Skip to main content

Nano Bite: May 2011

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

What's new?

 New programs in the NISE Net Catalog!
Horton Senses Something Small: In this story time program, young visitors listen to the Dr. Seuss book "Horton Hears a Who". They look at small things using lenses and use their sense of smell to detect things that are too small to see. Visitors also make and decorate a craft.

Mentos and Soda Explosion: This is a dramatic demonstration of the effects of surface area. It probably works best as a finale added on to other nano demos (such as Intro to Nano or Surface Area).

→ Partner Highlight: NanoZoo Connects - Memphis Zoo Education Department Awarded USDA Grant
The United States Department of Agriculture has awarded the Memphis Zoo's Education Department a $500,000 grant under the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program administered by the Rural Utilities Service. The Memphis Zoo applied for the grant to help fund a nanotechnology program called "NanoZoo Connects." This program will initially reach 14 schools in rural Tennessee through distance learning technology. The Memphis Zoo's "Discovery Center" will be renovated to become a state-of-the-art studio in which Zoo educators will be able to communicate through a video-bridge with some 7000 students in rural classrooms. For an additional take on the grant, read the FrogHeart blog post on the Memphis Zoo.

New Blog Post
CAPITALIZING on your NanoDays Partnerships, Pt. 2: If you enjoyed Part 1 last month, be sure to check out this latest installment for more ways to build on partnerships established during NanoDays this year.

NanoDays Reports
The deadline for reports was May 1st; but if you missed the deadline, we would still love to hear about your NanoDays event:

What Else?

2011 Risk Science Symposium
The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor will host the 2011 Risk Science Symposium on September 20-21. This symposium will bring together leading thinkers to explore new ideas on integrative approaches to health risks, uncertainty and innovation, as people look to develop sustainable solutions to global challenges in an increasingly fragile world. For more information: click here.
 Association of Children's Museums Pre-Conference Workshop
We are offering an all day pre-conference workshop at the Association of Children's Museums Interactivity Conference on May 18th in Houston. Financial assistance is available to attend. If you are interested in attending the workshop but have not registered yet, please contact Aaron Guerrero immediately ([email protected]). For more information:

Nano summer beach reading
A nanoscientist at Cornell, Paul McEuen, has written a thriller (fiction) featuring nanotechnology, "Spiral". For the New York Times review of "Spiral": click here.


Nano in the News

  • Rogue Waves are Not Tsunamis: Rogue waves are gigantic ocean waves that can be over 100 feet high. But rogue waves are not tsunamis, said Tulane University physicist Lev Kaplan. Tsunamis are caused by undersea earthquakes. Rogue waves seem to appear out of nowhere. In an effort to develop better models for predicting rogue waves, researchers are studying electron transport in nano structures.
  • A Breakthrough on Paper That's Stronger Than Steel: A University of Technology Sydney research team has developed reproducible test results and nanostructural samples of graphene paper. These graphene nanosheet stacks consist of monolayer hexagonal carbon lattices and are placed in perfectly arranged laminar structures which give them exceptional thermal, electrical and mechanical properties. Compared to steel, the prepared graphene paper is six times lighter, five to six times lower density, two times harder with ten times higher tensile strength and thirteen times higher bending rigidity.
  • Solar Power Goes Viral: Researchers at MIT have found a way to make significant improvements to the power-conversion efficiency of solar cells by enlisting the services of tiny viruses to perform detailed assembly work at the nanoscale. The new research is based on findings that carbon nanotubes can enhance the efficiency of electron collection in solar cells. Researchers found that a genetically engineered version of a virus can be used to control the arrangement of carbon nanotubes on a surface, keeping the tubes separate so they cannot short out the circuits, and keeping the tubes apart so they do not clump, greatly increasing the efficiency of the solar cells.
Nano Haiku

Viruses align
Carbon nanotubes for the
Thinnest solar cell

by Anna Lindgren-Streicher of the Museum of Science, Boston. This haiku was written in response to the above news piece, Solar Power Goes Viral.

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