5. Partnerships in NISE

The NISE Network

The Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network was launched in 2005, with funding coming from several National Science Foundation research divisions along with the Division of Research in Learning in Formal and Informal Science Education (DRL). The decision to initiate such a collaborative endeavor signaled a recognition at the highest levels of federal science policy-making that the informal science education community, particularly science centers and museums, play a significant role in motivating students, supplementing K-12 education, developing innovative science education strategies, advancing the culture of science, and expanding public awareness and discourse on emerging sciences and technologies.

The investment was entrusted to a leadership team from the Museum of Science, Boston, together with the Exploratorium of San Francisco, the Science Museum of Minnesota, and about a dozen ISE and research organization partners. Since that time, many other organizations have become involved.  [See http://nisenet.org]

The focus on nanotechnology for this large, unprecedented federal investment in the informal science education community represents both an unparalleled opportunity and an unanticipated challenge.   Nanotechnology is not an easy domain for K-12 and university education, not to mention informal science education.  It is a broad and complex field; literally and figuratively beyond “hands-on” reach or even normal microscopic view.  It can’t be put in an exhibit case.  It happens at a scale of matter bound up with unfamiliar forces, wave/particle duality, and quantum effects that cannot be easily simulated at the human scale. Nanotechnology is not a household word, a recognized subject in the science classroom, nor yet a viable marketing hook for a museum exhibit.  It conveys little sense of civic urgency as compared with some other high-profile science and society issues like energy and global climate change, even though it may prove to produce some of the most compelling technological solutions to those very urgent problems.

It is perhaps because the scale and difficulty of the nanotech education and engagement challenge that NSF turned its attention to the science center and museum community.  We are a community noted for our culture of creativity and innovation, and our expertise in engaging young and old alike.  We specialize in “bridging the gap” between everyday experience and the worlds both revealed and created by science and technology.  We enrich K-12 education with experiences of science and technology too current to make it into the textbooks and course curricula.

By undertaking this challenge, we agreed to do our best to discover what is most significant in nanoscale science and engineering from a human, cultural, and social standpoint as well as from an advancement-of-science-and-technology viewpoint.  And, we agreed to help build the capacity of our field to help our diverse audiences engage thoughtfully in integrating this strange new nanoscale world safely and carefully into our lives.  This guide offers a brief primer on nanotechnology – the science, it’s historical development and its societal implications – in the Resources section.

The NISE Network, though funded by the National Science Foundation, is considered an integral part of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), a multi-million dollar strategic investment in basic and applied research, overseen by the White House Office on Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and administered through at least seven federal science funding agencies.  The NNI is the nation’s first large scale cross-cutting federal science and technology initiative to include designated program funding to address each specific aspect of the traditional broader impacts mandate.  Under the NNI, centers and networks have been established not just to advance nanoscience and technology research, nanomanufacturing and applications, but also to research the potential societal implications of continued development of nanotechnology in areas such as economics, jobs, health, K-12 education, teacher training, college and graduate education, workforce diversity, equity, environmental safety, defense, international trade, risk assessment, governance, and public discussion and deliberation.

The NISE Network partners are focusing primarily on developing educational activities that can be used to empower and inspire learning in a variety of settings and on fostering public awareness, discussion and deliberation of the broad range of science, technology, and society issues integral to the opening of these powerful new science and engineering frontiers. Network partners are also engaged in designing and testing new pedagogical approaches that may prove especially fruitful in this subject area, in collaboration with K-12 education researchers and practitioners.  Overall, the NISE Network seeks to help build the capacity of the informal science education community to explore ways of integrating nanoscale science and engineering content and issues into their current portfolios, providing flexible and adaptable tools and resources and developing a catalog of vetted and tested materials, exhibits, programs, cart demonstrations, media, science theater pieces, forum models, tools for evaluation, and professional development. The NISE Network website, www.nisenet.org, serves as a portal to these elements and to the community of participants.

Partnerships in Nano Education and Outreach

What is intriguing to me is how you create partnerships with scientists – this is an overarching legacy of NISE.  Nanoscience may come and go. The work we are doing to formalize relationships with scientists and communicate their work to the public is very important and will inform the museum for years to come.

– Anonymous response to Inverness Research Associate’s “mid-term survey

A different kind of capacity-building effort is also a central focus of the NISE Network, and that is the fostering of effective partnerships between researchers, research centers and organizations, and their counterparts in the informal science education field.

