Tag Archives: nano haiku

NISENet (Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network) studies its own network and more in the June 2012 newsletter

Titled A Study of Communication in the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (PDF) and written by Jane Morgan Alexander, Gina Svarovsky, Juli Goss, Liz Rosino, Leigh Ann Mesiti, Jenna LeComte-Hinely, and Christine Reich, the 62 pp. study was published April 2012. The executive summary offers a description of the study parameters (p. 4 of the PDF),

A Study of Communication in the NISE Network (Network Communication Study), conducted during the sixth year of the grant, sought to learn how the four primary communication components that were developed in the first 5 years of NISE Net (NanoDays, face-to-face meetings, the regional hub structure, and the nisenet.org website) are functioning within the Network. In particular, the study explored how these components communicate information, ideas, and practices related to NISE Net between and within the three Network tiers.

Using a qualitative approach, 7 focus groups with 24 individuals in Tier 1 and 39 semistructured interviews with professionals in Tiers 2 and 3 were conducted. Only Tier 2 and 3 partners who were actively involved in NISE Net were selected to participate in the study so as to capture the “best case” description of communication within the Network to illustrate how this network optimally functions. Tier 2 and 3 partners were identified as actively engaged if they had hosted or participated in a NanoDays event in the past 3 years and had attended at least one NISE Net professional development offering. Due to these sampling constraints, the study does not draw conclusions about the experience of less involved Network partners.

Given those parameters, here are the conclusions as per the study (p. 4 of the PDF) and as per the description of the study on the NISENet website,

In particular, the following findings emerged from this study:

  • NanoDays makes nano content seem “doable.” NanoDays kits, acknowledged by involved partners in all tiers to be a useful representation of the professionalism of the Network, communicate messages about the accessibility of nano content.
  • Face-to-face meetings contribute to a sense of NISE Net community. Through face-to-face meetings held throughout the year, Network partners learn general information about NISE Net and develop personal connections with Network peers.
  • The regional hub structure provides a personal, go-to resource for professionals in Tiers 2 and 3. The regional hub structure serves as a central resource to disseminate Network updates and respond to partners’ needs.
  • The NISE Network website (nisenet.org) is used to convey general information about NISE Net.

In addition to the four primary communication components, some Network partners also use the Nano Bite (NISE Net’s monthly e-newsletter) and social networking groups on LinkedIn and Facebook.

In other news, there are some opportunities for materials research scientists and writers,

MRS Fall 2012 Call for Papers
The MRS 2012 Fall Meeting in Boston November 26-30, 2012 is having an Educational Symposium ZZ – Communicating Social Relevancy in Materials Science and Engineering Education. The Call for Papers lists a deadline of June 19, 2012 for abstract submission. If you have any questions or suggestions regarding topics, ancillary events, panel sessions or invited speakers, please contact one of the organizers listed at the end of the Call for Papers announcement.

→ To Think, To Write, To Publish
This two-part, multi-day workshop will bring together emerging writers and early career science and innovation policy scholars – along with creative writing and journalism professors, museum professionals, and editors of mainstream publications to immerse themselves in the art and business of nonfiction storytelling.

Participants will attend workshops in Washington, DC and Tempe, AZ and will be guided for an entire year. Travel expenses to attend the workshops will be paid, along with an honorarium. For complete instructions and details, go to http://www.thinkwritepublish.org/.

Finally, there are two  June 2012 nano haikus,

Nanoparticles
A young man’s finest weapon
Cancer cannot hide

Sune Chunhasuwan of the Museum of Science created the above haiku in reference to the work of Jack Andraka, who developed a method to detect pancreatic cancer using carbon nanotubes.

Communication:
A Network-wide endeavor.
Here are our findings.

Gina Svarovsky of the Science Museum of Minnesota writes about the recently completed Network Communication Study that was highlighted above.

There you have some extracts, the full June 2012 newsletter can be found here.

Nano risk news and a nano haiku

The International Standards Organization (ISO) has published a new document on risk: Nanotechnologies — Nanomaterial risk evaluation (ISO/TR 13121:2011). From the May 17, 2011 news item on Nanowerk,

ISO/TR 13121:2011 describes a process for identifying, evaluating, addressing, making decisions about, and communicating the potential risks of developing and using manufactured nanomaterials, in order to protect the health and safety of the public, consumers, workers and the environment.

