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Exploratorium to Visualize the Nanoscale World

For Immediate Release:
October 06, 2005

Media Available
Jenny Slafkosky (415) 528-4367

Exploratorium to Visualize the Nanoscale World

$20 Million from National Science Foundation to a Consortium Lead by
Museum of Science, Boston; the Exploratorium; and
Science Museum of Minnesota,
For Public Understanding of Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology

The National Science Foundation is making a $20 million bet over the next five years that science museums have ways to visualize an unseen world that will enable the public to understand and think critically about nanoscale science, engineering and technology. The Exploratorium in San Francisco; the Museum of Science, Boston, and the Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul have been jointly selected to lead this multi-million dollar effort to develop and distribute innovative approaches for engaging Americans in this developing field. Ultimately, the Nanoscale Informal Science Network (NISE) created by these three museums will include 100 partner science centers and science research facilities.

In this core triad, the Exploratorium’s key role as the network’s Center for NISE Research, is to develop the tools to give the public the direct experience of this unseen world, both in person and online. As soon as summer 2006, the Exploratorium’s Visualization Lab and associated Website will enable the public to explore nature at the nano scale—a billionth of a meter—smaller than anything that can be seen with optical microscopes. It will provide an experience of a very different world—one that is dynamic because things don’t stay still, one where materials take on properties that seem surprising (e.g., water is sticky, not fluid, and benign static electricity becomes a huge issue). The Visualization Lab will experiment with ways in which the public will be able to experience the unseeable through tactile devices that allow them to drive their hands across nanoscopic surfaces, through movies of the nano structures of materials and through dynamic animations.

In addition to the research and development work in the visualization of nanoscale science and engineering, the Exploratorium will create an online professional resource center, host public forums and establish an annual Institute. The Institute will bring together a cross-section of people and organizations—scientists, artists, museums, researchers, libraries—to cross-fertilize the public understanding of a developing field.

The Museum of Science, Boston, will both administer the entire National Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE) project and lead the Center for Public Engagement, which will focus on the creation of an informal science education media network and adult education and forum programs for adults and older youth with an emphasis on discussion, dialogue, and deliberation of the issues raised by the emergence of nanotechnologies. The Science Museum of Minnesota will lead the Network’s Center for Exhibit and Program Production and Dissemination.

The NISE Network is part of NSF’s Nanoscale Science and Engineering Education portfolio, which is designed to support opportunities for education and public engagement within the $1 billion annual National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). The NNI is a federal program established to coordinate the efforts of 24 federal agencies in nanoscale research.

Hours of Operation & New Evening Hours
Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm;  every Thursday evening adults only (ages 18 and up) 6pm-10pm.

$29 for adults, with lower rates for SF Bay Area residents, youth, seniors, students, teachers and the disabled. Tickets available at the door and advance tickets available online at www.exploratorium.edu/visit/tickets.

Getting Here
The Exploratorium is easily accessible by public transit. Convenient parking is available nearby. For more information, visit www.exploratorium.edu/visit/location-directions

About the Exploratorium
The Exploratorium is the global leader in informal learning, igniting curiosity and inspiring creativity in people of all ages. The world-renowned science museum creates original, interactive exhibits, on display at more than 1,000 science centers, museums and public spaces around the world. Dedicated to education reform in and out of the classroom, the Exploratorium is a premier professional development center for educators and a creator of award-winning educational resources. Since 1969, the Exploratorium has influenced generations of entrepreneurs, artists, scientists, teachers, students, children, museum professionals and everyday doers, reaching nearly 180 million people annually from around the globe. On April 17, 2013, the Exploratorium opened at Pier 15 in the heart of San Francisco's Embarcadero, where it will celebrate a new era of experiences that encourage critical thinking and awaken wonder for generations to come. For more information, visit www.exploratorium.edu/visit.

Pier 15
San Francisco
California 94111
(415) 528-4444 telephone

Contact Us:
Jenny Slafkosky (415) 528-4367