Science at the nanoscale

An official Nanoscape Assembler at a 2006 Exploratorium event © Exploratorium

How do science centers engage the public in science they can’t see? The Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net) will share their stories during the ASTC Annual Conference, October 13–16, Los Angeles. The challenges are tough, network members report. As one member reflects, “The scale is unfamiliar, the science is hairy, and many people think we’re talking about iPods!”

A growing network of science centers working with funding from the National Science Foundation, NISE Net has been interviewing visitors, prototyping exhibits, planning programs, and developing web resources over the past two years. They’ll share some of the results of their work so far in showcase-style sessions set for Sunday afternoon and Tuesday morning.

On Monday morning, Jeffrey C. Grossman, head of the NSF Nanoscience and Engineering Center at the University of California at Berkeley, will speak about nanotechnology research and future applications. Dr. Grossman’s research focuses on development of simulation tools to understand, predict, and design novel nanoscale materials. Applications range from predicting new materials for efficient photovoltaics to examining the microscopic properties of water.

Conference-goers are encouraged to check out exhibit prototypes in the Exhibit Hall, drop by one of the nano sessions, offer comments, and learn how these exhibits and programs could end up on the floor of their museums.

Photo by Erin Wilson © Exploratorium: An official Nanoscape Assembler with his gold nanoparticle at the Exploratorium’s summer 2006 Nanoscape event.

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