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Bringing Nano to the Public: A Collaboration Opportunity for Researchers and Museums

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Abstract:

Researchers in nanoscale science and engineering communicate all the time. We give talks, present lectures, and write papers regularly. But the general public—the consumers who will use the products of our work and the voters who indirectly set the national research agenda—do not often hear us. Informal science education—including museums, TV, public lectures, popular press, etc.—is a way to connect with broader audiences in a variety of fun and effective ways. Museums, which are visited by hundreds of millions of people each year in the U.S., are popular because they are skilled at making abstract and complex phenomena comprehensible to people from all walks of life and at making the whole experience fun. This review will provide an introduction to what museums call the "informal science education" field, describe how researchers can get involved with museums to present nano to the public, and provide background about how museums work. It will also address issues such as what the public currently understands about nanoscale science and engineering and the challenges that these (mis)understandings create for museums and researchers.

Keywords: COLLABORATION; INFORMAL SCIENCE EDUCATION; NANOTECHNOLOGY; SCIENCE MUSEUM

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1166/jne.2010.1006

Publication date: June 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Nano Education (JNE) is a peer-reviewed international journal that aims to provide the most complete and reliable source of information on current developments in nanoscale science, technology, engineering, and medical education.
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