To understand why the nanoscale is different, we need to appreciate just how small it is. One common way to represent the nanoscale visually relies on scale ladders, diagrams that show how objects are related by size. Using existing research on understanding size and scale, the Visualization Laboratory carried out a series of experiments to develop a scale ladder and guidelines for their design and use.
“DNA Nanotechnology” is a facilitated, hands-on activity exploring deoxyribonucleic acid, a nanoscale structure that occurs in nature. Visitors extract a sample of DNA from split peas and put it in an Eppendorf tube to take home. They learn that nanoscientists study DNA to understand its biological function, and that they also use it to make other nanoscale materials and devices.
This cart demo is about Biobarcodes, a nanomedical technology that allows for massively parallel testing for disease diagnosis. Visitors learn about antibodies, how each antibody binds to a unique protein, and how biobarcoding uses nanoparticles, antibodies, DNA and magnetism to detect diseases earlier than we could detect before. Visitors assemble a jigsaw puzzle that models how Biobarcodes™ work.
"Exploring Structures - DNA" is a hands-on activity in which visitors create a necklace of wheat germ DNA. They learn that self-assembly is a process by which molecules and cells form themselves into functional structures.