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Get Really Small with Nano

Imagine and Discover a World You Can’t See!

November 01, 2012

Opening Saturday, October 27, at the REUBEN H. FLEET SCIENCE CENTER!

The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center will open “NANO—Imagine and Discover a World You Can’t See!” on Saturday, October 27, a new, engaging exhibition about nanoscale science, technology and engineering. Join us as we explore a small world where big science happens. This 400-square-foot exhibition includes hands-on interactives that invite you to dive into the nano world, discover its real-world applications and explore the societal and ethical implications of this new technology. Nano was created by the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Network) with support from the National Science Foundation.

Nanoscale science, engineering and technology (or “nano” for short) is a new interdisciplinary field of research and development. The great potential for nanotechnology comes from its tiny size. Nano research and development happens at the scale of atoms and molecules. Some things have different properties at the nanoscale, which allows scientists and engineers to create new materials and devices.

Some experts think that nanotechnology innovation may transform our lives—similar to the way that the automobile and personal computer changed how we live and work. Nano isn’t just in the lab—we can already find it in our homes, stores and hospitals as part of solutions to big problems, helping address needs such as clean energy, pure water, new cancer treatments, food products, thin film solar cells and water filters. It is increasingly present in everyday products, from stain-resistant fabrics inspired by lotus leaves, computer chips inspired by snowflakes, low-energy electronic displays inspired by butterfly wings and even climbing robots inspired by geckos. But nano technologies, like any other new field, will also create unknown variables for society in the future that may affect our lives in ways we cannot always predict.

Within the exhibition, you can make like Gulliver and explore these questions:

  • Where can you find nano? In “I Spy Nano,” you can try a series of interactive challenges, and then search a complex image for examples of real nano products and phenomena.
  • What does nano mean for us? The “Balance Our Nano Future” exhibit encourages families and teams to work together to find ways of building a stable future that includes nanotechnology as they balance blocks on a challenging tippy table. To create a stable “nano world” we will need to balance costs, risks and benefits.
  • What can you do with nano? Learn about size and proportion as you “Build a Giant Carbon Nanotube” modeled on a tiny carbon nanotube. Visitors use foam construction pieces to make a large model. Learn how scientists work atom by atom to create tiny new nanotechnologies.
  • What happens when things get smaller? In “Small, Smaller, Nano” you can explore progressively smaller magnetic materials, including magnetite sand, iron powder and ferrofluid. Learn how magnetite behaves differently at different sizes as well as other fascinating characteristics of other materials.
  • Playing with “Static vs. Gravity” allows you to compare the relative effects of static electricity and gravity on varying sizes of beads and determine the causes for the difference.

This exhibition was created by the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE). This project was supported by the National Science Foundation under awards Nos. 05322536 and 0940143. The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center is one of 50 museums and science centers in the United States that was awarded a 400-square-foot exhibition, free of charge, on the topic of nanoscience. This exhibition, on one of the newest areas of research, will greatly enhance our ongoing programming efforts with Nano days, demos and educational workshops, as well as offer new and engaging learning opportunities for all our visitors to our galleries on a fascinating area of science and technology.

“NANO—Imagine and Discover a World You Can’t See!” opens October 27, 2012, as a permanent exhibition. The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center is located at 1875 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101. Gallery admission, which includes access to all eight exhibit galleries: Adults $11.75; Children/Seniors $9.75. The Fleet’s hours are Monday–Thursday 10AM–5PM, Friday & Saturday: 10AM–8PM, and Sunday 10AM–6PM. For more information call (619) 238-1233 or visit our website at www.rhfleet.org/site/exhibition/upcomingexhibits.html.

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About the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center (“the Fleet”) is home to Southern California’s only IMAX® Dome Theater and 100+ hands-on science exhibits for all ages. Watch immersive giant-screen films in the Heikoff Dome Theater, featuring the world’s first NanoSeam™ Dome screen in an IMAX Theater. The Fleet is the first Giant Dome Theater in the country to share a digital planetarium with an IMAX Dome theater, following the recent installation of a new, state-of-the-art, giant dome screen digital GSX™ system from Global Immersion, which augments the existing IMAX® projector in the Heikoff Dome Theater with one of the most comprehensive and powerful full-dome experiences available today. The digital system not only enhances our planetarium capabilities but expands the possibilities for sustainable institutional programming that could include evening programming with cultural content of various kinds. Experience eight galleries of fun, interactive exhibits, including major traveling exhibitions. A hurricane simulator thrills visitors with gusts of wind up to 80 miles per hour. Enjoy sandwiches, salads and healthy treats in Galileo’s Café. Find unique educational toys and games, books, IMAX DVDs and more in the North Star Science Store. Located at 1875 El Prado, two blocks south of the San Diego Zoo on Park Blvd, the Fleet Science Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering the public understanding and enjoyment of science and technology. For information regarding current admission prices, please call (619) 238-1233 or visit our website at www.rhfleet.org.