Tiny Science: NanoDays

24 03 2011

What is the smallest thing you can think of? A cherry tomato? An aphid? A grain of sand? What about small things that you can’t even see without magnification? Have you ever heard of amoebas? An amoeba is a tiny one celled organism that you can barely see without a microscope. Bacteria are even smaller than amoebas, and molecules are even smaller than bacteria, and all molecules are made up of even tinier parts called atoms. Wow!

Grains of Pollens highly magnified from the Dartmouth Electron Microscope Facility

Everything is made up of atoms and the people who study things at that small scale are called nanoscientists. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter and at that size, materials take on new properties. Nanoscientists study and create nanoscale things that are used to make everyday items better. Nanoscience has helped improve solar panels, developed water-proof clothes, and make stronger adhesives.

On Sunday, March 27th, we’ll be exploring nanotechnology here at the Museum as part of NanoDays. Our celebration of all things too-tiny-to-see will begin at noon and run until the Museum closes for the day at 5pm. Students and faculty from UT will be on site to lead a bunch of activities and help explore the nano-world.

There are lots of museums and organizations celebrating NanoDays, if you aren’t in Austin, check out this list of NanoDays participants.

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