It’s just been released so I have not been able to locate any discussion about it yet. If you’re inclined to read it, the document (paper or PDF) costs 150 Swiss francs.

I got my NISE (Nanoscale Informal Science Education) Net (Network) newsletter a few weeks back and found this related item,

2011 Risk Science Symposium
The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor will host the 2011 Risk Science Symposium on September 20-21. This symposium will bring together leading thinkers to explore new ideas on integrative approaches to health risks, uncertainty and innovation, as people look to develop sustainable solutions to global challenges in an increasingly fragile world.

You can also visit the NISE Net website here or Andrew Maynard’s (he will be chairing the symposium) 2020Science blog here.

Here’s the nano haiku for May 2011 (from the NISE Net newsletter),

Nano Haiku

Viruses align
Carbon nanotubes for the
Thinnest solar cell

by Anna Lindgren-Streicher of the Museum of Science, Boston.

Nano Days 2011 coming up

2011’s Nano Days are March 26 – April 3. There’s a very upbeat (i.e., lots of hype) 30 sec. promotional video, which can be found here and you can find out more about Nano Days 2011 events here. For anyone who’s wondering what Nano Days are in the first place (from the Nano Days webpage),

What is NanoDays? NanoDays is a nationwide festival of educational programs about nanoscale science and engineering and its potential impact on the future. NanoDays events are organized by participants in the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net – If you’re not already a part of NISE Net, it’s easy to join!) and take place at over 200 science museums, research centers, and universities across the country from Puerto Rico to Hawaii. NanoDays engages people of all ages in learning about this emerging field of science, which holds the promise of developing revolutionary materials and technologies.

While several communities conducted NanoDays events in prior years, the first nationwide week of events took place in 2008 with more than 100 institutions participating. This has grown to more than 200 events over the past years.

There’s a thematically appropriate nano haiku in the March issue of NISE Net’s newsletter,

Ali Stein of the Sciencenter submitted this haiku about the brand new NanoDays Promotional Video:

A commercial, whew!
Spring arrives, and NanoDays.
Nano fun for all.

That’s all folks.

Science outreach and Nova’s Making Stuff series on PBS

The February 2011 NISE (Nanoscale Informal Science Education) Net newsletter pointed me towards a video interview with Amy Moll, a materials scientist (Boise State University) being interviewed by Joe McEntee, group editor IOP Publishing, for the physicsworld.com video series,

Interesting discussion, yes? The Making Stuff series on PBS is just part of their (materials scientists’ working through their professional association, the Materials Research Society) science outreach effort. The series itself has been several years in the planning but is just one piece of a much larger effort.

All of which puts another news item into perspective. From the Feb. 7, 2011 news item on Nanowerk,

The Arizona Science Center is enlisting the expertise of professors in Arizona State University’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering in showcasing the latest advances in materials science and engineering.

The engineering schools are among organizations collaborating with the science center to present the Making Stuff Festival Feb. 18-20. [emphasis mine]

The event will explore how new kinds of materials are shaping the future of technology – in medicine, computers, energy, space travel, transportation and an array of personal electronic devices.

No one is making a secret of the connection,

The festival is being presented in conjunction with the broadcast of “Making Stuff”, a multi-part television series of the Public Broadcasting Service program NOVA that focuses on advances in materials technologies. It’s airing locally on KAET-Channel 8.

Channel 8 is another collaborator on the Making Stuff Festival, along with ASU’s Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes, the Arizona Technology Council, Medtronic, Intel and Science Foundation Arizona.

I highlight these items to point out how much thought, planning, and effort can go into science outreach.

Nano haikus (from the Feb. 2011 issue of the NISE Net Newsletter,

We received two Haikus from Michael Flynn expressing his hopes and fears for nanotechnology:

Miracle fibers
Weave a new reality
Built from the ground up

Too Small to be seen
This toxin is nanoscale
Can’t tell if it spilled

Bumper crop of nano news from NISE Net

The January issue of the NISE Net (Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network) newsletter features information about a new resource for scientists who need to talk or communicate about their work, Mastering Science and Public Presentations is a video. This talk was given by Tim Masters of Spoken Science at Duke University in the summer of 2010.

