There seems to have been a shift in publicity efforts for the annual NanoDays event (March 28 – April 5, 2015. For the first ever, I’ve gotten a news release about the event along with the March 2015 issue of the Nano Bite (newsletter from the Nanoscale Information Science Education Network [NISENet]) which usually publicizes them.
From a March 2, 2015 NISENet news release,
At the end of this month, hundreds of museums, science centers, and university research centers across the United States will be hosting events to help children and adults explore the tiny world of atoms, molecules, and nanoscale forces. These events are part of NanoDays, a weeklong, nationwide festival of educational programs about nanoscale science, engineering, and technology.
NanoDays, organized by the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net), will take place nationally from March 28 – April 5, 2015. These community-based events collectively make up the largest public outreach effort in nanoscale informal science education. Over 300 science museums, research centers, and universities across the United States are involved, from Puerto Rico to Alaska.
NanoDays events bring scientists and researchers together with science educators to engage people of all ages in learning about this emerging field, which holds the promise of developing revolutionary materials and technologies. Most NanoDays events combine fun hands-on activities with presentations on current research. A range of exciting NanoDays programs demonstrate the special and unexpected properties found at the nanoscale, examine tools used by nanoscientists, showcase nano materials with spectacular promise, and invite discussion of technology and society.
Local communities experience many of these activities first hand at museum and research institutions. Visitors can experience the power of science fiction storytelling—imagining their own future full of new nanotechnologies. Hands-on activities invite visitors to explore polarized light, investigate how scientists use special tools to study tiny things, and envision how nanotechnology could change how we eat! Other activities include experimenting with heat transfer and completing an electrical circuit using just a pencil and paper.
NISENet as I noted in a previous post (Jan. 8, 2015) will no longer be supported by its five-year grant (the period ends sometime this year) so the future is a little uncertain. The news release notes the situation and describes some of the organization’s aims,
The NISE Network is led by 14 organizations, and includes hundreds of museums and universities across the nation. Originally launched in 2005 with funding from the National Science Foundation to the Museum of Science in Boston, and its lead partners—the Science Museum of Minnesota and the Exploratorium, the NISE Network was awarded a second five-year $21 million grant in 2010. This second grant allows partners to continue to find ways to engage public audiences in this cutting edge science and technology into the next decade.
NISE Network lead organizations include:
- Association of Science-Technology Centers, Inc. in Washington, DC
- Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University (CNS-ASU)
- Children’s Museum of Houston in Houston, TX
- Exploratorium in San Francisco, CA
- Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, PA
- Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, CA
- Materials Research Society in Warrendale, PA
- Museum of Life + Science in Raleigh-Durham, NC
- Museum of Science in Boston, MA
- Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland, OR
- Sciencenter in Ithaca, NY
- Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul, MN
- SRI International in Menlo Park, CA
- University of Wisconsin – Madison
In contrast to the awareness raising in the news release, the March 2015 issue of the Nano Bite (newsletter from the Nanoscale Information Science Education Network [NISENet]) focuses on practical tools for anyone interested in organizing a NanoDays event,
→ Celebrating NanoDays – A Nationwide Festival: March 28 – April 5
A lot of training and planning goes into NanoDays events, and we want to say thank you to all of our partners who are planning events this year, who have hosted events previously, and who will continue to carry on NanoDays into the future!
NanoDays events can require a lot of help from volunteers, graduate students, professionals, and staff. As smart and enthusiastic as these volunteers are, they’re also sometimes new to doing demonstrations and activities with public audiences. The NISE Network has many great resources to help with trainings and promotion to make your NanoDays events a great success! Check out:
- NanoDays 2015 Digital Kit
- NanoDays Training Materials
- NanoDays Training Videos – Over 40 videos available online! Complete list here.
- NanoDays Promotional Video
- Marketing and Promotional Material (package)
We would also like to recognize all the NISE Network partners who have been involved in making NanoDays so successful by providing ideas for activities and materials, helping to develop hands-on activities, materials and resources, hosting events, recruiting and training volunteers, providing feedback, and so much more. Thank you!
The newsletter also mentions a couple of ‘water’ events and thematically appropriate nano activities,
→ What’s nano about water? Scientists and engineers are developing filters from nano-sized materials to clean water, helping to reduce most disease-causing organisms, providing drinkable water. With Groundwater Awareness Week (March 8-14) and World Water Day (March 22) taking place this month, we thought we’d share NISE Net water-themed activities and resources with you!
- Cleaning Our Water with Nanotechnology – program that discusses how using nanotechnology can help make contaminated water safe to drink.
- The Water Race: Hydrophobic and Hydrophillic Surfaces – activity that discusses how nanotechnology can be used to change material properties to either attract or repel water.
- What’s Nano About Water? – NISE Net short video discusses how filters using nano-sized materials can help reduce disease-causing organisms and create safe drinking water.
- Dragonfly TV – Water Clean Up video showcases kids conducting inquiry-based investigations, aided by science museums and university research labs.
- Lotus Leaf Effect – a hands-on demo that demonstrates how nature inspires nanotechnology by sharing how nanoscale features can influence how material behaves at the macroscale.
For my last excerpt from the newsletter, here’s a portion of the story behind a recent exhibition at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum,
More Than Meets the “I” at Brooklyn Children’s Museum
By: Marcos Stafne, Brooklyn Children’s Museum
How do you get a science center, technology museum, a national science network, a public library system, a 3D printing service and marketplace, a camera company, and a university research center to work together—you just have to pick up the phone and talk about nanotechnology.
In the spring of 2014, I received a call from a colleague from the Sony Wonder Technology Lab with an inquiry about co-hosting the Nano Mini-Exhibition in New York City. The exhibition was scheduled to land in Manhattan for a year, but due to shifting exhibition schedules, they needed to find a new home for the exhibit—and why not in Brooklyn? I jumped at the chance to host the exhibit and to fill a gap in the exhibition schedule at Brooklyn Children’s Museum.
We had been working with NISE Network for the past year by hosting our first NanoDays and utilizing the Nano kits in afterschool and public programming. It seemed like a natural fit to try and host the mini-exhibition, so with the concept of nano in mind, I started to look for appropriate exhibit pairings to create a larger 1500 square foot exhibition. My goals were to introduce children to the science of understanding the micro-world, and then see how discoveries in these fields lead to technological innovations.
What came together became known as an exhibition called More Than Meets the “I”: Exploring the new frontiers of biology, health, robotics, and technology…Utilizing the Nano Mini-Exhibition as a catalyst for a larger story about emerging technologies broadened our conversation about what role nanotechnology has at a children’s museum.
Continue reading the full Partner Highlight to learn about the many collaborations that brought the Nano mini-exhibition to life at Brooklyn Children’s Museum!
You can find the full March 2015 issue of The Nano Bite here.