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Events celebrate nanotechnology

March 20, 2008

How do you visualize a world you cannot see with the naked eye?

At the University of Wisconsin–Madison, it’s a challenge Greta Zenner faces every day. On campus, Zenner is in charge of outreach for the National Science Foundation-funded Materials Research Science and Engineering Center on Nanostructured Interfaces. She and her students devise ways to share nanotechnology — an emerging scientific area that deals in dimensions too small to see — with the world.

The public can get up close and personal with nanotechnology research during a series of free public nanotechnology events on campus during "Nano Days," Saturday, March 29-Sunday, April 6.

The lineup includes:

  • Throughout the week: Nanotube Little Thing coloring contest for all ages. Download the coloring page or pick one up at any of several Madison-area businesses, including the Madison Children’s Museum, Happy Bambino, Café ZuZu and Wild Child. Winners will be announced at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 5, at Science Expeditions, held on the UW–Madison College of Engineering campus.
  • Thursday, April 3: Kimberly Duncan and Katie Cadwell present "Exploring the Nanoworld." This hands-on seminar will introduce nanotechnology, demonstrate why the field is exciting and highlight its place in everyday life. It will be held from 7-8:15 p.m. in Room 1111 of the Genetics-Biotechnology Building, 425 Henry Mall.
  • Saturday, April 5: Science Expeditions. This annual public science expo will include a two-story carbon nanotube balloon model, hands-on nanotechnology activities, the Nanoworld Discovery Center exhibit, an announcement of the Nanotube Little Thing coloring contest winners and "Medieval Nanotechnologists," a science spectacular that highlights the beauty of nanoparticles and how they were used in medieval stained-glass windows. The events will be held from noon-5 p.m. at the UW–Madison engineering campus.

Locally, the UW–Madison Materials Research Science and Engineering Center and NSF-funded Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center are sponsoring Nano Days in conjunction with nationwide activities organized by partners in the NSF-funded Nanoscale Informal Science Education (NISE Net) Network.

A collaboration among several science museums and scientific organizations, including UW–Madison, NISE Net aims to develop innovative materials and methods for increasing public knowledge about and understanding of nanotechnology.