The 2011 annual NanoDays, is coming in the spring, March 26-April 3. It’s not too early to get ready now.
This nationwide festival focuses on 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), and take place at over 200 science museums, research centers, and universities across the country, from Maine to Hawaii.
Many NanoDays celebrations will combine simple hands-on activities for young people with events exploring current research for adults. One popular 2010 activity involved visitors working together to build a giant balloon model of a carbon nanotube. (Real carbon nanotubes, which are 1/50,000th of the width of a human hair, have extraordinary strength and unusual electrical properties that make them useful in electronics and materials science.)
Other NanoDays activities demonstrate different, 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.
Some NanoDays participants host public forums, discussions about the risks and benefits of particular appllications of nanotechnology. Many participating universities host public tours of their laboratories that work with nanoscale science and technology.
How to participate:
Being part of NanoDays is easy: host an eventsabout nanoscale science and engineering during NanoDays, March 26 – April 3, 2011. NISE Net can help with materials and ideas, and in return, asks participants to file a report about their events.
Last year, some 200 NanoDays events were held across the country, including hands-on activities and demos, speaker events, theater presentations, art shows, lab tours, lectures, deliberative forums, and science cafes. Through NanoDays, the NISE Network aims to reach audiences across a diverse geographic distribution, people with disabilities, and under-represented audiences in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).
What can you do for NanoDays?
You can host a day or a week of activities on the theme of nanoscale science and technology. The NISE network has developed a host of resources to, including products in their online catalog and their NanoDays kits.
The Digital Kit: provide the information about hands-on activities, and include guides and tips to help you stage your NanoDays events, including downloadable guides and printable signage files.
Free online download is available to anyone who registers on nisenet.org, particularly for international locations outside the United States, K-12 educators, libraries, and other educational organizations. Many of the activities use inexpensive, readily available supplies. Contents include a planning guide, marketing materials, and hands-on activity guides with supply lists.
The Physical Kit: physical kits, which will be mailed out in January 2011, are available by request; apply online between October 20 and December 10, 2o10.
Reporting Requirements: If you host or co-organize a NanoDays event, NISE NET requests that you report back to the Network about your experiences. They report this to the National Science Foundation; it also help all of their partners to learn from each other and improve their ability to engage the public. A link to an online reporting form will be provided on the website.
About NISE: The Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net) is a national community of researchers and informal science educators dedicated to fostering public awareness, engagement, and understanding of nanoscale science, engineering, and technology.