NC Museum of Life and Science

CEINT researcher Clay Nelson assists museum visitors in learning about MedakaCEINT is collaborating with the Museum of Life and Science (MLS) located in Durham, N.C. to expand public education initiatives spanning G5-12 to adults. The Museum’s mission is to create a place of lifelong learning where people, from young child to senior citizen, embrace science as a way of knowing about themselves, their community, and their world.

Our partnership will leverage MLS’s activities in the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net) Program, the largest US network of informal science educators and researchers for fostering public awareness of nanoscale science and engineering.

CEINT participated in the NISE Net affiliated NanoDays 2009 at the Museum which reached an estimated 250 attendees on March 28, 2009. CEINT faculty, graduate students and post-docs created engaging, hands-on activities involving nano-science for this public education initiative.

Dr. Bernhardt shows visitors how to test bacterial clearing.Dr. David Hinton, Duke Professor of Environmental Science and Policy, displayed an aquarium of Medaka fish and visuals from his work on impacts of nanoparticles on embryonic development of Medaka and provided microscopes for visitors to study Medaka at different stages of development.

Dr. Emily Bernhardt, Duke Assistant Professor of Biology, added nanosilver from 15 commercial products purchased from to plated bacteria cultures and allowed visitors to examine their colony clearing rates.

CEINT Director Dr. Mark Wiesner gave an engaging talk on the many current applications of nano-materials and the importance of risk assessment and sustainable development of these materials to a packed audience of 125 museum visitors. MLS staff invited CEINT to participate again next year. CEINT will also be providing expert speakers for MLS public forums- ongoing roundtable discussions locally sponsored by the MLS for the interested public.

CEINT Director Dr. Mark Wiesner discusses the importance of risk assessment to crowd of museum visitorsIn addition, CEINT is collaborating with the Museum of Life and Science (MLS) to pursue external funding opportunities to create educational materials for the Museum and the NISE Network to allow broad dissemination. The materials and activities will be designed to articulate highly technical material about CEINT’s research on environmental impacts of nanomaterials and parallel risk assessment for broad and meaningful public consumption.