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April 15, 2013

Small science to take to big stage for upcoming Purdue NanoDays

Nano days

NanoDays 
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - All things nanotechnology will overtake Purdue University's Discovery Park in late April. And we're not talking just about popular MP3 devices. Hundreds of young students, teachers and parents are expected to participate in the third annual NanoDays at Birck Nanotechnology Center and the rest of Discovery Park on April 25 and 26.

The public is invited to NanoDays, which will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. both days at Birck Nanotechnology Center and the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, located at State Street and Martin Jischke Drive.

"Once again, Purdue's NanoDays is inviting the general public to learn and experience how nanomaterials have become a key part of the many technological advances in our world today - from exciting breakthroughs in medicine, computing, sensing, energies and materials technology to cloaking and easy-to-clean trousers," said Ali Shakouri, the Mary Jo and Robert L. Kirk Director of the Birck Nanotechnology Center and a Purdue professor of electrical and computer engineering.

"The faculty and students at the Birck Nanotechnology Center will host 800 K-12 students who want to learn more about this innovative field. We hope to excite these young students in science and engineering and that they come to view themselves as future Purdue students and scientists."

For the first time this year, Purdue is partnering with the Girl Scouts of Central Indiana for a program focused on the principles of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Girls Scouts from throughout the state will participate in a reception from 6-8 p.m. April 24 at the Birck Nanotechnology Center.

"Science activities such as NanoDays will allow girls to discover that science can be an engaging and exciting field of study," said Jaime Hubbard, program manager for the Girl Scouts of Central Indiana. "Through these and other Girl Scout STEM activities, we hope that girls gain the confidence in themselves to continue to explore the sciences into the future. Participating in NanoDays will allow girls to participate and connect with those on the cutting-edge of science."

A team from Birck Nanotechnology Center is organizing the event, and nearly 250 undergraduate and graduate students from a variety of disciplines across campus are assisting.

Students from schools across Indiana plan to participate in Purdue NanoDays, including Silver Creek High School in Sellersburg; Sharp Creek Elementary School and Southwood Junior High School in Wabash; Sunnyside Middle School in Lafayette; Happy Hollow and Cumberland elementary schools in West Lafayette; LaCrosse High School in LaCrosse; Leo High School in Leo; and St. Richard's Episcopal School, Park Tudor School and Charter High School, all in Indianapolis.

More than 2,000 people, including K-12 educators and students, participated in NanoDays 2012. Co-sponsored by the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network, NanoDays is a nationwide festival of educational programs about nanoscale science and engineering and its potential impact on the future.

Nanotechnology is the ability to measure, manipulate and manufacture objects between 1 and 100 nanometers in size. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter; a human hair is roughly 100,000 nanometers in diameter.

Here are some of the activities, games and demonstrations at Purdue NanoDays 2013:

* Exploring Tools-SPM, a hands-on activity in which visitors use a flexible magnet as a model for a scanning probe microscope, a tool that scientists use to work at the nanoscale level.

* Exploring Fabrication-Self-Assembly, which includes full-body interactive games about the process of self-assembly in nature and nanotechnology. Visitors discover self-assembly is a process by which molecules and cells form themselves into functional structures.

* Science Café lectures from Purdue and Birck researchers. Faculty on both days will give 20-minute mini-lectures, which are intended for audiences at the fifth-grade level and older. Topics include everything from nanotechnology's role in making trees stronger for paper production, nanocrystalization and treating cancer through nanoparticles.

Primary sponsors are Discovery Park, Birck Nanotechnology Center, Purdue Office of Engagement, Indianapolis law firm Barnes and Thornburg LLC, Nanovis Inc., Purdue Research Foundation, Intel Corp., as well as private donors Deborah Gillaspie and Frederick Sturm.

Other sponsors include AJ's Burgers & Beef, Panera Bread, Chick-fil-A, Coldstone Creamery, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Mad Mushroom Pizza, Greyhouse Coffee, Meijer, Subway and Olive Garden.

Free parking for NanoDays activities is available to registered users in all A, B and C spots in the lot at the corner of Martin Jischke and Nimitz drives. Registered visitors also can park in the three southernmost rows of the lot and along the west side of Airport Road. Additional parking passes are available for purchase from Purdue's Visitor Information Center, 504 Northwestern Ave. 

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu

Sources: Ali Shakouri, 765-496-6105, shakouri@purdue.edu

Jaime Hubbard, 317-924-6859, jhubbard@girlscoutsindiana.org 

Related link: 
Boiler Bytes: Nano Days 2012 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgLtLZI0rzQ