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Noticing Nanoscience- in recognition of Thanksgiving Vol.5 #1

Your Future Engineer

The word engineer is derived from the Latin words ingeniare ("to contrive, devise") and ingenium ("cleverness")


Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn. -Benjamin Franklin


Nanoscience is the study of structures and materials on the scale of a nanometer. One nanometer is equal to a billionth of a meter. Talk about small! Nanoscience is important because the way matter behaves on a macroscale, affects it's structures on a nanoscale. The application of this science is known as nanotechnology, which leads to the creation of new materials and components. Most of us do not not even realize all of the products that we use that have been developed using nanotechnology.

wrinkle, stain and water resistant clothing- a company called Nano-Tex uses nanofabrication techniques to make these fabrics by transforming the molecular structures of fibers . The clothing is treated with different types of nanomaterial to increase specific properties in the clothing.

sunscreen- if you look at the ingredients in your sunscreen you will most likely

find zinc oxide. This nanomaterial helps to protect our skin from dangerous UV rays, while keeping the cream itself light and transparent. Some companies are even using nanoparticles created by ivy plants because they believe these particles are better at protecting our skin from the sun.

scratch resistant lenses- the science for this coating was a developed by Dr. Ted Wydeven, a NASA Scientist who set the technology in motion while trying to develop a water purification system on a shuttle.

In 1983, a company by the name

of Foster-Grant bought the license

for this technology from NASA and

along with their own research

developed a superior scratch- resistant lens.

If you want to help your children better understand nano science through an array of images and games, visit!


Turkey feathers and nanoscience?


Turkey feathers are iridescent due to nanosized structures within the feathers. Keratin is a fibrous protein that forms the structural framework of cells that make up tissues like, hair, nails and feathers. The keratin let's the feathers act like a prism. It scatters longer wavelengths of light and reflects shorter ones. To help your children understand why a Turkey's feathers are iridescent have them try out the activity below!

Let's Make a Bookmark!

Let's create an iridescent bookmark that your children can use when reading their favorite book! Your children will learn how a thin film reflects light differently depending on how thick it is.

For this activity you will need:

  • shallow pan with water in it

  • strips of black paper (Bristol paper works best)

  • clear nail polish

  • permanent markers in a metallic color.

For more information on this activity, visit the National Informal Stem Education Network website.


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