Because of the scale of the National Nanotechnology Initiative, most major universities have some kind of federal funding for research in this area. Probably 90% of science museums in this country could find a university pursuing nano research within some reasonable driving distance.  (All the NNI research programs and their locations are discoverable via the www.nano.gov portal and the NISE Network maintains a web page with partnering resources at www.nisenet.org/rise.)  And of course the NISE Net catalog provides resources the partners can use to kick-start their first efforts, with a minimum investment of their time and resources, at http://www.nisenet.org/catalog. Nano research centers that partner with local science museums also get the added benefit that any educational resources they produce through their local partnership efforts can be disseminated nationally throughout the Network, increasing the impact of their efforts.

The yearly NanoDays celebration can also serve as a catalyst, lowering “the energy requirement” for activating a new partnership between museum and research center partners, or serving as a cautious testing of the waters.  NanoDays is a week (usually at the end of March/beginning of April) of coordinated education outreach activities at research centers and informal science education organizations around the nation www.nisenet.org/nanodays.

Nanoscale research is also rich in centers and networks, and, as discussed in Section One, they provide exceptional opportunities for sustainable, long-term educational outreach partnerships.  Beginning in 2001, NSF began funding five-year collaborative Nanoscale Science and Engineering Centers (NSECs) for between two and three million a year, and added on new five-year centers over the next several years.  All these NSECs were eligible for a five-year renewal, giving them 10 years of uninterrupted funding.  This longer timeline allowed the NSECs to develop novel collaborations and research programs that could delve further and deeper into riskier and possibly more rewarding research ventures, taking advantage of sophisticated equipment and facilities.  The first “class” of NSECs, funded in 2001, sunset in 2011.  Many of their investigators seek to carry on successful research collaborations beyond this date through new center program funding.  NSF also funds large MRSECs, or Materials Science and Engineering Research Centers, some of which focus on nanoscale materials science and engineering. These are funded for six years at a time, are indefinitely renewable, and are more likely to be based at a single university.

Other federal science agencies besides NSF also use the nano research center funding model.  These include the National Cancer Institute’s Centers for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence (NCI CCNE) and the Department of Energy’s Nanoscale Science Research Centers (NSRC).   These large research centers operate alongside, and sometimes in partnership with smaller research programs funding only a single or small group of researchers, and alongside other programs targeted primarily at improving undergraduate and graduate education in nanoscale science and engineering.  All of these federally-funded nanoscale science and engineering centers are included in the list at http://www.nano.gov.

Many research centers as well as their individual participants are highly motivated to contribute in-kind services and expertise to science museums and other education organizations doing outreach in their area of expertise.  These resources, together with those available through the NISE Network and other nano education developers can really give a boost to a science museum interested in providing its audiences exposure to these new areas of research and already equipped with the funding and staff time to invest in the collaboration.  As discussed in Section Two, however, it is NSF-funded centers and networks that are more likely to consider providing more than simply in-kind support to science museum partners, in the form of sub-awards to help with staff time, materials, and events.  The following chapter provides brief illustrations of just a few of these more substantial partnerships.

Samples of research center – science museum partnerships in nanoscale informal science education

Here are a few examples of funded partnership collaborations between nanoscale science and engineering research centers and science museums that have produced sustained and lasting learning experiences. Contact information for the science museum liaisons is provided by their permission so that interested readers can find out more.

Sciencenter of Ithaca, NY and the Cornell University Nanobiotechnology Center  (2000-2010) Researchers at Cornell invited the Ithaca Sciencenter to participate in their proposal for this five-year NSF Science & Technology Center (STC) in 2000.  The sub-award supported the Sciencenter and a private exhibit development firm in their collaboration to produce It’s a Nano World, a traveling exhibition for children that has reached many thousands of people in its tour around the country and its residency at the Epcot Center in Florida.  A second exhibit proposed by Cornell, Too Small Too See, received direct NSF ISE funding with a sub-award to the Sciencenter and its exhibit development firm partner. This exhibit also played at Epcot, and is touring the country. For more information, contact Rae Ostman, rostman@sciencecenter.org.

The Franklin Institute and the Penn State Center for Nanoscale Science (2000-2014)
Researchers at Penn State invited The Franklin Institute to join their proposal for this six-year NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Research Center in 2000. The sub-award to TFI funded the development of hands-on museum demos, reproduction of demo kits, and training of staff from 20 different science museums in using the kits.  The 2008 6-year renewal sub-award adds a partnership with a magnet high school. For more information, contact Jayatri Das, email jdas@fi.edu.

