It is time to explore the world of the super small in a big way, when the exciting field of nanotechnology comes to life in the annual Nano Day at the Natural History Museum of Utah.
NanoDays is a nationwide festival of educational programs about nanoscale science and engineering and the potential impact these developments will have on the future. Advances in nanotechnology have the potential to change the world through advancements in providing clean energy and treating disease more effectively. NanoDays events are held at more than 200 science museums, research centers and universities across the country and allow people of all ages to experience the exciting discoveries in this emerging field of science.
Utah’s own Nano Day will be held at the Natural History Museum of Utah on Saturday, April 21, 2012. The event will take place from 12:00 to 4:00 pm. Families will be able to meet scientists from the Nano Institute of Utah to explore the miniscule world of atoms, molecules and nanoscale forces through hands-on activities and presentations on current research. Graduate students Adam Gormley, Azadeh Poursaid, Jooneon Park, Nicholas Frazier and Precious Cantu are all working with USTAR professors and will be among those giving demonstrations during the event.
One of the activities will allow visitors to examine nano sand, which will not get wet, even when it is under water. Nano sand helps show how the nanoscale can affect the way materials behave. This special sand is coated with a silicon compound that makes it repel water. It was initially invented to help clean up oil spills in water. When the coated sand in poured on a spill, it bonds with the oil but not the water and sinks to the bottom, where it can be cleaned up.
For more information about Utah’s Nano Day visit the Natural History Museum of Utah website at www.nhmu.utah.edu. All Nano Day activities are included in the price of museum admission. USTAR and the Nano Institute of Utah are supporting sponsors of the event.
NanoDays follows on the heels of the April 19 dedication at the University of Utah of the James L. Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building – a USTAR Innovation Center. The 208,000-square-foot Sorenson building is the culmination of a $130 million construction project, and represents a significant investment in nanotechnology by the state of Utah.
The facility houses senior faculty researchers, plus junior faculty, administrative and laboratory personnel. The building contains both flexible, open-bench research laboratories as well as specialty core research facilities for biomedical microscopy, engineering microscopy, and nanofabrication. The “nanofab” alone is 18,000-square-feet and used vast amounts of vibration-dampening concrete to optimize the use of sensitive equipment.
The flexible laboratories and their core support labs are designed to support the collaboration of scientists in many disciplines with the most sophisticated scientific tools and equipment. Some 14 USTAR principle investigators at the U of U are pursuing nanotechnology-related research.