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Nano Bite: May 2013

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

NanoDays 2013
 Thank You! Share your NanoDays Photos
Over 200 NanoDays events took place across the country this year from March 30 - April 7. We've been hearing wonderful stories from partners, and are always excited to see photos from your NanoDays 2013 events. In particular, we love to get photos of your NanoDays team. Please see this blog post for detailed information: /blog/post/nanodays-2013-sharing-photos-your-event.

→ Reporting on your NanoDays Event
If you received a 2013 Physical Kit, and have not yet filled out a report, the deadline to do so is May 1. For details on the report, go to: 

What's New?

The DIY Nano App is now Available for the iPad
DIY Nano HD for iPad is now available. It provides free, easy to use, hands-on activities at your fingertips. Information on both the iPad and iPhone versions of the app is available here: /blog/post/diy-nano-app-now-available-ipad.

What Else?

Association of Children's Museums (ACM) Interacitvity 2013
If you or your colleagues are attending ACM 2013 in Pittsburgh, PA, please join the NISE Network for a variety of events and sessions. For details, go to: /events/acm/association-childrens-museums-acm-interactivity-2013.

American Alliance for Museums Annual Meeting and Museum Expo 2013
The NISE Network invites partners to gather informally for a happy hour at the AAM Meeting May 20, 2013 in Baltimore, MD. Details are available at: /events/other/aam-annual-meeting-and-museum-expo-2013.

2013 MRS Fall Meeting Education Symposium Abstract Deadline
The Education Symposium has become a most valuable staple within the Technical Programming portion of the MRS Meetings. They have proven to be significant opportunities for the sharing of research and networking between education and research communities. The deadline to submit abstracts for this symposium is June 19, 2013. Additional information about the symposium and MRS Fall 2013 Conference: /events/materials-research-society-mrs/2013-mrs-fall-meeting.

NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers (MRSEC) - Opportunities for Informal Educators
The National Science Foundation has released a new solicitation for MRSECs that contains opportunities for informal science educators to support, work, or partner with MRSECs. Over a dozen of the current MRSECs have been involved in NISE Net partnerships already. This solicitation opens up the possibility for new collaborations between science museums and research centers in the years ahead. Partnerships between science museums and universities can support the broader impacts criteria of NSF funding, and can help communicate the value of current research to the public. Regional hub leaders can also be great resources to help with local partnerships.

Science Xplained: Ice Cream Chemistry
In this segment, Dr. Ainissa Ramirez describes the science behind ice cream. She demonstrates how our knowledge of how ice freezes can be applied to ice cream and avalanches.


Partner Highlights

Adelante Chicas Summer Camp
In July of 2012, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) was invited to participate in a unique summer STEM camp program called Adelante Chicas, to present creative and hands-on experiments on nanotechnology.

Adelante Chicas is an innovative youth development program helping Latina girls develop their leadership potential, build strong cultural identity, adopt healthy lifestyles, and achieve academic success. The program was created by Adelante Mujeres, an organization whose main objective is to empower low-income Latina women and families by providing them with tools to achieve success in the areas of education and enterprise. The Adelante Chicas STEM camp engages Latina youth in workshops and group discussions, exploring education and discovering the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as healthy life styles and the benefit of healthy eating and exercising.  

For more information on the Adelante Chicas STEM camp at OMSI, read the full Partner Highlight by Tim Hecox of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, the regional hub leader for the West region.

BIG Nano Experiences at the South Dakota Discovery Center
The South Dakota Discovery Center (SDDC) has always promoted cutting edge science and supported youth in their community. Currently touring the Nano mini-exhibit to schools and libraries throughout the Dakotas, SDDC works hard to bring their programming to students in underrepresented areas. Earlier this year, SDDC helped a local elementary/middle school robotics team achieve great success at the FIRST LEGO League State Tournament in Sioux Falls, SD.
Using nanotechnology, the TechnoKids Lego Robotics team wished to develop a concept for Muscle Assist Clothing to help improve mobility for senior citizens. This idea was prompted by the 2012-13 competition’s theme "Senior Solutions." In addition to building and programming a robot, the teams had to research and propose a solution to a problem within the theme. For the task, the TechnoKids interviewed senior citizens about the difficulties they faced with mobility as they aged. Based on interviews, the team developed the idea for a pair of pants that would use carbon nanotubes and sensors to stimulate muscles in elderly individuals who needed assistance walking or standing up.

For more on these programs and the winning FIRST LEGO League team, contact SDDC Executive Director, Kristie Maher. To read the full SDDC partner highlight, click here. This highlight by Christina Akers of the Science Museum of Minnesota, the regional hub leader for the Midwest region.

Nano in the News
  • Nanosponges Soak Up Toxins Released by Bacterial Infections and Venom: Engineers have invented a nanosponge capable of safely removing a broad class of dangerous toxins from the bloodstream - including toxins produced by MRSA, E. coli, and snake and bee venom. These nanosponges can neutralize "pore-forming toxins," which destroy cells by poking holes in their cell membranes. These nanosponges could absorb different pore-forming toxins regardless of their molecular structures, unlike other anti-toxin platforms that need to be custom synthesized for individual toxin type.
  • Carbon Aerogel Supersponge Could Soak Up Oil Spills: Researchers claim to have produced the world's lightest aerogel. The feather-like aerogel is synthesized from a combination of carbon nanotubes and graphene and weighs in at 0.16 milligrams per cubic centimeter, 1/6 that of air. Researchers believe this aerogel could be used as an environmental remediation tool for cleaning up oil spills.
  • 'Particle Man' to 'Nanobots': They Might Be Giants Discuss Their Favorite Science Songs: On the eve of the release of their album 'Nanobots,' They Might Be Giants discuss the connections between science and their music with Wired.

Nano Throughout the Year
→ National children's book week is May 7-13. Check out for activities that go well with children's books and other events throughout the year.

Nano Haikus

Swarming nanobots
Future medical servants
Targeting disease

Swarming nanobots
Values shape technologies
What is our future? 

Brad Herring of the Museum of Life & Science provides his own poetical takes on nanobots, referencing the article Nanobot Miniature Drones Could Advance Micromedicine.

Questions? Haikus? Contributions to the newsletter? Contact Eli Bossin at

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