Nano Bite: February 2016

Welcome to the February Nano Bite, the monthly e-newsletter for the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net) and community.

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

  • Community News - National Informal STEM Education (NISE) Network transition update, Building with Biology prepares for Summer 2016 events and conversations, Museum & Community Partnerships Explore Science - Zoom into Nano kits shipping out
  • Upcoming Events - NanoDays 2016 taking place March 26 - April 3: Keep engaging public audiences in nanoscale science, engineering and technology, Upcoming Association of Children's Museums (ACM) Interactivity 2016
  • Featured on the Website - Exhibitionist Journal article - Nano: Creating an Exhibition that is Inclusive of Multiple and Diverse Audiences, Nano Spot graphic labels, Carbon Bonds: Clarifying Confusion with the "Build a Giant Carbon Nanotube" model in the Nano exhibition
  • Featured Findings - NanoDays public reach: How even the smallest partner contributions lead to big Network impacts
  • Science in the News - [Nano News] Nanotechnology: super small science, Rice University develops conductive graphene composite material to heat surfaces, simplify ice removal [Synthetic Biology News] Zika virus set to spread across Americas, spurring vaccine hunt, God, malaria, and wolverine claws: Colbert talks CRISPR with George Church
  • Nano Throughout the Year
COMMUNITY NEWS
National Informal STEM Education (NISE) Network transition update

In case you missed the Network announcement last month, we are excited to let you know that with the completion of NSF funding for the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network, and the soon-to-be-announced NASA-funded Space and Earth Informal STEM Education project, the NISE Network is transitioning to a new, ongoing identity as the National Informal STEM Education Network.

Building with Biology prepares for Summer 2016 events and conversations
Building with BiologyThank you to partners, current and new, who applied for a free Building with Biology 2016 physical kit. Applications are being reviewed and awards will be announced in early March. A digital version of Building with Biology kit, including all educational and professional resources, will be available for download online in June. We welcome graduate students, professors, scientists, industry professionals, and members of the synthetic biology community (and related fields) to participate in Building with Biology events in your local community. Please fill out this expression of interest form and we'll help connect you with a science center in your community hosting a Building with Biology event.

 

Museum & Community Partnerships Explore Science - Zoom into Nano kits shipping out
Explore Science
Thanks to additional support from the NSF, the NISE Network has created the new Explore Science - Zoom into Nano kit to support new and expand local museum and community partnerships that engage underserved audiences. The kit includes over a dozen hands-on nano-related activities redesigned to be used with local youth-serving organizations and packaged for informal group settings such as afterschool programs, as well as for use in event settings. One-hundred physical kits have been awarded and are shipping out this week to Network partners for use in upcoming spring and summer collaborative projects. The digital version of the Explore Science - Zoom into Nano kit is now available for download online at http://www.nisenet.org/explorescience-nano.

 


UPCOMING EVENTS
NanoDays 2016 taking place March 26 - April 3: Keep engaging public audiences in nanoscale science, engineering and technology
NanoDaysIt's time once again to gather together all your past NanoDays kits that you've been collecting over the years in preparation for this year's NanoDays. We hope that you will continue hosting annual events and use NanoDays materials year-round in ways that enhances your educational programming, meet your institution's needs, and above all, engages your visitors in fun, hands-on science for years to come. Visit the NanoDays archive to download digital kit materials from the 2015 kit as well as materials from past kits. We don't need you to submit a report this year about your NanoDays event, but we do still hope you continue to use your kits to engage the public.


Upcoming Association of Children's Museums (ACM) Interactivity 2016
The NISE Network will have a booth (booth #11) in the exhibit hall featuring information, activities and opportunities for participation in the National Informal STEM Education (NISE) Network. Partners will also be featured in the following sessions:
  • Museums and Community Partnerships: Leveraging Resources and Increasing Impact (Thursday, May 5; 9:00-10:15 AM)
  • Tools for Collaboration: Increasing Your Museum's Local Impact Through Partnership (Thursday, May 5; 10:30-11:45 AM)

FEATURED ON THE WEBSITE
  • Exhibitionist Journal article - Nano: Creating an Exhibition that is Inclusive of Multiple and Diverse Audiences - The Nano exhibition was featured in the most recent issue of the Exhibitionist Journal published by the National Association for Museum Exhibition (NAME), a Professional Network of the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). The article focuses on how the exhibition team worked to make the exhibition accessible to visitors with a range of physical and cognitive abilities and inclusive of visitors from diverse cultural backgrounds. This article first appeared in Exhibitionist (Fall 2016) Vol. 34 No. 2, and is reproduced with permission.
  • Nano Spot graphic labels - Created by the Science Center of Iowa, Nano Spots are a series of graphics with interesting nano facts that can be placed throughout your institution. Product includes four posters featuring food-related facts, two molecule-shaped wall graphics to be printed on adhesive material and contour cut to shape, and three smaller stand-alone label graphics. 
  • Carbon Bonds: Clarifying Confusion with the "Build a Giant Carbon Nanotube" model in the Nano exhibition - We've received questions asking why there aren't four bonds for each carbon atom in the "Build a Giant Carbon Nanotube" component of the Nano exhibition. Catherine McCarthy, Project Leader for the NISE Network, and Keith Ostfeld, Director of Educational Technology and Exhibit Development at the Children's Museum of Houston, offer some clarity and insights into these inquiries and provide resources to additional NISE Net programs detailing different forms and structures of carbon.