Ontario Science Center and the Materials Research Society (2000-2005)
The Materials Research Society won funding from the National Science Foundation ISE program in 2000 and from corporate sponsors, and partnered with the Ontario Science Center to produce Strange Matter, a large traveling exhibit on materials science, touring the country since 2004.  For more information, contact Richard Souza, souza@mrs.org.

Museum of Science, Boston and the Harvard-MIT-UCSB-MOS Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center and the NSF NSEC Center for High-rate Nanomanufacturing at Northeastern University, University of Massachusetts-Lowell, and the University of New Hampshire. (2001-2014) Researchers at Harvard invited the Museum of Science to participate in their proposal for an NSF Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center in 2001 and researchers at Northeastern invited MOS to participate in their NSEC proposal in 2004.  Each sub-award supports a full-time education associate at the Museum and provides additional support for the development, delivery, and evaluation of multiple programs, exhibits, media, professional development and science communication workshops. These NSF NSECs were both renewed, along with the partnership sub-awards, and each will span the full ten years.  For more information, contact Carol Lynn Alpert at calpert@mos.org.

Lawrence Hall of Science and the Center of Integrated Nanomechanical Systems at University of California – Berkeley (2002-2007)
The Lawrence Hall of Science won direct NSF ISE funding in 2002 to build a nanotech exhibit and website nanoZone, in partnership with the Center of Integrated Nanomechanical Systems at the University of California – Berkeley.  The proposed partnership with the research center was a key element in LHS’s NSF proposal, “Windows on Research: Focus on Nanotechnology.” The partners produced a permanent exhibit for middle-school age children with updateable media and programs.  For more information, contact Marco Molinaro, mmolinaro@ucdavis.edu or Darryl Porcello, porcello@berkeley.edu.

Discovery Center Museum, Rockford, Illinois and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center (2006-2011)
The Discovery Center Museum received an IMLS Museums for America grant in 2006 in order to bring nano to their community, and they reached out to partner with the UW-Madison NSEC, which has contributed considerable staff time and materials.  These partners collaborate on small exhibits, after-school programs, and teacher workshops, and they are building a set of versatile library kiosks on nanotechnology, including a tactile exploration of nanoscale forms for the sight-impaired.  For more information, contact Michael Rathbun, michaelr@discoverycentermuseum.org.

These models provide examples of partnership arrangements and activities, but they are by no means the limits of what can be imagined and produced.  Each ISE institution has different needs, different audiences, different assets, and different regional, cultural, and historical contexts.   Each researcher and research center brings different talents, perspectives, tools, and research domains to the table.  The goal is to be creative, flexible, willing to experiment and honestly assess, and committed to learning and improving on all practices.

[Describe your successful partnership case study in the Comment/Discuss area.]


The annual NanoDays event, launched by the NISE Net in 2008, has become a kind of mixer and a launch pad for partnerships between research centers and science museums.   Working together for the first time, the science museum staff and the local university researchers and education outreach folks find that their respective goals match and their resources complement each other extraordinarily well.   The Nano Days kit the NISE Net provides a complete in-the-box seed assortment around which can crystallize ideas for new activities leveraging local resources.  It’s provides a “low barrier to entry,” and it’s fun.  With one or two NanoDays collaborations behind them, some partners have developed funding proposals for more substantive and sustained work.

Be Creative; Explore the Possibilities; Let them Evolve

All partnerships mature.  Some discover whole new areas of collaboration not initially foreseen.  In our MOS partnerships with Boston-area nanoscale research centers, for example, it became clear after a few years that it was in everyone’s interest to turn some of our focus to developing science communication workshops and intern ships for early career scientists and engineers – training that could assist them in their own research career efforts as well as in their future efforts to reach out to broader audiences.  The science museum could provide the workshops as well as practical opportunities with real audiences; with this additional experience, the researchers then amplified the partnership’s impact, becoming rich resources for our visitors and for whatever communities they circulate within.   NSEC director Bob Westervelt, who first suggested these science communication workshops, says:

The collaboration continues to benefit all parties. Graduate students who work at the museum connect with the public at an early stage and learn how to integrate their plans and careers with issues of public importance. Museum visitors are drawn into engagement with advances that excite researchers, such as carbon nanotubes and buckyballs, and with larger questions, such as “good” vs. “bad” science. They can see why academic scientists find nanoscience so involving—and can raise any concerns they may have about the new technologies.

