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Nanoscience lecture set Sunday at Explorit

By From page A4 | April 05, 2013

Join Explorit Science Center on Sunday to celebrate the last day of NanoDays with an educational lecture with Gang-yu Liu of UC Davis. Liu’s 2 p.m. talk, “What’s so Big About Nano?,” is free with paid admission to the museum and will be fun for the whole family.

Liu, who teaches in the department of chemistry, has a keen interest in nanoscience and nanoengineering, which she is eager to share with the public. For 20 years, Liu has been exploring what nanoscience can do for all of us.

Her main research interests include finding ways that nanoscience can contribute to human health. Possible applications range from getting a closer look at DNA to improving our knowledge of HIV infection and cancer research.

An important aspect of nanoscience involves imaging processes that allow scientists like Liu to get a look at things that are far too small to see. Scanning probe microscopes are one tool researchers can use to catch a glimpse of things on the nanoscale.

Usually, microscopes help you look at something up close, but scanning probe microscopes feel rather than see. They use a tiny pointed tip to scan the surface of an object and then use a computer program to generate an image of what they’re feeling. Scientists will scan the same surface several times to get as accurate an image as possible.

You can see what a grain of salt looks like to a scanning probe microscope at Explorit Science Center’s NanoDays, now through Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. daily. Explorit is at 3141 Fifth St. in Davis. Experience what it’s like to be a scanning probe microscope, trying to draw something you can only feel and learn all about these and other tools of the nanoscience trade.

What would it be like if scientists could make things invisible? Or what if we could build an elevator to space? NanoDays encourages you to investigate and wonder about the possibilities.

At NanoDays you can also check out other applications of nanoscience and discover what it’s like to study the smallest stuff around. Admission to NanoDays is $5 per person and includes admission to Explorit’s “Beautiful World” exhibition.

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Explorit’s events:

* Summer camp volunteer recruitment: Explorit is seeking volunteers from now through May 10 to assist with activities during summer camp 2013. Volunteers must be at least 12 years old. If you are interested in volunteering, email Lisa at [email protected] for more information and a volunteer application.

* Explorit summer camp registration is going on now! There are still spaces available, especially in the PreK-K camps and third- to fifth-grade camps. Register online at www.explorit.org.

* Now through May 2. KCRA 3 A-List is taking your votes for the “Best.” Vote for Explorit for “Best Museum” and be sure to spread the word to your friends and family via email, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and any other social media you can think of. Vote today at http://ctvr.us/explorit.

— Explorit Science Center is at 3141 Fifth St. For more information, call 530-756-0191, visit www.explorit.org, “like” Explorit on Facebook at www.facebook.com/explorit.fb or follow Explorit on Twitter at @ExploritScience

Lisa Justice

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