Larry Bell on his NISE Net blog discusses some of the meetings (National Science Foundation and National Nanotechnology Initiative) he attended in Washington, DC. I found the one about a Periodic Table of Nanoparticles particularly interesting as it includes an image which features the particles in 3 dimensions representing shape, size, and composition.

There’s a very good nanotechnology article by Corinna Wu in the American Association for Engineering Education (ASEE) magazine, PRISM, Peril in Small Places; What dangers lurk in our expanding use of nanotechnology? It does have an ominous title but the writer does a good job of covering the positive and exciting aspects as well as the risks. From the article,

The wonder of nanotechnology is the abundance of materials, devices, and systems made possible by controlling and manipulating matter at the atomic and molecular levels. But with that wonder comes concern that these now ubiquitous nanoparticles could spread new hazardous pollutants that threaten health and the environment. “We’re trying to say, ‘These are new materials. We don’t know if there’s a problem, so let’s ask now,’” says Sally Tinkle, senior science adviser at the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health. With prodding from the National Research Council and other institutions, inquiry into the health and environmental effects of nanotechnology has gone hand in hand with research on potential applications. The work is interdisciplinary, and engineers play a critical role. By helping to figure out what makes a nanoparticle toxic, they can, for instance, design nanoparticles that kill cancer cells yet don’t harm healthy tissues, or that remove pollutants from soil without poisoning wildlife.

It’s focused on the US scene and, one quibble, I’m not sure about some of the numbers. (For example, Wu gives a value for the number of nanotechnology products on the market but offers no details as to how this number was derived or where it came from.)

There’s a four-part series, Making Stuff, that’s going to be broadcast as part of the NOVA program on PBS. It starts Jan. 19, 2010. From the website,

Invisibility cloaks. Spider silk that is stronger than steel. Plastics made of sugar that dissolve in landfills. Self-healing military vehicles. Smart pills and micro-robots that zap diseases. Clothes that monitor your mood. What will the future bring, and what will it be made of? In NOVA’s four-hour series, “Making Stuff,” popular New York Times technology reporter David Pogue takes viewers on a fun-filled tour of the material world we live in, and the one that may lie ahead. Get a behind-the-scenes look at scientific innovations ushering in a new generation of materials that are stronger, smaller, cleaner, and smarter than anything we’ve ever seen.

Beginning January 19, 2011, NOVA will premiere the new four-hour series on consecutive Wednesday nights at 9 pm ET/PT on PBS (check local listings): “Making Stuff: Stronger, Smaller, Cleaner, Smarter.”

I wonder if they’ve made any changes to the series. After previewing it a few months ago, Andrew Maynard at 2020 Science featured the program in his Nov. 2, 2010 posting and it provoked a bit of a discussion about how to present science. From the posting,

Last week while at the NISE Net network-wide meeting, I was fortunate enough to see a preview of part of NOVA’s forthcoming series Making Stuff. The series focuses on the wonders of modern materials science. But rather than coming away enthralled by the ingenuity of scientists, I found myself breaking out in a cold sweat as I watched something that set my science-engagement alarm-bells ringing: New York Times tech reporter and host David Pogue enthusing about splicing spider genes into a goat so it produces silk protein-containing milk, then glibly drinking the milk while joking about transforming into Spider Man.

I was sitting there thinking, “You start with a spider – not everyone’s favorite creature. And you genetically cross it with a goat – dangerous territory at the best of times. Then you show a middle aged dude drinking the modified milk from a transgenic animal and having a laugh about it. And all this without any hint of a question over the wisdom or ramifications of what’s going on? Man, this is going to go down well!”

Andrew goes on to ask if his reaction was justified. Comments ensued including one from the producer of the series, Chris Schmidt.

Now, the nano haiku. Again this month there are two:

Asian hornets are
powered by nano solar
at the sun’s zenith.

by Frank Kusiak of the Lawrence Hall of Science. This Haiku relates to the BBC article Oriental hornets powered by ‘solar energy’.

