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Area Museums Announce NanoDays 2010: The Nation’s Largest Public Outreach Effort in Nanoscale Informal Science Education | Mar 27- Apr 4

Platinum atoms are arranged in closely packed hexagonal layers. A top view of this hexagonal structure is shown in this scanning tunneling microscope image. Platinum has applications in automotive engineering, chemical processing, jewelry, electronics, and wires and electrical contacts for use in corrosive or high-voltage environments. Platinum is also a component in magnetic coatings for high-density hard disc drives and new varieties of optical storage systems. D.Eigler, IBM Almaden Research Center

This is a photograph of an organic light-emitting diode (OLED). OLEDs are being used in the newest generation of television screens. An OLED is comprised of a thin organic film held between conductors. When electrical current is applied to the conductors, the film emits a bright light. Because OLEDs emit light, OLED-based displays do not require backlighting. That's why these displays are both thinner and more efficient than today’s common LCD screens, which require an additional internal light source. Several major electronics companies have recently introduced OLED-based television screens. R Ovilla, University of Texas at Dallas

Marbles Kids Museum and the Museum of Life and Science are partnering with area science centers and universities to celebrate NanoDays™, the fifth statewide and third nationwide celebration of educational programs about nanoscale science and its potential impact. The largest public outreach effort in nanoscale informal science education, NanoDays events will take place March 27-April 4, 2010 at over 300 science museums, research centers and universities nationwide forming the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net).

Join museum staff and area scientists from the Museum of Life and Science, Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, Marbles Kids Museum, Duke University, UNC-CH and NC State University for all kinds of hands-on programs and demonstrations about the science of the very small. The Triangle’s NanoDays events are designed to engage North Carolinians in nanoscale science and engineering education, research and technology. NanoDays activities are appropriate for all age groups. For a complete list of all NanoDays activities in the Triangle visit www.scienceinthetriangle.org/nanodays2010

Museum of Life and Science  (March 27 – 11am-3pm)

Join Museum staff and scientists from Duke and IBM for a day of hands-on programs and demonstrations about nanoscale science, engineering and technology. We will feature various hands-on activities designed to excite, engage and educate people of all ages with special activities focusing on the impacts of nanoscale materials on the environment and allowing visitors to discover for themselves how and why this research is so important.

Morehead Planetarium and Science Center (March 27 – 11am-3pm)

Celebrate NanoDays 2010 at Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, Saturday, March 27 from 11am-3pm. Join educators and UNC scientists in learning about nanoscience research, particularly as it relates to medicine and human health. Participate in hands-on activities, demonstrations and laboratory tours featuring big research at the smallest scale. Sponsored in conjunction with The UNC Institute for Advanced Materials and the Dept. of Physics and Astronomy.

Marbles Kids Museum (March 27 – 9am-5pm)

NanoDays at Marbles is a big day for little stuff! Atoms…molecules…particles, oh my! Meet nanoscientists from Duke University as they present hands-on programs and interactive demonstrations on all things small.

NC State University (April 23 – 3pm-5pm)

Explore amazing new applications and consumer products that have resulted from nanotechnology at NC State University’s NanoDays to be held from 3- 5 on April 23, 2010 at Engineering Building 1 on Centennial Campus.  Events include demonstrations in nanoscale science, talks by leading researchers, and tours of laboratories that are doing cutting edge science. The grand finale will be the opportunity to sample nano ice cream made by our team of nano engineers.

Microscope image of a cross section of a butterfly wing are on the undersides of the Morpho's wing scale ridges. These microribs reflect light to create iridescent colors. The Blue Morpho is common in Central and South America and known for its bright blue wings. However, these iridescent colors are created not by pigments in the wing tissues but instead by the way light interacts with nanometer-sized structures on the Morpho's wing scales. This effect is being studied as a model in the development of new fabrics, dye-free paints, and anti-counterfeit technologies for currency. S.Yoshioka, Osaka University

Microscope image of a cross section of a butterfly wing are on the undersides of the Morpho's wing scale ridges. These microribs reflect light to create iridescent colors. The Blue Morpho is common in Central and South America and known for its bright blue wings. However, these iridescent colors are created not by pigments in the wing tissues but instead by the way light interacts with nanometer-sized structures on the Morpho's wing scales. This effect is being studied as a model in the development of new fabrics, dye-free paints, and anti-counterfeit technologies for currency. S.Yoshioka, Osaka University

