Feb. 21 'Sunday with Scientist' explores tiny world of nanoscience

Released on 02/11/2010, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

WHEN: Sunday, Feb. 21, 2010

WHERE: NU State Museum, Morrill Hall, south of 14th and Vine Streets (map at www1.unl.edu/tour/MORR)

Lincoln, Neb., February 11th, 2010 —
Stephen Ducharme
Stephen Ducharme
Sunday with a Scientist logo
Sunday with a Scientist logo

The University of Nebraska State Museum will present a program on nanoscience as part of its Sunday with a Scientist series 1:30-4:30 p.m. Feb. 21 at Morrill Hall.

The program, "Nanoscience Makes the Light Fantastic," will be led by Stephen Ducharme, a professor in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's department of physics and astronomy and the Nebraska Center for Materials and Nanoscience. It will examine science and technology at the nanometer scale (1 nanometer equals 1 billionth of a meter). Morrill Hall is south of 14th and Vine streets on the UNL City Campus [http://www1.unl.edu/tour/MORRmap]. Museum hours are 1:30-4:30 p.m. Sundays.

Ducharme and other science educators will explain the science behind nanotechnology and help visitors of all ages better understand the scale, shape and amazing capabilities of these invisible particles. Ducharme will discuss how nanoscientists are able to make the properties of materials very small, and how this manipulation can improve our lives by making technology more powerful and efficient. Examples of this include LED lighting, electric energy storage, and the structures of the clothing we wear. Visitors will be able to visualize the amazing properties of nanoscience through models, posters, demonstrations and hands-on activities. Stations will cover the following topics:

* "Berry-Juice Solar Cells" -- Steve Wignall, Seward High School teacher

* "Glowing Quantum Dots" -- Rafal Korlacki, UNL postdoctoral researcher

* "Nanoparticle Capacitors" -- Kristin Kraemer, UNL Ph.D. student

* "Electron Microscopes" -- Shashi Poddar, UNL Ph.D. student

* "Nanoparticle Surfaces" -- Ducharme

Ducharme received his bachelor's degree in physics at the University of Lowell (now the University of Massachusetts, Lowell) in 1981. He received the Ph.D. degree in physics in 1986 at the University of Southern California. After postdoctoral appointments at the University of Utah and the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, Calif., he joined the UNL faculty in 1991. His research interests include fundamental physics of nano-electronics and nano-optics dots. He also likes doing laser experiments and exploring the heavens from with his backyard telescope. He is a member of the American Physical Society, the Optical Society of America, the Materials Research Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Association for the Advancement of Physics Teaching, and the Society of Sigma Xi.

Sunday with a Scientist is a series of presentations that highlight the work of museum scientists and those from other institutions, while educating kids and families on a variety of topics related to science and natural history. Presenters will share scientific information in a fun and informal way through talks, demonstrations, activities or by conducting their science on site. Sundays with a Scientist is 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Morrill Hall on the third Sunday of each month through December.

Upcoming Sunday with a Scientist Topics: March 21 -- water; April 18 -- endangered species; May 16 -- Nebraska's climate; June 20 - ponds and toxic algae; July 18 -- poop!; Aug. 15 -- beetle mania; Sept. 19 -- archeology; Oct. 17 -- ancient people; Nov. 21 -- Native Americans; Dec. 19 -- Nebraska amphibians.

For updates on the Sunday with a Scientist schedule through the year, visit www.museum.unl.edu.

The University of Nebraska State Museum of Natural History in Morrill Hall is open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Friday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursdays, and 1:30-4:30 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults (19 and over), $3 for children (5-18 years, 4 and under are free), and $10 for families (up to two adults and children). UNL staff, faculty and students are admitted free with valid NU ID. There is an additional charge for planetarium shows. Parking is free. For further information, telephone the museum at (402) 472-3779, visit its Web site or Mueller Planetarium's Web site, www.spacelaser.com, or contact Kathy French, education coordinator, at (402) 472-6647 or by e-mail.