After reading about the use of cinnamon in the production of gold nanoparticles, Vrylena Olney got hungry – and creative:

Cinnamon: good for
pumpkin pie, Moroccan stew,
nanoparticles.

Celebrating science and some nano Haiku too

There’s a special pre-conference for people involved in science events and festivals  just prior to the 2011 AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) annual meeting. The special pre-conference meeting is the 2011 International Public Science Events Conference (IPSEC) from Feb. 16-17, 2011. Both the IPSEC and AAAS conferences are taking place in Washington, DC.

From the 2011 IPSEC conference website,

This February the first ever International Public Science Events Conference (IPSEC) convenes for two days in Washington DC. From multi-million dollar citywide festivals, to intimate cafe meetings at the corner pub, new public science events are popping up across the globe. Join professionals from around the world to trade ideas and inspiration, forge new collaborations, and consider what is next for this rapidly growing field. And it is all timed to lead into the annual meeting of the world’s largest general scientific society: the AAAS.

Registration is free and there are a limited number of places.

I got my December issue of the NISE Net (Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network) newsletter a few weeks so the information isn’t quite as timely as it could but here we go,

There’s a NISE Net Content Map available. Now, I was expecting something along the lines of a map with visual representations of data that I would click on for a text description. This map is a text document with (from the newsletter),

key ideas for our educational experiences, including programs, exhibits, and media experiences for informal science education settings. It presents key content knowledge for engaging the public in learning about nanoscale science, engineering, and technology. The document was created by the network’s content steering group, with input from many people throughout the network, as well as a group of external advisors and reviewers.

2011 is the International Year of Chemistry (IYC)! You can find out more about that here. They provide a world map that features local representatives. Naturally, I looked for the Canadian ones. Information about your own local representatives are available from the map or in a standard list format. Here’s the portion of the map that features IYC Canadian representatives.

Finally, the monthly nano Haiku, or, in this case, Haikus:

From the future
Evil nanoscientist
Will he conquer us?

by Keith Ostfeld of the Children’s Museum of Houston. This Haiku was inspired by the play Attack of the Nanoscientist which can be found in the NISE Net Catalog.

Inspired by the consumerism surrounding the holidays, Luke Donev submitted the following Haikus about branding nano:

Oh nano branding:
we seek to educate but
compete with Apple

It’s NaNoWriMo!
(National Novel Writing
Month) More brand Nano.

Nano Science Cafe workshop starts and other NISE Net tidbits

I signed up for an online workshop on how to host and produce a Nano Science Café that the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net) holds. It started this Monday and so far we’ve been introducing ourselves (approximately 80 people are signed up) and people are sharing ideas about how to hold these events successfully.  Most of the participants are located in the US although there are two Canucks (me and someone from Ontario). Of course, not everyone has introduced themselves yet.

There’s a blog posting by Larry Bell about NISE Net’s increasing focus on nano’s societal implications,

Just about a year ago NISE Net launched an expanded collaboration with the Center for Nanotechnology in Society and you’ll hear more about upcoming activities in the months ahead. The conversation started when staff from seven science centers brought cart demos and stage presentations to the S.NET conference in Seattle on Labor Day weekend last year. S.NET is a new professional society for the study of nanoscience and emerging technologies in areas of the social sciences and humanities. I was a little naive and thought the participants were all social scientists, but learned that many were historians, political scientists, philosophers, and ethicists and really not social scientists.

I’m not entirely certain what to make of either NISE Net’s interest or S.NET (Society for the Study of Nanoscience and Emerging Technologies) since this first meeting seems to have be focused primarily on hands-on demos and public outreach initiatives. There will be a 2nd annual S.NET meeting in 2010 (from the conference info.),

Second Annual Conference of the Society for the Study of Nanoscience and Emerging Technologies

Darmstadt, Germany – Sept 29 to Oct 2, 2010

(Wednesday afternoon 2pm through Saturday afternoon 4pm)

The plenary speakers and program committee lists a few names I’ve come across,

This year’s plenary speakers are Armin Grunwald, Richard Jones [has written a book about nanotechnology titled Soft Machines and maintains a blog also titled Soft Machines], Andrew Light, Bernard Stiegler, and Jan Youtie.

