The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History presents NanoDays 2009, a nationwide festival of educational programs about nanoscale science and engineering, March 28 to April 5. The Lemelson Center is one of more than 200 science museums, research centers and universities across the country presenting hands-on activities, experiments and lectures pertaining to nanotechnology.
During NanoDays, the Lemelson Center offers visitors of all ages the opportunity to learn about nanotechnology through activities and experiments in Spark!Lab, the center's hands-on invention and science space. Activities include constructing a giant model of a carbon nanotube entirely from balloons, measuring height in nanometers and creating a liquid crystal display that changes color as well as other nanotechnology-related experiments.
"Nanotechnology is a perfect example of how something very small can have such a big importance," said Arthur Molella, director of the center. "At the Lemelson Center, we believe that the tiniest spark of an idea can have widespread impact on everyday life."
NanoDays activities in Spark!Lab will be led by science educators from the Lemelson Center, the National Museum of Natural History, the National Air and Space Museum, the University of Maryland Material Research Science and Engineering Center, Northern Virginia Community College, the Association of Science-Technology Centers and the National Children's Museum.
On Saturday, April 4, the Lemelson Center partners with Howard University Nanoscale Science and Engineering professor Gary Harris to demonstrate the NanoExpress, a fully mobile van with 208 square feet of lab space designed to facilitate hands-on experiments and nanotechnology research. That same day, the center hosts experts from the Woodrow Wilson Center's Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies. Nano researcher Todd Kuiken highlights commercially available products that use nanotechnology, and chief science advisor Andrew Maynard provides a deeper look at nanotechnology in a talk titled "So Nano So What? The What Why Where of Nanotechnology."
NanoDays is organized by the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network, an organization funded by the National Science Foundation in 2005 to support a core group of science museums in collaboratvely developing innovating approaches to engage Americans in learning about nanoscale science and engineering.
NanoDays, the largest public outreach effort in nanoscale informal science education, is in its second year bringing university researchers together with science museum educators to create unique opportunities for children and adults to explore the miniscule world of atoms, molecules and nanoscale forces.
NISE Network partners include the core leadership team of the Museum of Science, Boston, the Science Museum of Minnesota and the Exploratorium in San Francisco. NanoDays 2009 is also supported by the Materials Research Society and the Association of Science-Technology Centers.
The Smithsonian's Lemelson Center is dedicated to exploring invention in history and encouraging inventive creativity in young people. The center is supported by The Lemelson Foundation, a private philanthropy established by one of the country's most prolific inventors, Jerome Lemelson, and his family. The Lemelson Center is located in the National Museum of American History. For more information, visit invention.smithsonian.org.
The National Museum of American History collects, preserves and displays American heritage in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. To learn more about the museum, check http://americanhistory.si.edu. For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000, (202) 633-5285 (TTY).
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