Observations and Insights

Engines of Growth and Recovery

By Larry Bell on December 9, 2010 | 0 comments

Three Presidential Science and Technology Advisors opened the NNI Innovation Summit in National Harbor, Maryland, today. The Summit was a kind of 10th birthday party for the National Nanotechnology Initiative. I was surprised at how much of this opening discussion focused on education.


Even a computer generated avatar!

By Larry Bell on December 8, 2010 | 0 comments

Joan Straumanis of NSF's Science of Learning Centers program had a neat little slide in her presentation today at the NSE Grantee's meeting at NSF. She says that research in learning shows that if your goal is getting people to learn something:

Expert explanation . . . is not as effective as
Peer explanation . . . which is not as effective as
Self explanation . . . which is not as effective as
Teaching another . . . even when that other is a computer-generated avatar

Where has nano research money gone in 2010?

By Larry Bell on December 8, 2010 | 0 comments

This chart says it all (click on it to see a version large enough to read):

This chart was part of Mike Roco's presentation at the 2010 NSF NSE Grantee Meeting.

Periodic Table of Nanoparticles

By Larry Bell on December 7, 2010 | 0 comments

The focus of today's sessions at NSF's meeting of nanoscale science and engineering grantees focuses on putting the science to practical use. First up this morning is nanomanufacturing. Mark Tuonimen from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst gave a talk about the Nanoscale Manufacturing Network and one of his images caught my imagination. This image, which comes from the draft Nano2 vision document on the next decade of nanoscale research, illustrates and idea that is sometimes referred to as a periodic table of nanoparticles.

It's Not Just About Materials

By Larry Bell on December 6, 2010 | 0 comments

We are reaching a limit in the future growth of computing power using current technologies because of the heat generated by packing more and more transisters onto tiny electronic chips. Nanotechnology may provide totally new techniques for computing that would solve this problem. Nanoelectronics is one of the signature intiatives identified in the National Nanotechnology Initiative strategic plan recently developed by the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

An excellent source of online resources for public engagement is the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation (NCDD)

By Larry Bell on November 1, 2010 | 0 comments

NCDDNCDDKeynote addresses by Andrew Maynard and Kathy Sykes at the recent Network-Wide Meeting of the NISE Net, and sessions and workshops on addressing societal, environmental, and ethical issues in connection with nanoscale science, engineering, and technology, may have left attendees looking for ideas about how to build public engagement into their program activities.

Lifecycle of a Decision-maker

By Larry Bell on November 1, 2010 | 0 comments

Last week's Network-Wide Meeting raised questions about how science museums can engage the public in consideration of societal, environmental, and ethical issues related to nanoscale science and engineering and any emergent technology, and how we as a society and as individuals make decisions that affect the future. Scientists and universities together interact in many ways with the lifecycle of a decision-maker.

Here's an image that I made for the session last Wednesday on Anticipatory Governance.

Public Comment Period Extended to Monday, October 18, at 8 PM EDT

By Larry Bell on October 2, 2010 | 0 comments

Nanotechnology Long-Term Impacts and Research Directions: 2000-2020 went on line yesterday for two weeks of public comment.  This is your chance to read and make suggestions concerning the next decade of nanotechnology research, including future educational efforts and engaging the public in future governance.  The text document and presentations related to them are online at www.wtec.org/nano2.

NISE Net Awarded Renewal Funding to Launch Another 5 Years

By Larry Bell on September 20, 2010 | 0 comments

The NSF today awarded the Museum of Science in Boston the funds to continue the work of the NISE Net into the next decade.  David UckoDavid UckoAt our reverse site visit last July, David Ucko, our NSF program officer for the first five years said that, when they first crafted the solicitation for the original grant that funded NISE Net, he never expected that as much would be accomplished as the NISE Net has done.  It was a glowing tribute to the work of everyone in the Network.


Observations and Insights

Larry Bell is VP of Strategic Initiatives at the Museum of Science in Boston and PI for the NISE Network.