The Second Symposium on the Nature of Science

Incorporating Nanotechnology into the Curriculum

George Lisensky, Amy Payne, and Cynthia Widstrand

"Nano-" means a thousandth of a thousandth of a thousandth. Nanotechnology involves the formation, characterization and use of materials at the nanoscale—the scale of atoms. Because atoms are so small, they can not be seen directly by eye or with ordinary microscopes. This makes it difficult to appreciate why scientists are so excited by atoms and why rearranging them holds such promise. How can the tools that scientists use to see atoms and to position them to create nanoscale architecture be simulated in ways that make nanotechnology accessible to students? For examples of such demonstrations, see

All three presenters are associated with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Materials Science Research and Engineering Center (MRSEC) on Nanostructured Materials and Interfaces.

George Lisensky
Department of Chemistry
Beloit College

George C. Lisensky (B.A. in chemistry, Earlham College; Ph.D. in chemistry, California Institute of Technology) is a professor of chemistry at Beloit College. Lisensky's research interests are in chemical sensing and surface interactions. He has helped develop a variety of solid-state and nanoscience instructional materials, including modules that are part of the NSF ChemLinks project.

Amy Payne
Department of Chemistry
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Amy C. Payne (B.S. in chemistry, Randolph-Macon Woman's College, Ph.D. in chemistry, University of California-Davis) is a postdoctoral research associate in chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. With NSF-MRSEC support, she is developing nanoscience instructional materials based on giant magnetoresistance and carbon nanotubes. She also supervises participants involved in the NSF-funded Internships in Public Science Education program.

Cynthia Widstrand
Department of Chemistry
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Cynthia G. Widstrand (B.S. and M. A. in chemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison) is currently working on her certification from UW-Madison's School of Education to teach secondary chemistry. As a graduate student she worked as a teaching fellow with the NSF-funded GK-12/K-Through-Infinity program.

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