Small Matters: Communicating Science at the Nanoscale

February 8th, 2008 - Posted in 2008, Dimensions by Christina Jones

Dimensions coverIN THIS ISSUE
January/Febuary 2008

Much of this issue is devoted to the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net), a National Science Foundation-funded initiative intended to foster an informed U.S. citizenry and a competitive workforce in the emerging field of nanotechnology. Articles from the Museum of Science, Boston (lead institution), Science Museum of Minnesota, Exploratorium, and others describe network members’ progress in creating new public programs, exhibitions, media, online resources, and professional development opportunities based on the latest in nanotechnology. Of course, NISE Net was not the first to tackle the nano challenge. Here, too, are stories of pioneering exhibitions about science at the nanoscale and a preview of projects now done in development.

• A Very, Very Small Opportunity, by David Rejeski
Thoughtful Decisions: The Evolution of the NISE Net Forums, by Larry Bell and Troy Livingston
• RISE: A Community-Focused Strategy for Public Engagement, by Carol Lynn Alpert
• Scientists Speak about Nano: Nanoscience and the Public, by Bob Westervelt
• Visualizing the Invisible: At the Frontier of Art and Science, by Tom Rockwell
• Scientists Speak about Nano: Capturing the Public Imagination, by Krishna Madhavan
• Too Small to Grasp? Lessons from Formative Exhibit Evaluation, by Kirsten Ellenbogen
• Scientists Speak about Nano: Nanoscale Science and the Science Curriculum, by M. Gail Jones
• Scientists Speak about Nano: Nanotechnology as a Catalyst for Change, by Ainissa G. Ramirez
• A Nano Sampler: Exhibiting Emerging Technologies, by Natasha Waterson, Darrell Porcello and Catherine McCarthy
• Resources for Nanoscale Science and Technology Learning

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Thoughtful Decisions: The Evolution of the NISE Net Forums

February 8th, 2008 - Posted in 2008, Dimensions by Christine Ruffo

By Larry Bell and Troy LivingstonParticipants in a June 2007 NISE Net forum at the Museum of Science, Boston, ponder the medical applications of nanotechnology. Photo courtesy Museum of Science
From ASTC Dimensions
January/Feburary 2008

Though scientific research may at times appear removed from the daily concerns of life, the development of new technologies based on that research inevitably has societal implications. Decisions about technological development, therefore, require input beyond scientific knowledge, as the authors of Science for All Americans, a 1989 report from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), pointed out when they wrote that “engineering decisions, whether in designing an airplane bolt or an irrigation system, inevitably involve social and personal values as well as scientific judgments.”1 Technically Speaking, a 2002 report from the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), suggested a role for the public in decisions about technology: “In a democratic society, people must be involved in the technological decisions that affect them . . . .”2

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