Program Committee

Diana Bowman (Public Health and Law, University of Melbourne, Australia)

Julia Guivant (Sociology and Political Science, Santa Catarina, Brazil)

David Guston (Political Science/Center for Nanotechnology in Society, Arizona State University, USA) [guest blogged for Andrew Maynard at 2020 Science]

Barbara Herr Harthorn (Feminist Studies, Anthropology, Sociology/Center for Nanotechnology in Society,University of California Santa Barbara, USA)

Brice Laurent (Sociology, Mines ParisTech, France)

Colin Milburn (English, University of California Davis, USA)[has proposed a nanotechnology origins story which pre-dates Richard Feynman's famous speech, There's plenty of room at the bottom]

Cyrus Mody (History, Rice University, United USA)

Alfred Nordmann (Philosophy, nanoOffice, NanoCenter, Technische Universität Darmstadt and University of South Carolina – chair)

Ingrid Ott (Economics, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany – co-chair)

Arie Rip (Philosophy of Science and Technology, University of Twente, Netherlands) [read a nano paper where he introduced me to blobology and this metaphor for nanotechnology 'furniture of the world']

Ursula Weisenfeld (Business Administration, Leuphana Universität, Lüneburg, Germany)

This looks promising and I wish the good luck with the conference.

As far conferences go, there’s another one for the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) in Hawaii, Oct 3 – 5, 2010, which will feature some NISE Net sessions and workshops . You can check out the ASTC conference details here.

Here’s the monthly NISE Net nano haiku,

Vocabulary
Kit kit kit kit kit kit kit
There are no nodes now.

by Anders Liljeholm of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. Those of you who may not remember that our regional hubs used to be call nodes (or those looking to brush up on their NISE Net vocabulary in general) can check out the NISE Net Glossary in the nisenet.org catalog.

Nano Bite for August 2010

The August 2010 newsletter (Nano Bite) from NISE (Nanoscale Informal Science Education) Network features the nanosunscreen debate (from the newsletter),

It seems questions about the safety of nanoparticles in sunscreen come up every year around this time.  This year, Friends of the Earth posted an article that was critical of nano-particles in sunscreens (“make nano a no-no on your summer vacation!”).  Andrew Maynard, the Director of the University of Michigan Risk Science Center (and NISE Net advisor), posted a reply on his blog questioning some of the conclusions Friends of the Earth were drawing from the studies they cited.  The Environmental Working Group also has an investigation of nanotechnology and sunscreens that draws some different conclusions, read it here.

I also covered some of the debate here.

On a completely other note, there’s an online workshop being held on how to start a Nano Science Café,

Science cafes are live events in casual settings like pubs or coffeehouses, where scientists engage the public in conversations about current science topics. From September 13 – 24,  the NISE Network will offer a two-week online workshop that will introduce you to science cafes with a nano theme. Discussion will be led by three moderators who have run successful cafe series in their own communities: Amanda Thomas (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry), Brad Herring (Museum of Life and Science), and Jen Larese (WGBH).

Enrollment for the workshop opens August 6 and closes on September 3.  You can find out more about the science cafe workshop and how to enroll on nisenet.org at http://www.nisenet.org/community/events/online_workshop/how_start_nanoscience_cafe

Exciting, yes?

As usual there’s nano haiku but this month there are two!

Teeny-tiny stuff,
you act so different now.
Wish you were still big.

by Leigha Horton of the Science Museum of Minnesota.  Interested in how teeny-tiny stuff acts different?  See the NISE Net’s science theater play Nano Dreams and Nano Nightmares and hands-on activity Exploring Properties – Surface Area.

A hot summer day?
Try some fresh nano ice cream
but in large portions.

by Luke Donev of the Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, TX.  Brad’s recipe is posted on the Nano Bite blog here.