[Westervelt 2008]

The success of these collaborative efforts has led the partners to join together on new grant proposals in other areas of research and education.

Similarly, the collaboration between the Madison NSEC and the Discovery Center Museum in Rockland has encouraged those partners to conceive and collaborate on successful proposals for new ventures, including the construction of a novel carbon playground.

There is just so much good stuff we can do together; the possibilities are endless; and we can get it all out there, into the community…

–    Mike Rathbun, Discovery Center Museum

Nano Pedagogy

[For a brief primer on nanotechnology and its recent development, please see the Resources section]

At its core, the hands-on, constructivist pedagogy of the contemporary family-centered science museum is devoted to the exploration of basic science, classical mechanics, astronomy, natural history, and explorations of perception. These topics are perfectly matched to the medium of exhibits and programs.  However, many emerging science and technology topics are more difficult to interpret in these formats.  Nanotechnology is one of those topics.

Nanoscale matter cannot be seen, touched, nor directly imaged, or manipulated. Hands-on experimentation is out; educators must instead rely on models that are analogies for events that happen on the nanoscale, and these analogies themselves often require explanation.  Properties that are the result of nanoscale structures, such as the way a drop of water sits atop a nasturtium leaf or rolls off a Nanotex® tie, can be demonstrated, but not viewed on the scale in which they are occurring.  Human beings simply can’t imagine a billionth of a meter.  The images produced by scanning probe microscopes are spatial representations of reams of data, colorized and often distorted vertically to appear as scenic planetary landscapes.  They have as little relation to the real nature of matter at the nanoscale – the constant high-speed motion – the wave-like manifestations of atoms and electrons, the mysterious “tunneling” of charge.

Cognitive penetration of the nano world may require something beyond the normal textbook or classroom lecture experience approach.  Because that world is so counter-intuitive, so contrary to practical experience and so inaccessible to the senses, new multi-dimensional approaches should be explored, possibly involving large-scale interactive models enhanced by audio-visual media, and kinesthetic, sensory, and motor experiences.  The task demands expert and research-savvy communicators, skillful at creating mental and physical analogs for atomic-scale processes and making them centrally relevant to diverse audiences.

[2006 Alpert]

Because nanotechnology is an emerging field, scientists, educators and educational researchers have not come to full agreement about how it should be defined and what learning objectives should be applied to nanotechnology education at various grade levels or subject areas.   National science education standards have not yet incorporated nanoscale concepts.  Within informal science education settings, we tend to emphasize very basic concepts, such as the following:

  • Nanotechnology is an emerging interdisciplinary field of research involving teams of diverse experts in engineering, physics, biology, chemistry, mathematics, medicine, and information processing.
  • Nanotechnology is expected to bring about exciting new advances in computing, medicine, public health, energy, materials, defense and environmental remediation, and it may have significant impact on the way we live, work, and play. Like all new technologies, nanotechnology may have far-reaching social and economic effects, some of them perhaps unexpected.
  • Nanoscale particles and structures are measured in billionths of a meter, and they are made up of assemblages of atoms and molecules, the basic building blocks of nature.  Some nanoscale particles form naturally; some are manmade.  The toxicological profile of many nanoparticles is as yet undetermined.
  • At the nanoscale, the properties of matter can change dramatically.  Certain forces, like electrical forces dominate over more familiar forces like gravity.  The wave-particle duality of matter also comes into play. These special properties can be harnessed to produce useful new materials and devices.
  • New tools are being developed that help scientists image and manipulate matter with nanoscale precision.
  • Some consumer and industrial products using nanotechnology are already on the market.   As yet there is no customized regulatory system in place for nanotechnology products.

As can be inferred from this list, science museums are interested in the big picture ideas about this science of the very small.  We want to inspire kids with the idea of being personally involved at the frontiers of discovering new knowledge about the nanoscale and in helping to shape the new generation of technologies that will derive from harnessing that knowledge.  We also want to keep the public aware and informed about nanotechnology and to engage them as much as possible in discussions about the potential impact of various nanotechnologies.  We would like scientists to be involved in these discussions so that they can help communicate what they know and also hear the questions and concerns of other stakeholders in the community.

