CU-Boulder Laboratory to Host Public Events for 'NanoDays' April 2-3

March 10, 2010

The Colorado Nanofabrication Laboratory at the University of Colorado at Boulder will host a symposium April 2 and a program of interactive, family-oriented outreach activities April 3 as part of "NanoDays" 2010, the third annual nationwide festival of educational programs about nanoscale science and engineering.

"Nanoscience is all around us and is impacting our daily lives," said Colorado Nanofabrication Laboratory, or CNL, Director Bart Van Zeghbroeck. "Computers, cell phones, LCD displays and digital cameras are just a few examples of how electronic devices have become smaller and cheaper while increasing their functionality. Nanotechnology enables this trend and creates further possibilities we would not have imagined just a few years ago."

Both events will be held at the Discovery Learning Center in the College of Engineering and Applied Science. Anyone planning to attend is asked to register at the website cnl.colorado.edu/nanodays.

The NanoDays symposium will be held Friday, April 2, from 4 to 6:30 p.m. The program will include talks on "Local and National Nanotechnology Infrastructure" by Dr. Bart Van Zeghbroeck, and "Nanotechnology Research in Medicine" by Professor Won Park.

A program of interactive, family-oriented activities called "Let's Experience Nano!" will follow on Saturday, April 3, from 1 to 4 p.m. Children and adults will be able to explore the miniscule world of atoms, molecules and nanoscale forces through such activities as building a giant balloon model of a carbon nanotube.

Real carbon nanotubes, which are 1/50,000th of the width of a human hair, have a unique cylindrical structure, extraordinary strength and unusual electrical properties, making them useful in electronics and materials science. Other planned activities will demonstrate the unexpected properties of materials at the nanoscale, such as fabric that won't get wet, water that won't spill from a tea cup, and fluid that acts like a magnetic solid and like a liquid.

Many scientists and engineers believe that advances in nanotechnology have the potential to bolster the U.S. economy with innovations providing clean and affordable energy, techniques to clean up hazardous chemicals, and medical devices and drugs to detect and treat diseases. Despite this promise, the public knows little about research and development being carried out today by 25 departments and agencies of the federal government and by universities and corporations in their own communities.

For this reason, the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network, or NISE Net, is organizing NanoDays events taking place March 27 to April 4 at over 200 science museums, research centers and universities across the country. WOW! Children's Museum at 110 N. Harrison Ave., in downtown Lafayette, also is participating in this year's NanoDays. For more information, contact WOW! at 303-604-2424 or visit www.wowmuseum.com.

The Colorado Nanofabrication Laboratory is one of 14 user facilities of the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network supported by the National Science Foundation. The newly renovated laboratory officially opened in January in the CU-Boulder Engineering Center, which is also home to the open-user Nanomaterials Characterization Facility, and welcomes all academic and industry users to perform research on-site using facility equipment, training and staff support.

For more information, visit cnl.colorado.edu/nanodays or email cnl@colorado.edu.

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