Smithsonian Offers Activities and Experiments during NanoDays 2011

Visitors Can Explore the World of Atoms, Molecules and Nanoscale Forces
March 29, 2011
The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History presents NanoDays 2011, a nationwide festival of educational programs about nanoscale science and engineering, April 1 to April 3. 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—the study of controlling matter on an atomic and molecular scale.

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 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.”

On Saturday, April 2, the Lemelson Center hosts professors and students from University of Maryland’s Materials Research Science and Engineering Center along with representatives from Nanotec-USA who will showcase various nano-based processes and products. Heather Clark of Northeastern University will be available to visitors to talk about her work in inventing nano glucose sensors.

NanoDays is organized by the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network, an organization funded through a five-year agreement by the National Science Foundation in 2005 to support a core group of science museums in collaboratively developing innovative approaches to engage the public in learning about nanoscale science and engineering.

NanoDays, the largest public outreach effort in nanoscale informal science education, is in its third 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 in Boston, the Science Museum of Minnesota and the Exploratorium in San Francisco. NanoDays 2011 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 For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000, (202) 633-5285 (TTY).