Nano activities for the summer months

Courtesy of the July 2010 NISE (Nanoscale Informal Science Education) Net (work) newsletter, I have a list of nano-related activities taking place in various science museums and centres in the US. From the newsletter,

  • The Sciencenter in Ithaca, NY is integrating two mornings of nano programming into every two-week camp session. Sciencenter camp activities are designed for girls and boys entering grades 2 – 6 in the fall of 2010. Sciencenter educators plan an assortment of active, physical games, focused classroom experiences, special presentations, and free exploration of the museum and the science park. More information can be found at http://www.sciencenter.org/programs/sciencentersummercamp.asp
  • The Children’s Museum of Science and Technology (CMOST) in Troy, NY is partnering with the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering to offer two week long sessions of Nano Camp! One week will be all inclusive, and the second week is a ladies-only GIST (Girls in Science and Technology) program. More information can be found at http://www.cmost.org/programs/summer_gist.php
  • The Arts and Science Center in Pine Bluff, AR held a weeklong nano camp in early June using some of the NanoDays kit activities.
  • The Museum of Science in Boston, MA is hosting its fourth round of science communication workshops for NSF-funded REU (Research Experience for Undergraduate) students from Boston-area nano research centers, and is working with the Discovery Center Museum and the UW Madison NSEC and MRSEC to adapt this set of workshops for integration into their REU programs. The goal of these workshops is to help to cultivate a new generation of nano and materials science researchers aware of the broader context of their research and equipped with the skills to communicate effectively on interdisciplinary research teams and to engage broader audiences.[emphases mine]
  • In about a month, the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN) REU will gather at the University of Minnesota for their network-wide convocation.  All 80 NNIN REU interns will present a talk and a poster.  Plus, all 18 International REUs, the iREUs, will be attending having just gotten home from Belgium, Germany or Japan!  Finally, staff from every site, along with many of the interns’ parents and friends, attend.  It’s an exciting event where staff and interns meet and find out what everyone has been up to over the summer. The presentations are web-cast and details and schedules can be found at http://www.nano.umn.edu/nninreuconvocation2010/.
  • The Summer Institute for Physics Teachers is currently going on at Cornell’s Center for Nanoscale Systems. The course, open to high school physics teachers, includes lectures are given by Dr. Julie Nucci and many Cornell faculty on topics such as electronics, photonics, nanotechnology, and particle physics. Lab tours provide a glimpse into state-of-the-art academic research.  The lab activities, which are co-developed by high school physics teachers and Cornell scientists, are presented by teachers.

I highlighted the science communication workshops for the US undergraduates in light of a recent (July 8, 2010) University of British Columbia media release announcing two recent federal grants including this one,

young researchers at UBC were awarded a further $1.6 million from the Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) program to help upgrade their skills for a successful transition to the workplace.

The CREATE grant to UBC is part of a $32-million investment over six years from NSERC, for 20 projects at Canadian universities. The funding will give science and engineering graduates an opportunity to expand their professional and personal skills to prepare them for the workplace.

While the two programmes are markedly different, the fact of their existence is intriguing. I don’t believe communication skills workshops or programmes to upgrade workplace skills for budding young scientists have been a feature of science training (in Canada anyway) until fairly recently. If you know differently, please do comment.

I’ve long been interested in the work being done on adhesive forces (usually Spiderman or geckos are featured in the headline for the news release) so I was quite happy to see this in the newsletter,

→ Geckos!

Check out our new program Biomimicry: Synthetic Gecko Tape through Nanomolding.  The hands-on activity gives visitors a glimpse of one of the methods used by researchers to make synthetic gecko tape.  Visitors make their own synthetic gecko tape with micron-sized hairs that mimic the behavior of the gecko foot and test how much weight their gecko tape can hold using LEGOs. The activity was designed to fit into a classroom/camp program, but can be adapted for a museum floor.

If the scientists are successful, it means you won’t need glue to stick things together, for example, putting up curtain rods. (Some curtain rods use adhesive pads so you can pull them on and off the walls but if you do that too many times you lose the adhesive properties; Spiderman and geckos don’t experience that problem.)

I found the document which tells you exactly how to create your synthetic gecko tape. You may not have the materials needed easily available but if you’re interested, the instructions are here.

This month’s nano haiku,

Surface to Volume
new science with a nano
Golden Ratio

by Luke Doney of the Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, TX

If you want to check NISE Net, go here.