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It’s a small world

Nano Family Fun Day exposes young minds to tiny technology that has a big impact

The CNSE Children’s Museum of Science and Technology will open its doors for free on Nano Family Fun Day Saturday, Nov. 23.

The CNSE Children’s Museum of Science and Technology will open its doors for free on Nano Family Fun Day Saturday, Nov. 23. Melissa Renzi

Explaining the concept of nanotechnology can be a complex and potentially boring lesson for a group of elementary-aged kids. After all, how do you describe technology at an atomic and molecular level, where the unit of measure is 100,000 times smaller than a strand of hair?

The answer … you show them.

The CNSE Children’s Museum of Science and Technology will open its doors for free on Nano Family Fun Day Saturday, Nov. 23, to give kids the opportunity to explore hands-on activities focused on the world of nanotechnology.

“You need to hit them young,” said Steve Janack, College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering Vice President for Marketing and Communications. “Young people are interested because so much of what they use in their daily life is driven by nanotechnology. It’s really at the center of their world.”

Janack said sparking curiosity about nanotechnology at this age is a great opportunity.

The museum event is part of Nanovember, a monthlong celebration showcasing nanotechnology in New York state.

“We have renamed November, Nanovember,” Janack said. “Basically it’s a month of events and activities designed to showcase how important nanotechnology has become in society and the number of industries it’s affecting.”

Janack said children are key to the industry, adding that the opportunities available to children in the future in terms of both education and careers in nanotechnology are huge.

“A number of activities are designed to introduce children to nanotechnology and for younger people to understand how nanotechnology is shaping our world,” he said.

The family fun day will include activities such as creating a polymer chain to take home and learning about LED lighting with the help of ice cream.

“There will be some futuristic stuff like invisibility cloaks and an elevator that might take you to outer space,” said Sarah Fisk, CMOST director of education. “They will investigate some cool new science that can be created through the use of nanotechnology.”

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