Do you know Nano?

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Computer chips on the mint marking of a dime show the scale of nano manufacturing. Photo courtesy North Dakota State University

Nanotechnology can be a bit confusing. Just what is it?

Essentially, science, engineering and technology development — on a very small scale.

To increase public awareness, The Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network is sponsoring a nationwide, week-long public outreach and education effort March 24 to April 1.

Smaller than a virus, Nano particles used in manufacturing and construction are carefully designed to have unique characteristics. Nano materials are found in everything from high-tech electronics to the food we eat, the clothing we wear, the sunscreen we slather on, and medical treatments for diseases like cancer.

Nano research will likely save lives in the future. But some are concerned that the technology could harm human health and the environment.

One thing is certain, nanotech is here and rapidly growing.

Do you know what a nanotube is? How about a fullerene? A buckyball? All are components of nano manufacturing.

For the nano education campaign researchers and science educators are creating exhibits and hands on learning opportunities at more than 200 science museums and universities across the country.

Here’s a list of the places in Minnesota participating in Nano Days:

Headwaters Science Center

Duluth Children’s Museum

Dakota County Technical College

Science Museum of Minnesota

The Bakken Museum

Minnesota Children’s Museum

To find locations in other states, check out this list on the NISE website.

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