Super Small Size with Potentially Big Impact

The colors of the Blue Morpho's wing are generated by nanometer-sized structures on the wing's scales. In this image, light reflected from the scales creates the Morpho's characteristic iridescent blue color. F. Nijhout, Duke University

The colors of the Blue Morpho's wing are generated by nanometer-sized structures on the wing's scales. In this image, light reflected from the scales creates the Morpho's characteristic iridescent blue color. F. Nijhout, Duke University

Nanotechnology is the catch-all term used to describe, in short, science and engineering on an insanely small scale. From synthetic bone and smart drug delivery capsules to nanoparticles that capture pollutants, nanoscale science and engineering explores revolutionary approaches to creating new materials, systems, and devices by manipulating matter at the nanoscale (a nanometer is 1/80,000th the width of a human hair).

So what’s the big deal? What makes nanotechnology so important and newsworthy? What will nanotechnology do for us? Well, as it turns out, nanoscale engineering stands to revolutionize everything from IT and construction to medicine and the military. But despite this promise, the public knows little about nanotechnology or the research and development being carried out by numerous federal agencies and by universities and corporations right in their own communities.

So in an effort to keep things moving, scientists and educators are teaming up to “bring nanotech to the masses” – to engage Triangle residents in the issues surrounding nanoscale science and technology. Gail Jones, Professor of Science Education in the department of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education at North Carolina State University says “NanoDays has been a huge hit with teachers, parents and students from across North Carolina. You can learn about cutting edge science, possible new careers, and get to visit science labs and meet the researchers. It is a great way for us to recruit students to the University as well as educate the public about the new discoveries being made.”

What makes this NanoDays so special are the partnerships being developed between area science museums and research centers says Brad Herring, Director of Nanoscale Informal Science Education at the Museum of Life and Science. “Such partnerships leverage the content expertise of the research centers with the engagement expertise of the science museum educators, to create a broad menu of programs, products, and experiences that are designed to excite, engage and educate people of all ages about the science of the very small.

The orientation of the nickel nanowires shown in this scanning electron microscope can be changed by altering the direction of an applied magnetic field. Nanowires are a key focus of nanotechnology research due to their potential uses in nanoscale electronic, magnetic, optical, and mechanical devices. Nickel nanowires in particular may play an important role in increasing the memory capacity of computer hard disc drives. W.Crone, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The orientation of the nickel nanowires shown in this scanning electron microscope can be changed by altering the direction of an applied magnetic field. Nanowires are a key focus of nanotechnology research due to their potential uses in nanoscale electronic, magnetic, optical, and mechanical devices. Nickel nanowires in particular may play an important role in increasing the memory capacity of computer hard disc drives. W.Crone, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The goal for NanoDays 2010 is to engage the public in these advances in nanoscale research, to capture the imagination of young people who may subsequently choose careers in nanoscale science or technology, and to foster new partnerships among area research institutions and informal science centers. Mihail Roco, key architect of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) and NSF senior advisor for nanotechnology states that “an increased understanding of nanoscale science and engineering is vital to create an informed citizenry and a competitive workforce. We recognize the substantial role of science museums and other informal science education institutions in pioneering innovative science learning experiences, supplementing K-12 school-based science education, and engaging adult audiences.”

About the Museum of Life and Science
The Museum of Life and Science in Durham is one of North Carolina’s top attractions, drawing more than 400,000 visitors in 2009. To learn more about Magic Wings Butterfly House or the Museum, visit www.LifeAndScience.org or call 919.220.5429.

About Marbles Kids Museum and IMAX Theatre
Marbles Kids Museum is a hands-on, minds-on museum that inspires imagination, discovery and learning through extraordinary adventures and larger-than-life IMAX® experiences. Located in downtown Raleigh, Marbles offers dozens of creatively themed exhibits, daily programs and activities, field trips, camps, birthday parties, giant screen IMAX films and special events.  Exhibits are designed for children under 10 and their families. Over 65,000 students from across the state visit on field trips each year, and annual museum visitation reaches 275,000. To learn more, visit www.marbleskidsmuseum.org.

About the NISE Network
The Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net) is a national community of researchers and informal science educators dedicated to fostering public awareness, engagement, and understanding of nanoscale science, engineering, and technology. The NISE Net was created to engage the public in advances in nanoscale research, to capture the imagination of young people who may subsequently choose careers in nanoscale science or technology, and to foster new partnerships among research institutions and informal science centers. Through activities like NanoDays, the NISE Net is building partnerships between science museums and research centers to increase the capacity of both kinds of institutions to engage the public in learning about nanoscale science and engineering. For more information please visit www.nisenet.org

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