event held at the medieval Durham Cathedral,

Robert Grosseteste was a medieval pioneer of science. And, despite having died in 1253, the good bishop is up for an award on Thursday night [Nov. 27, 2014]. The shortlist for the Times Higher Education’s 2014 Research Project of the Year includes the researchers from Durham University who laid on last week’s activities in the cathedral’s Chapter House and Deanery, and they openly describe Grosseteste as one of their collaborators.

They made this clear in a paper they published in the prestigious journal Nature Physics in July. The scientists are re-examining Grosseteste’s work, and finding he made contributions to the field of optics that have yet to be assimilated into the canon of science. So they’ve come on board to help complete the record.

Grosseteste’s insight into the physics of rainbows has, for instance, enabled the researchers in the Ordered Universe collaboration to create a new co-ordinate system for colour. Anyone who has tried to calibrate a computer monitor knows that we now talk in terms of hue (a particular ratio of red, green and blue), saturation and brightness. Examination of Grosseteste’s writings has inspired an equally valid rainbow-based colour system.

It is based on the angle through which sunlight is scattered by the water drops, the “purity” of the medium – related to the size of the water drops – and the distance of the sun above the horizon. Grosseteste’s three-dimensional scheme outlines what Durham physicist Tom McLeish calls “the space of all possible rainbows”.

Here’s an image of a rainbow over Durham Cathedral,

 Rainbow over Durham Cathedral by StephieBee [downloaded from https://www.flickr.com/photos/visitengland/galleries/72157625178514241/]


Rainbow over Durham Cathedral
by StephieBee [downloaded from https://www.flickr.com/photos/visitengland/galleries/72157625178514241/]

Here’s where you can find more of StephieBee‘s work.

Sadly, GrosseTeste did not win top prize but I’m sure if he were still around, he’d say something like, “It was an honour to be nominated and I thank God.” As for the Festival of Humanities (Being Human), there’s more here about its 2014 inaugural year.

*Changed ‘on’ to ‘who’ in headline on Dec. 2, 2014.

May 2010 issue of The Nano Bite, the NISE Net newsletter

It’s National Children’s Book Week in the US this week which I know because of the NISE Net (Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network) May 2010 newsletter. From the newsletter,

What’s Smaller than a Pygmy Shrew? by Robert E. Wells An examination of the very small, down to molecules, atoms, electrons, and quarks.  In addition, the University of Wisconsin-Madison MRSEC developed a lesson plan for middle schoolers based on the book.
Is that Robot Real? by Rae Ostman, Catherine McCarthy, Emily Maletz and Stephen Hale. Learn what makes a robot a robot, then step down in size and find out which robots are real and which are science fiction.  You can download Is that Robot Real for free from the nisenet.org catalog here or purchase it from lulu.com or amazon.com.   In other robot- and children’s book-related news: Kim Duncan adapted the NISE Net’s Shrinking Robots! program for Story Time Science at the Madison Children’s Museum.  The adaptation includes a reading of Hello, Robots by Bob Staacke.  You can find the full adaptation in the comments section of the Shrinking Robots! program on nisenet.org.
→ How Small is Nano: Measuring Different Things by Catherine McCarthy, Rae Ostman, Emily Maletz and Stephen Hale. This book can also be downloaded for free from the nisenet.org catalog or purchased at lulu.com or amazon.com.

For interested parties, NISE Net offers a program complete with lesson plan and images called Shrinking Robots, from the Shrinking Robots program,

Stickybot, photo and video: Mark Cutkosky, Stanford University

They have added something new to their catalog,

We recently posted a new program to the nisenet.org catalog: Nanosilver: Breakthrough or Biohazard? The presentation guides visitors through the questions What is nanosilver? Why is it used in consumer products such as teddy bears and food containers? and How safe is nanosilver, and how might it affect the environment?

This month’s Nano Haiku seems more like a NISE Net haiku,

Nano Haiku

Network friends, hello.
Are you social? Tell us where!
In your profile, please.
By Karen Pollard of the Science Museum of Minnesota.

One last item, Clark Miller has posted about human enhancement on the NISE Net blog. Miller is the Associate Director of the Arizona State University (ASU), Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes. From his April 27, 2010 post,

The pursuit of science to enhance human performance raises profound questions for society. Yet, according to a recent study we conducted at the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at ASU, knowledge about nanotechnology and human enhancement is extremely low. This suggests the topic might be a good one for science museums to tackle. The full results of our survey will be published soon, but if any of you would like to find out more about the findings or are thinking about developing an exhibit or program around human enhancement, I’d be glad to talk further.

Perhaps the most important finding from the study is that the US public is, overall, quite skeptical regarding the prospect of human enhancement. This might be expected of sports, given the negative press that steroid use has gotten in recent years, but survey respondents also strongly objected to the use of enhancement technologies that would help in getting a job, taking a college entrance exam, or running for public office.

I have posted on this topic most recently here and in a four part series July 22, 2009, July 23, 2009, July 24, 2009 and  July 27, 2009. Gregor Wolbring at the University of Calgary writes on this issue extensively (from his blog called: Nano and Nano- Bio, Info, Cogno, Neuro, Synbio, Geo, Chem…),

Hi everybody, My name is Gregor Wolbring. I am an Ableism ethics and governance scholar, a biochemist, ethicist, governance of science and technology scholar , ability studies and governance scholar, disability studies,health research, implications of Nanotechnology, Converging Technologies, Synthetic Biology scholar. Beside that I am interested in social entrepreneurship, working with youth, social implications, human rights. My webpage is here; My biweekly column at innovationwatch.com is here ; My new blog on Ableism Ethics and Governance; A blog to which I also contribute called What Sorts of People

Andy Miah from the University of the West of Scotland also writes extensively on the topic of human enhancement here. From his About page,

“Andy Miah is the Renaissance man of the enhancement enlightenment”
Kristi Scott, H+ Magazine, 2009

My research is informed by an interest in applied ethics and policy related to emerging technology. I have spent considerable time researching the Internet along with human enhancement technologies. This includes the implications of pervasive wireless connectivity and the convergence of technological systems and the modification of biological matter through nanotechnology and gene transfer. Many of these studies are increasingly transdisciplinary and being characterised as NBIC (nano-bio-info-cognitive) inquiries. Recent work has particularly examined the role of art and design in an era of biotechnology, often described as bioart or transgenic art.

I have published over 100, solo-authored academic articles in refereed journals, books, e-zines, and national media press, recently including Bioethics and Film, Medical Enhancement and Posthumanity, and Politics and Leisure. I also write for leading newspapers, including The Washington Post, The Guardian, Le Monde, the Times Higher Education Supplement. …

Both Gregor and Andy offer some thought-provoking perspectives for anyone interested in the area of human enhancement.