FEATURED FINDINGS: EVALUATION AND RESEARCH
NanoDays public reach: How even the smallest partner contributions lead to big Network impacts

Since its inception in 2005, the NISE Network has developed a wide range of activities, programs, and exhibits for public audiences that have been implemented within over 500 institutions across the country. Two of the Network’s largest educational products are NanoDays and the Nano Exhibition. NanoDays events began being implemented across the country in 2008, continuing every year through the Spring of 2015, and we hope will continue for years to come.

But have you ever wondered just how big of an impact NanoDays has had on the public? Or how your organization’s use of kit materials throughout the year might compare to other partners? Ultimately, wondering what is the total public reach for NanoDays, and for the Network?

Understanding the expansive public reach of the Network has long been a focus for the NISE Network Evaluation Team. Recently, the NISE Net Evaluation Team summarized the results of this work in the Public Reach Estimations for the NISE Network Summative Evaluation Report, where it is stated that through events and kit material use throughout the year, NanoDays is estimated to have reached over 7.1 million people from 2008 – 2015. Since 2014, the Evaluation Team estimates that this translates into an annual reach of over 1 million people annually.

Did you imagine that the impact and reach of NanoDays was that great?

Estimating the public reach of the NISE Network has been an ongoing process throughout the project, which has involved multiple counting studies and other data-based projects. The estimation of public reach of NanoDays events relied on two data collection instruments: the counting protocol and the NanoDays report. But wait, there’s more! Did you know that there have also been counting studies done on the Nano exhibition, which currently has 93 copies in circulation across the country? When we combine the estimates for NanoDays and the Nano exhibition, it is projected that the NISE Network currently reaches over 10 million people a year through these educational products!

Continue reading the full blog post to learn how partners are incorporating NanoDays materials into other programming throughout the year and an estimated total public reach for the NISE Network through NanoDays efforts and the Nano Exhibition.

 

SCIENCE IN THE NEWS
Nano News

Nanotechnology: super small science
This six-part video series, produced by NBC Learn in partnership with the National Science Foundation, shows viewers how atoms and molecules that are thousands of times smaller than the width of a human hair can be used as building blocks to create future technology. Videos run in length from five to six minutes and cover the following topics: harnessing the nanoscale, quantum dots and solar cells, nanoelectronics, nanoscale coatings, materials, and nanosensors.

Rice University develops conductive graphene composite material to heat surfaces, simplify ice removal
Researchers from Rice University are harnessing nanoribbons, a technology previously developed by Rice scientists where nanotubes are unzipped into thin flat sheets using a chemical process, that can be used in coatings for real-time de-icing of aircraft, wind turbines, transmission lines and other surfaces exposed to winter weather. This thin coating of nanoribbons can be "painted" on to surfaces or combined with other polymers allowing the coating to be electrothermally heated when small voltages are applied thereby melting ice. Rice chemist James Tour suggests that "applying this composite to wings could save time and money at airports where the glycol-based chemicals now used to de-ice aircraft are also an environmental concern and as an added bonus may also help protect aircraft from lightening strikes. 

Synthetic Biology News

Zika virus set to spread across Americas, spurring vaccine hunt
Coming hard on the heals of the recent Ebola outbreaks in West Africa, the mosquito-borne Zika virus which has been linked to fetal deformation known as microcephaly, in which babies are born with smaller than usual brains, is reportedly affecting thousands in Brazil. According to the World Health Organization, Zika's rapid spread to 21 countries and territories in the Americas since May 2015 is due to the prevalence of Aedes aegypti mosquito and lack of immunity among the population. In addition to finding a vaccine, some scientists are also planning to use the Aedes mosquitos to fight the spread of the virus through the deployment of self-limiting (meaning only male offspring are produced when they mate) genetically modified strains of the mosquito helping to limit the spread of the virus [watch TEDTalk for more info about genetically engineering the mosquito].

God, malaria, and wolverine claws: Colbert talks CRISPR with George Church
Geneticist and CRISPR pioneer George Church from Harvard University sat down with Steven Colbert to talk about CRISPR, the gene editing technique that is currently making waves in the news. Colbert inquires about some of the more far-fetch applications of CRISPR while also touching on the ethical issues with gene editing. Church points out that currently this technology is being used in the lab to make mosquitos resistant to malaria.
 


NANO THROUGHOUT THE YEAR

Great Backyard Bird Count (February 12-15) Valentine's Day (February 14) NISE Net-related activities

National Engineers Week (February 21-27)

Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day (February 25)

NanoDays 2016 (March 26-April 3)

For a list of nano activities for use throughout the year, see NISE Net's list of seasonal activities.
 
MEETINGS AND CONFERENCES

February 11 - 15, 2016 - American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 2016 Annual Meeting - Washington, DC

February 29 - March 2, 2016 - NSF AISL PI Meeting 2016 - Bethesda, MD

 

March 28 - April 1, 2016 - 2016 MRS Spring Meeting - Phoenix, AZ

 

May 4 - 7, 2016 - Association of Children's Museums (ACM) Interactivity 2016 - Norwalk, CT

 

Follow the NISE Net on Social Media!
Twitter
Facebook
Linkedin


Do you have something you would like to submit for inclusion in the NISE Network Nano Bite monthly e-newsletter? Please send your announcements, articles, or community opportunities to Kayla Berry at kberry@mos.org.