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Nano Bite: December 2010

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

What's New? 

 New to the NISE Net Catalog

NISE Net Content Map: Just in time for the new year, NISE Net has published the first version of our content map! Nanoscale Science in Informal Learning Experiences: NISE Network Content Map articulates the 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. The Content Map is in the Tools and Guides section of the Catalog on


→ Winter Officially Begins on December 21st 

As the cooler months come upon us, now is a great time to think about snowflakes... at the nanoscale! We've all heard that no two snowflakes are exactly alike, but did you know that their unique structures result from the nanoscale arrangement of water molecules in an ice crystal? Two snowflake-related activities in the NISE Net Catalog are:


Snowflakes: Nano at its Coolest  is a cart demonstration/program featuring videos of snowflakes growing in addition to an opportunity to observe real ice crystals growing in a chilled chamber.


Exploring Fabrication - Self-Assembly has several full-body interactive games to play modeling the process of self-assembly in nature and nanotechnology. Snowflakes are one of the examples of systems that self-assemble in nature, and nanoscientists study them for this property. In addition to being available for download from our catalog, Exploring Fabrication - Self-Assembly is also included in this year's NanoDays kit.


Interested in learning more about whether it's really true that no two snowflakes are exactly alike? Our snowflake source at Cal Tech has an interesting examination of the question: Is it really true that no two snowflakes are alike?

And an alternative angle on the debate: Two snowflakes may actually be alike


→ Still time to apply for a NanoDays Kit!

The deadline for the online application for 2011 NanoDays kits is December 10th. More information on the kits including links to activities and eligibility requirements can be found at and the NanoDays blog post.



What Else?

→ 2011 is the International Year of Chemistry
The International Year of Chemistry 2011 is a worldwide celebration of the achievements of chemistry and its contributions to the well-being of humankind. 2011 is also the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Prize awarded to Madame Marie Curie and the 100th anniversary of the founding of the International Association of Chemical Societies.

- Looking for some good chemistry activities? During the October National Chemistry Week celebration at theMuseum of Science, visitors enjoyed the Exploring Materials - Liquid Crystals activity. This is a hands-on activity that lets participants investigate the properties of a heat sensitive liquid crystal and even make their own liquid crystal sensor to take home! This activity can be found in the NISE Net Catalog and was part of last year's NanoDays kit. 

- Another great chemistry self-assembly activity in the Catalog is Sweet Self-Assembly. Participants get to make edible macrocapsules using techniques similar to those being used in laboratories to make nanocapsules or "smart drugs".

Exploring Size: Scented Balloons lets visitors use their sense of smell to explore the world at the nanoscale. They learn that we can smell some things that are too small to see, and that a nanometer is a billionth of a meter. This activity will be part of this year's NanoDays kit.


 New Blog Posts on

The three keynote presentations at the Network-Wide Meeting in San Francisco last month are now available in a blog post on The presentations are:

- Smoke, Mirrors and Some Really Cool Science: Current Trends and Issues in Nanotechnology by Andrew Maynard.

- Engaging the Public on Nanotechnologies - so how are we doing? by Kathy Sykes

- NISE Network in Years 6-10 by Larry Bell.


Several new blog posts in addition to this one can be found at:


→ The Science & Development Network Explores Nanotechnology Opportunities in Healthcare

The Science & Development Network, which provides news, views and information about science, technology and the developing world has published a Spotlight on Nanotechnology for Health. This collection of articles and opinion pieces offers a look at Nanotechnology and potential medical applications for it in the developing world.

→ Nano Faculty Position Available
The University of Wisconsin-Platteville is accepting applications for a tenure-track assistant professor position in Physics, with a specialization in Physics Education Research. The start date is August 23, 2011 and review of applications will begin January 4, 2011. Interested candidates can find specifics about the position, the department, and the application process at:


Nano Haikus

There were several great Haiku submissions this month!

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.


Questions? Haikus? Contributions to the newsletter? Contact Eli Bossin at [email protected]