For the second consecutive year, the Center for the Environmental Implications for NanoTechnology (CEINT), headquartered at Duke University, has partnered with the NISE Network (Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network), the largest public outreach initiative in nanoscale informal science education in the US to participate in NanoDays 2010 held March 27 – April 4, 2010.
NanoDays is an annual public education program hosted by over 300 museums, educators and researchers across the U. S. and features engaging nanoscale science and technology activities designed to engage participants of all ages in understanding the minuscule world of nano-scale phenomenon- where materials have unique properties and new technologies are rapidly evolving. Through this outreach program, participating children and families learn about nanoscale science and engineering, research and technology and the potential impacts of nanoscale science and technology.
For NanoDays 2010, coordinated by CEINT Associate Director for Assessment and Outreach, Dr. Glenda Kelly, CEINT’s collaboration with the NISE Network and the local NC Museum of Life and Science in Durham NC, expanded to include Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh NC with museum visitors numbering over 2000. CEINT faculty and students created a variety of exciting hands-on nano-scale science activities that held visitors attention throughout the day-long event at both museums.
Activities across the two museums provided visitors insight into the environmental importance of CEINT research. Faculty and students included:
Dr. David Hinton, Duke Professor, Nicholas School of the Environment, and Dr. Cole Matson, CEINT Executive Director, displaying aquariums of Medaka and Killifish and visuals from their work on impacts of nanosilver on these fish. Visitors were offered a chance to view fish under microscopes at different developmental stages while learning how and why these fish are used in research;
Cole Matson points out Medaka fish to museum visitor.
Dr. Claudia Gunsch, Duke, Assistant Professor, CEE, and Christina Aranout, Duke, CEE graduate student, demonstrated their work on assessing impacts of commercial products treated with nanosilver on bacteria and engaged visitors in discovering for themselves whether these materials were effective for bacterial clearing;
Dr. Ben Colman, Duke Postdoc, Biology Department, demonstrated the many roles microorganisms play in food and natural ecosystems as photosynthesizers, nutrient providers, transformers, and recyclers and showed examples of how the antimicrobial nature of silver nanoparticles could influence those roles;
Chai Hoon Quek, Duke graduate student, BME, demonstrated color change as function of UV light exposure in quantum dots, answered questions about the uses of quantum dots, and showed younger visitors visuals from her biomedical applications of quantum dots. Younger visitors were particularly interested in meeting "real scientists" and the fact that Chai brought something from her lab that she had personally created and researched;
Jeff Farner-Budarz, Duke graduate student, CEE, demonstrated where nanomaterials are found in the environment, what these materials are used for, and engaged visitors in examining one way CEINT has tested nanosilver treated products for their effectiveness using bacterial clearing in petri dishes, while discussing why CEINT’s research can potentially impact the environment and why this type matters to society;
CEINT Director Dr. Mark Wiesner and Dr. Glenda Kelly, and Duke post-doc, Dr. Ariette Schierz, CEE, demonstrated how size can impact chemical reactions using a Surface Area Activity kit which allowed comparison of reaction rates of crumbled alka seltzer vs larger alka seltzer tablets and which captivated even the youngest museum visitors.
Ariette Schierz (left) and Mark Weisner (right) demonstrate a nanoparticle reaction using alka seltzer.
Young museum visitors explore
David Jassby, Duke graduate student, CEE, demonstrated differing properties of iron- from nano to macro-scale and engaged younger visitors in exciting hands-on activities involving different states of matter from liquid to solid.
Museum staff praised CEINT researchers and students for their creative activities that engaged even the youngest of visitors in learning about the science of the small.
Plans are underway to expand CEINTs involvement in NanoDays for 2011 to the Washington DC area thru the enthusiastic leadership of CEINT co-PI Dr. Kim Jones of Howard University and to the Pittsburg area under direction of Dr. Greg Lowry, CEINT Deputy Director, and Professor of CEE, Caregie Mellon University.