Like other new technologies, nanotechnology forces us to look beyond our traditional approaches to informal science education.  We use new digital forms of imaging and interactivity to simulate the behavior of matter at the nanoscale.  We use new forms of social communication – like forums and science cafes – to foster discussion.  We bring young researchers, such as graduate students, face-to-face with our young visitors, putting a more diverse and youthful face on the image of science. When we can’t provide face-to-face interactions with researchers in person, we try to capture some of their stories on video and provide them 24/7 on interactive kiosks or on the web.

The NISE Network’s catalog is meant to eventually provide open source access to a wide range of vetted resources and tools, adaptable to a variety of venues and audiences, to guides, and to evaluation studies, in order to try to build a better knowledge base for this work.

The evolving roles of science museums

Besides partnering for nano science education, science centers and museums, working with research centers, have the opportunity to serve as interpreters of nanotechnology for public audiences and as arenas for engaging citizens in the consideration of benefits and risks of the various applications of nanotechnology.  These roles can, in fact, apply to any new domain of cutting edge science and technology, though our emphasis here is on nanotechnology..

The interpretation role is a familiar one for science museums.  As informal science educators, science museum staffs provide insight into scientific methods and findings regarding the natural world and into human-made tools and technologies.

Science centers and museums that have already committed themselves to the challenge of providing exhibits and programs on current science and technology will see the robust and influential domain of nanotechnology as an essential element of their mission-driven educational portfolio. These organizations will no doubt also have also begun to grapple with their approach to considerations of the ethical, environmental, public health, and societal controversies that surface with many emerging technologies.

Such science and society issues engender values-based as well as fact-based discussion and debate.  As a result, the role of the science museum interpreter is often to help audiences understand the distinction between the two, remaining neutral on the values questions, while serving as a resource for the accuracy of the factual information.  “Remaining neutral on the values questions,” however, no longer means they are ignored as if completely separable from the science itself.  Instead, it may mean that educators find ways of facilitating their audiences’ understandings of the framework and terms of the debate and the various perspectives brought to bear.

Science, technology, and society discussions tend to engage mostly adults and some teens.  Their emergence as an important aspect of the science museum experience has helped to expand the very concept of the science museum far beyond that of a kid-centered, indoor playground filled with hands-on opportunities to explore the natural and manmade world.

With nanotechnology, science museums once again have the opportunity to expand the horizons of their visitors with awareness and understanding of the ways future technologies could transform our world in unique and unexpected ways.   They can provide a forum for citizen participation in thoughtful consideration of the application and governance of new technologies.  They can also bring science and technology researchers as well as other stakeholders into the discussion.

Science as Culture – An Ongoing Story

Science museums are conveyors of culture – the cultural quest for scientific knowledge of our world – and the culture of wonder, discovery and invention.  They help us honor these key aspects of the human spirit and human achievement.  Science museums celebrate visionary explorers and inventors the way art museums celebrate visionary painters and sculptors and symphonies celebrate visionary musicians and composers.  And like symphonies and museums of art, it is important for science museums to try to recognize great new works in the making.

Some of the nanotech research pioneers of today may emerge as the Nobel Prize winners of tomorrow, the progenitors of a significant paradigm shift in science and engineering.  We can’t know; these milestones are usually realized only in retrospect. Einstein is famously pictured as a wild-haired old man, but he was a handsome and passionate 20-something when he began publishing his most influential work.

Just as Galileo’s telescope opened the heavens to close inspection, and ultimately to space travel, and just as Leeuwenhoek’s microscope opened our eyes to the teeming world of micro-organisms, and thus to modern medicine, perhaps it will be said in the future that IBM’s development of the scanning probe microscope first put human beings in touch with atoms, the very building blocks of matter, and opened up new frontiers of materials, electronics, and photonics possibilities.  Or maybe not.  Maybe the analogy is less to instruments of vision and more to enabling technologies – the harnessing of fire, the carving of the wheel, the development of agriculture, the discovery of radio waves, the invention of the transistor.

