Outreach / Education – Community


NanoDays at Gateway Mall
NanoDays at Gateway Mall
NanoDays at Gateway Mall
NanoDays at Gateway Mall

The Nebraska Center for Materials and Nanoscience (NCMN), the Nebraska Nanoscale Facility (NNF), and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) held Lincoln’s annual NanoDays event at Gateway Shopping Center. NanoDays is a nationwide festival of educational programs about nanoscale science and engineering and its potential impact on the future. The event engages people of all ages in learning about this emerging field of science, which holds the promise of developing revolutionary materials and technologies.

National Nanotechnology Day Celebration

In celebration of National Nanotechnology Day on Oct. 9, the Nebraska Nanoscale Facility (NNF) gave prizes for the “One Billion Nanometer Challenge” sponsored by the Durham Museum in Omaha. Nebraska teachers and students competed by creating the most innovative way to represent one billion nanometers such as running a one billion nanometer dash, or doing cartwheels for one billion nanometers. Please see more at https://twitter.com/hashtag/durhammuseumnano.

Sunday with a Scientist

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The Nebraska Center for Materials and Nanoscience partners with the University of Nebraska State Museum as part of their Sunday with a Scientist series. Recent presentations have highlighted the nanoscience work of our Center’s scientists while educating kids and families. Dr. Alexey Kovalev, (Physics & Astronomy), Dr. Nicole Iverson (Bio Systems Engineering), Dr. Shudipto Dishari (Chem Bio Engineering), and their colleagues have shared scientific information about Graphene, Biotechnology in the Body, and Nano and Energy, in a fun, informal way through hands-on demonstrations and a variety of activities. An average of 250-300 people attended these events.

Sheldon Art Museum Gallery Night

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The Sheldon Exhibition of “The Romance of the Moon: Science Fiction Invades Art” explored nanoscience and other themes by hosting activities around space exploration, environmental crisis, the relationship between human and machine and creative invention. Visitors of all ages enjoyed a tour of the Voelte-Keegan Nanoscience Center and an informative talk by Dr. Ducharme (UNL Physics) and NCMN Nanoart Competition winners Alexey Lipatov (Chemistry) and Mark Koten (Engineering).

Southeast Community College Class

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Dr. Rebecca Lai (UNL Department of Chemistry) recently provided a class using Harry Potter books which have captured the imaginations of millions of readers of all ages, including many engineers and scientists. Southeast Community College provided an ideal place to introduce all ages of students to the magic of Hogwarts that exists in our own world (aka science and technology). Alchemical concepts and their relation to modern chemistry were covered in the class, including the chemistry of gold and the elixir of life. Other nano related topics such as food chemistry, invisibility cloak, disappearing ink, and fireworks were also discussed.

Museum Exhibits

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We’ve expanded our STEM/Nano learning experiences to new rural areas where audiences are underserved in terms of science opportunities. Partnering with nine musuems, we're bringing nano to thousands across Nebraska and Iowa.

•  Traveling Nano Exhibit
Traveling Nano Exhibit 2015
Traveling Nano Exhibit 2015
Traveling Nano Exhibit 2015
Traveling Nano Exhibit 2015

The Traveling Nano Exhibit continues to tour and has been viewed by over 80,000 people from Chadron , Nebraska to Waterloo, Iowa! This exciting 400-sq.-ft. exhibit uses hands-on activities to communicate about the extremely small scale of nanoscience and how interactions of materials at this tiny level shape our world in powerful ways. The exhibit was created by NISE Net—the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network—and is sponsored by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Nebraska Center for Materials and Nanoscience (NCMN) and the Nebraska Nanoscale Facility (NNF).

  • June - August 2015: Strategic Air & Space Museum 
  • September 2015 - Jan 2016: Hastings Museum
  • Feb - April 2016: The Edgerton Explorit Center
  • May-August 2016: Kearney Area Children’s Museum
  • September - December 2016: The Eleanor Barbour Cook Museum, Chadron State College
  • January - April 2017: The Wayne State College A. Jewell Schock Museum of Natural History and the Fred G. Dale Planetarium
  • May - September 2017: The Lincoln Children's Museum
  • October - May 2018: The University of Nebraska State Museum, Lincoln
  • May - December 2018: The Grout Museum, Waterloo, Iowa
  • January 2019: Winnebago Public School, Winnebago, Nebraska
  • February - August 2019: Launchpad Children's Museum, Sioux City, Iowa
  • September - October 2019: Central Community College, Columbus, Nebraska
  • December 2019 - January 2020: Nebraska Indian Community College, Santee, Nebraska 
  • March - May 2021: Over Museum, Vermillion, South Dakota
  • June - August 2021: South Dakota State University, Brookings, South Dakota

Speakers Bureau at UNL

Dr. Bineks Speaks
Dr. Ducharme at Eastmont
Dr. Binek's Extinguisher propells him across the gym
Kindergarteners cheered

NCMN is now working with UNL's Speakers Bureau as an outreach partner to promote science demonstrations in the Materials/Nanoscience area. Faculty members can contact Barb Bowers, UNL Communications, at bbowers@unlnotes.unl.edu if they are interested in presenting science talks or demonstrations to schools and in other community venues.  The Speakers Bureau will contact schools and provide administrative and advertising help. Travel expenses are covered.

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