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Nano Bite: September 2014

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

  • NISE Net News and Announcements - 2015 Mini-Grant Program Application Due October 1, 2014
  • Upcoming Events! - 2014 ASTC Conference, National Chemistry Week, Online Brown-Bag Conversations
  • Featured on the Website - Graphene: The Next Big (But Thin) Thing Video, A Hundred Tiny Hands Inventor Kits, Small Matter Audio Series - Nano-Warriors: Pitting Chemistry Against Cancer Story, Marketing Nano: Partner Examples of How It's Done!
  • Partner Highlights - Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Due!; The Perot Museum of Nature and Science Inspires Students and Adults Through "Nanoscience Family Science Night"
  • Nano in the News - Is Using Nano Silver to Treat Ebola Misguided?
There's Still Time to Submit Your Application for a 2015 NISE Network Mini-Grant
Since 2011, NISE Network partners have completed over 170 mini-grant projects! Mini-grants are awards of up to $3000 that support initiatives by partners to engage their local audiences in nano topics. Not quite sure what project your institution could or should embark upon? The NISE Net has a comprehensive list of past projects that can inspire you as you brainstorm project ideas. Search past projects and learn more about mini-grant resources, eligibility, and the application process

Applications for the 2015 Mini-Grant Program are due October 1, 2014 [apply now]. If you have program questions or would like to discuss project ideas, please contact your Regional Hub Leader.

2014 ASTC Annual Conference
If you or your colleagues are making your final arrangements for your trip to Raleigh, NC next month for the ASTC Conference, keep in mind the NISE Net events, workshops, and sessions [see full list of conference activities]. We particularly hope you'll join us at the Museum of Life and Science for the NISE Network reception special event from 4-7pm on Friday (10/17) night to celebrate 10 years of the NISE Net! The reception is free to attend and transportation will be provided. RSVP here.

National Chemistry Week
Looking for ideas on how to incorporate your NanoDays activities into more year-round programming? National Chemistry Week takes place October 19-25, themed "The Sweet Side of Chemistry - Candy," and is a great opportunity for NISE Network partners to collaborate with American Chemical Society members and organize a National Chemistry Week event. Visit for more information and join the October Online Brown-Bag Conversation How to Host a National Chemistry Week Event.

Online Brown-Bag Conversations
RESCHEDULED - Localizing Your NanoDays Kit: Adapting Kit Material for Local Culture and Industry
Unfortunately, the team has had to reschedule this Online Brown-Bag for mid-October. Our apologies to those of you who were looking forward to it next week! As soon as we have the new date and time, we'll update the event page.

How to Host a National Chemistry Week Event
Wednesday, October 1, 2014: 3pm - 4pm ET
During this online brown-bag conversation, presenters will discuss ways in which partners can connect with American Chemistry Society members in your community and will share NISE Net activities that have a candy connection (sweet!) and explain the chemistry behind these activities. [Sign up now]

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something DUE!
By Christina Akers, Science Museum of Minnesota and Midwest Regional Hub Leader

If you're looking for mini-grant project inspiration (don't forget the 2015 Mini-Grant application deadline is October 1st), learn how Midwest regional partners Ann-Arbor Hands-On Museum (AAHOM), Saint Louis Science Center, and Bootheel Youth Museum have developed nanoscience-inspired workshops, summer camps, and totally renovated exhibit space to house the Nano mini-exhibition with support from NISE Net mini-grant awards.
  • The AAHOM developed a 90-minute workshop that through hands-on activities introduced students grade 4-8 to nanoscience and its applications with activities on scale, nano in nature (think geckos!), properties of nanomaterials, and future inventions.
  • At the Saint Louis Science Center, mini-grant funds supported the development of a "Small Science Summer Camp" targeted for high school students and gave campers the opportunity to get hands-on with NanoDays kit activities and experiment in the lab with 3D printing thanks to a local university partnership.
  • Boothel Youth Museum saw the need to upgrade museum exhibit space as a way to improve nano programming for their museum guests. This major endeavor included renovating space for the Nano mini-exhibition and the addition of a staffed hands-on lab and snack area for guests.
Continue reading the full partner highlight to learn about these Midwest partners' mini-grant accomplishments in more detail.

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science Inspires Students and Adults through "Nanoscience Family Science Night"
By Jessica Liken, Perot Museum of Nature and Science

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science, formerly known as the Dallas Museum of Nature and Science, in Dallas, TX, was able to expand their outreach programming through a NISE Net mini-grant by creating a nanoscale science-themed night for local schools called "Nanoscience Family Science Night."

Perot Museum educators presented "Nanoscience Family Science Night" free of charge to eight local schools in under-served and under-developed communities. The program consisted of nine hands-on activity stations, a combination of new and past NanoDays activities, for students and their families to learn how nanoscience is apart of the world all around us and explored topics in biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering. As part of the program, all content was presented in both English and Spanish.

Continue reading the full partner highlight of the Perot Museum's "Nanoscience Family Science Night" and the impact it had on their community. To find out more about this outreach program, please contact Jessica Liken at [email protected].


Featured Findings: Updates from NISE Network Evaluation and Research
The NISE Network’s online annual partner survey was created to learn more about the experiences of participants in NISE Net and how the Network might better support their activities. The online digital library of educational products on the website was found to be the most valuable NISE Network online resource to 2013 Annual Partner Survey Respondents. Paramount to this utility is the presence of downloadable content, simple keyword searching, and the categorization of products by topic.

The NISE Net recently rolled out a redesigned website with some major improvements. The new site features all the same popular content from the existing website but with a fresh new look, much faster load times, and improved content filtering. For more information,
read the full Evaluation and Research blog post.
Is Using Nano Silver to Treat Ebola Misguided?
With the continued Ebola outbreaks in Africa, nanosilver is once again back under the spotlight as a possible treatment for infectious diseases. Ever heard the expression that someone was "born with a silver spoon in their mouth?" That spoon isn't silver to be fancy! Silver has been used for cups, bowls, and utensils for thousands of years because its microbial properties help to prevent food and drink-borne infection.

Doctors and researchers struggling to contain the outbreak and treat the virus are looking for new treatments. The World Health Organization recently sanctioned the use of unlicensed Ebola drugs in West Africa on medical and ethical grounds. One researcher recently submitted an open letter to the president of Nigeria supporting the use of colloidal nano silver (nano silver suspended in water) to deal effectively with the Ebola virus. There is research that supports the effectiveness of silver nanoparticles in rendering Ebola-like viruses ineffective but research was conducted using cell cultures, which still leaves the questions: would these same results occur in an infected patient, what is the appropriate dose someone would need to take, what is the best delivery method of the nanosilver particles, and would it cause unforeseen medical complications?

Read the University of Michigan Risk Science Center's full article that provides a more in-depth look at this issue. There may be future treatments for infectious diseases that use nanosilver and other engineered materials, the medical field is already using gold nanoparticles to fight cancer, but what exactly that role will be remains unclear.

Related NISE Network activities and resources:
Hello Back-to-Schoolers - Check out these NISE Net resources for teachers and students!

For a list of nano activities for use throughout the year, see NISE Net’s list of seasonal activities.

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Read the Nano Bite e-newsletter online at

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 acknowledgements to Kayla Berry, NISE Net Coordinator, at [email protected].