In any case, for science museums, the trouble with waiting until the history books are written, the Nobel is awarded, or a nano-enhanced cure for cancer wins FDA approval, is that it makes the story of science so anti-climatic.  There’s no suspense, no challenge, no fighting against the odds; it’s the equivalent of reporting on the medals count at the end of the Olympics rather than watching the highlights of the competition along the way.  The stories we tell about what John Durant calls “finished science” are pre-determined – we know which way they end; who was wrong; who was right. [2006 Durant]. We end up conveying facts, like textbooks, making today’s inventions look the result of an inevitable line of progress.  No wonder the history of science seems so boring to so many people.  Even a hands-on exhibit allowing a museum visitor to explore Newton’s forces is, at best a re-enactment, with a known outcome.  If “the experiment” doesn’t turn out “right,” we know the exhibit needs maintenance, or, perhaps our use of it requires “adjustment” – we don’t expect to turn an accepted theory – one that has sent men to the Moon – on its head.  On the other hand, if we dare to ride the actual wave of discovery and experimentation, we can portray the culture of science as it truly is: the proverbial story of blindfolded people exploring an elephant, trying to grasp what it is; five pathways up a mountain, all but one of them dead-ends; a flash of inspiration that ends up saving a million lives; a flash of inspiration that lies in a pool of embarrassment on the laboratory floor.

It is part of the mission of most science centers and museums to foster appreciation as well as participation in the culture of science and engineering.  Authentic encounters with and stories of the pioneers in our midst – nano researchers and others – bring science alive and capture the imagination of the next generation of explorers.  We are celebrants as well as holders of the flame for inspiring that next generation.

Science Museums in the Vanguard

Sometimes a sea change in science makes waves in science education too, and in the case of nanotechnology, these waves are rising with the tide, lapping away at the already crumbling borders between the domains of physics, chemistry, and biology, between science and engineering.  By filling in the gaps in knowledge and tools that used to divide the disciplines; we have achieved a remarkable continuum of knowledge from the very small scale to the extremely large scale, from atoms to galaxies.

Then too, current science, engineering, and technology challenges require teams with expertise in an extraordinarily wide range of specialties. Research teams need the fluidity to draw from areas as diverse as biochemistry, information technology, fluid dynamics, solid-state physics, and materials science in pursuing solutions to common challenges.

What does any of this have to do with science museums?

Funding agencies tend to see science museums as educational institutions that supplement the role of schools in teaching youngsters about science and encouraging them to consider careers in science.  And indeed, this is true.  There is no shortage of testimonials from scientists recounting their first career inspiration at a science museum.  There is no shortage of middle school teachers thankful that their students finally got the aha about wavelengths of light on a science museum field trip.  But this nation is failing to produce enough students majoring in science and going on to careers in science and engineering to sustain our innovation-based economy and technological competitiveness.  We are also failing to update quickly enough many of the science curricula in many of the more than 13,000 distinct, self-governing school districts, to reflect the constantly evolving developments in science and technology and their interdisciplinary nature.  Continuing education for science teachers is all too scarce.

Science museums, working closely with university-based research centers, are organizations that can help to fill these gaps.  We can inspire students by expanding their imagination, introducing them to cutting edge innovations, getting them face-to-face with young researchers on the frontlines of solving very real global challenges.  We can enrich outdated curricula with hands-on experiences in new areas like nanoscale science and technology.  We can test innovative pedagogies, new ways of engaging students that may help inform the next generation of K-12 educators. Science museum staff, exhibit designers, educators and performers – working in concert with researchers – now serve roles akin to forum moderators, science journalists, and translators of technical knowledge.

In sum, why should science museums build our capacity to do education about nanoscale science and engineering?

  • To fulfill our mission of providing relevant science and technology education
  • To keep our audiences in touch with a significant new range of emerging technologies that may have profound impact on our lives and our world.
  • To help prepare and empower citizens to weigh in on issues of concern surrounding these and other future technologies.
  • To help open new career horizons for young people in a rapidly expanding field of investment and research.
  • To help us build institutional capacity to address the frontiers that lie beyond nanoscale science and engineering.
  • To make good use of the new financial and intellectual resources available in this area from federal, state, and university sources.

Conclusion:   The Power of Partnership

Science museums and university-based research centers make great partners for advancing science and engineering literacy, engagement, careers, and governance.

To sum it up, research centers provide the science and engineering knowledge, the futuristic vision, enthusiasm, authenticity and often the funding, while science museums provide the venues, audiences, engagement expertise, and dedication to the broader mission.    We need each other, and the nation needs us working together.  Let’s do it.

The Resources section, next, contains lists of funding agencies, ISE and partnership resources, the bibliography and references, and a brief nanotechnology primer.

topnext: Resources…