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Nano Bite: February 2013

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

What's new?

Online Brown-Bag Conversations
The NISE Network has launched a series of online brown-bag conversations focused on helping NISE Network partners share their work and learn from others in the Network. The aim of the online brown-bag conversations is to increase the number of professional development opportunities available to NISE Net partners, create more channels for Network partners to learn from each other directly, and create ways for partners to follow-up on ideas or efforts that emerge at in-person meetings. You can find details for all of the NISE Network's online brown-bag conversations on the events page. Details and sign-up links for the upcoming conversations before NanoDays are below:

NanoDays 2013, March 30-April 7
 NanoDays 2013 Digital Kit is Available
If you did not receive a 2013 Physical Kit, the NanoDays 2013 Digital Kit is available for download by anyone. The 2013 Digital Kit has the files for instructions, lesson plans, supply lists, marketing materials, and multimedia files for the NanoDays 2013 activities.

→ Promotional Materials with "Link to Us" Website Icons
On the NISE Net Promotional Materials Page you can find a variety of materials for marketing your NanoDays event. One highlight from that page is the Link to Us - Website Icons, which let's you customize and create an embeddable widget for your website.

NanoDays 2013 Participants for Partnering
To search through all of the partners by region who will be participating in NanoDays this year, click here.

New in the Catalog
→ A Guide to Building Partnerships Between Science Museums and University-Based Research Centers
This Partnership Guide features step-by-step advice on planning, developing, funding, and maintaining education outreach partnerships between research centers and museums. Hard copies of the guide have also been included in the NanoDays 2013 Physical Kit.

 Nano Museum Labels (Graphic Signs)
This series of Museum Labels are designed for general use in your museum or institution to highlight existing connections to nanoscale science, engineering, or technology. NISE Net partners frequently come up with creative ways to use these labels to showcase nano. For example, you can make a scavenger hunt or special tour to encourage visitors to find all the connections. Additional templates are provided so that you can create your own signage and content.

Featured Finding
How does the public make decisions about societal and ethical issues (SEI) in science? We’ve been researching past Nanotechnology Forums and the Would You Buy That? program to identify patterns in how the public responds to the facilitation approaches we have used in our SEI programming over the past six years. We will be highlighting results from this research over the next two months in our Featured Finding section.
  • One facilitation approach was voting, a commonly used technique in societal and ethical interactive experiences, which resulted in different responses depending on whether participants voted in groups or on their own. When voting was introduced into a group conversation, it instigated additional conversation. When individuals were asked to vote, it served as a closure activity, rather than the start of new discussion.

Partner Highlights

NISE Net & Girls RISEnet Partner in Alaska for Gender Equity in STEM Learning
This past October, members of the NISE Net Inclusive Audience team had a unique opportunity to partner with Girls RISE (Raising Interest in Science and Engineering) Museum Network to co-host a two-day workshop at the Museum of the North in Fairbanks Alaska on gender equity in STEM learning and to increase participation of girls and diverse audiences in the field of nano science and engineering. For more information on the workshop, read this Partner Highlight by Tim Hecox of the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry, the regional hub leader for the West region.

→ NanoFabulous Exhibition: A Strategic Partnership
In 2008, the University of Maryland Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) and the Port Discovery Children’s Museum (PDCM) established a partnership to enhance Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) learning for PDCM visitors. The goals of this partnership encompass a wide range of objectives that require a long-lasting and resilient partnership.
 Starting with programming activities for NanoDays and hands-on science for PDCM’s Discovery Days, the partnership has taken on increasingly ambitious projects, leading to the creation of NanoFabulous.  To read more about NanoFabulous and MRSEC and PDCM, check out this Partner Highlight by Jayatri Das of The Franklin Institute, the regional hub leader for the Mid-Atlantic region.

Nano in the News
  • Buffering Against Alcohol: Using a new assembly method, scientists have combined multiple enzymes in a polymer nanocapsule to reduce blood alcohol levels and liver damage in drunken mice. The research, which employed a new technique to assemble and encapsulate multiple enzymes, suggests that tailored enzyme nanocomplexes could be built for a wide range of applications.
  • High-energy X-rays Shine Light on Mystery of Picasso's Paints: The Art Institute of Chicago teamed up with Argonne National Laboratory to help unravel a decades-long debate among art scholars about what kind of paint Picasso used. The key to decoding this long-standing mystery was the development of a unique high-energy X-ray instrument called the hard x-ray nanoprobe at Argonne. The nanoprobe is designed to advance the development of high-performance materials and sustainable energy.

Seasonal Activities
→ Some ideas for winter activities include: Ready, Set, Self-Assemble and Snowflakes: Nano at its Coolest. For more ideas on how to connect nanoscience to seasonal and annual events, please check out

Nano Haiku

Nano is coming.
We'll all die from grey goo,
But not from cancer.

This alternately foreboding and hopeful haiku form comes to us from Anders Liljeholm, formerly of the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry.

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