Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in nowadays society

La Mandarina de Newton participates in the fifth edition of the Teachers and Science Program, with the Course Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in nowadays society, at the Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2).

Teachers and Science Program is an initiative of the La Fundació Catalunya – La Pedrera, in collaboration with several research centers from Catalonia, with the aim of bringing together teachers and schools, and the research centers and the science carried out there. In this fifth edition, the Foundation has the participation of some of the most prestigious catalan research centers, such as the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), Centre for Regenerative Medicine in Barcelona (CMR [B]), Catalan Institute of Chemical Research (ICIQ), Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB), Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2), among others.

This years’ Teachers and Science Program includes a series of thematic courses that take place at each of these collaborating centers, during the months of October, November and December. With these courses,  La Fundació Catalunya – La Pedrera aims to help improve the expertise and training of high-school teachers community, so they can revert that knowledge in their day to day, back in the classroom.

La Mandarina de Newton is one of the collaborators for the course organized by the ICN2, Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in nowadays society. With this course we want to introduce the participants to key Nanotechnology topics and concepts, and to discuss the future of this research field, its most controversial and ethical issues, and their impact on society. We will also discuss different educational activities and resources which teachers will then be able to implement in their classrooms.

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in nowadays society gives continuity to last years’ ICN2 initiative Nanoscience for everyone and the exhibition Nano Dimension (a project of ICN2, coordinated by La Mandarina de Newton, which you can visit until December 20, 2013, at the mNACTEC, Terrassa).

The course will tale place on Wednesday, November 20th, from 15h to 19h, at the ICN2. The course is aimed at Biology, Physics, Chemistry and Technology high school teachers. Previous knowledge on Nanoscience it is not required, neither the attendance to last years’ course.

What is Nano?

The Science Day of 2012 was celebrated on the last 21st of November. Nano was one of the activities organized within the Science Week framework, an initiative promoted by the Department of Education and the Catalan Foundation for Research.

La Mandarina de Newton has participated in this annual celebration with a lecture-workshop intended for high-school students from Solsona.

This workshop presented a hot scientific topic, Nanotechnology, in an entertaining and funny way. The students had the opportunity to participate in a series of interactive experiments that allowed them to see the color of gold at the nanoscale, to play with ferrofluids, or to discover nano in nature. For one and a half hours we made a tour starting from the more conceptual part of nano, to finish by uncovering some interesting nano-applications, like fire retardant materials, hydrophobic materials, or the materials with memory fo shape.

You can check more photos of the activity here:

Nano Dimension at BTV

Barcelona Television (BTV) produced this interesting video about the exhibition Nano Dimension, coordinated by la Mandarina de Newton. Enjoy it!

Nano Dimension Opens!!

On June 28, at 1.30 p.m., the exhibition Nano Dimension was officially opened at the Catalan Museum of Science and Technology (mNACTEC). Nano Dimension Nano Dimension is a project for the National Nanotechnology Institute (ICN), coordinated by La Mandarina de Newton. This exhibition starts by inviting us to enter into a wonderful dimension, a dimension where a drop of water looks like an ocean, gold could be red, or where clothes do not get dirty… It is a journey through the nano dimension!

There was a brief presentation by Eusebi Casanellas, director of mNACTEC, Jordi Pascual, the former director of ICN, and Boaz Kogon, the director of communication for ICN. Afterwards, Boaz guided us trough the exhibition. Nano Dimension was born in a leading research institute, something to be remarked. Nowadays, there are not so many of these initiatives, in which a research center organizes an exhibition that then is displayed in a science museum. However, the trend to get museums and research closer is growing. The fact that this initiative was created in a research center is by itself extremely positive. It shows that the lead from research centers is something feasible and, thus, it gives us new insights on how to bridge the gap between research, communication and museums.

Nano Dimension is a scientific exhibition where many topics are displayed. Some are basic topics, like a scale of dimensions, and others more complex, like the spin of an electron and its applications. These concepts are explained not only through the use of texts and images, but also through the use of real, interactive objects, boards for reflecting, critical design, fusion with other disciplines, activities and a call for the participation of the visitors.

There are few science exhibitions that care about the public opinion. In general, science reveals its research and hot topics, but there is still fear of how the public can react. There seems to exists a tendency to avoid listening too much to the answers, proposals, suggestions or concerns of the public about non-curricular topics. Nano Dimension has given an opportunity for the visitors to participate by the use of post-its and a dedicated space for opinion.

Moreover, science exhibitions rarely give space for reflexion or present dilemmas. There is a tendency to present everything as ‘absolute truths’. This attitude could make sense when we talk about basic science, accepted for centuries… And I say ‘could’. Indeed, who would have said to Isaac Newton that a renowned scientist would call into question his equations? In that sense, I think Nano Dimension has done a good job incorporating several posters, provided by the NISE network (Nanoscale Informal Science Education), which address different ethico-scientific dilemmas. In my opinion, it is important that we all try to discuss and decide which future we, as a society, want. Science is not something distant from our daily life, neither something to which we can remain indifferent as citizens. Nanotechnology, for instance, has all the features to have a great impact on our society, as it happened with electricity or computers. Thus, we can all claim our space and discuss it, but of course, we first need to be informed about scientific, social, economic aspects, etc.

I would also like to highlight the exhibition area, Future. It seems to me the perfect space to explore the future possibilities spurred by nanotechnology. It is a space where critical design help us to imagine, but also to reflect, on the future of this field.

Finally, I would also highlight the Gallery space. where works done by artists and students of design schools related to the concept of “nano” are shown. More and more often, Science is talking, mingling and creating together with other disciplines. This is a growing trend and it is also reaching museum halls. In my opinion, it is crucial that science ‘invades’ all knowledge fields. As you know, the motto of La Mandarina de Newton is to ‘mix, learn and transform’. Thus, this proposal could not fit better with our philosophy.

This project was co-funded by the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT) from the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness of the Government of Spain and also supported by Nanoaracat and the Generalitat de Catalunya. We have also collaborated with the Escola Eina, the research group IMARTE from the School of Fine Arts, University of Barcelona, Barcelona Science Park (PCB), and the Nurel and Leitat Technological Center.

We encourage you to visit this exhibition (until September 15, 2013) and send us your comments! We hope you enjoy it!

Photo Credit: Susana Alonso

The Barcelona Science Festival 2011

The Barcelona Science Festival will be held in the Ciutadella Park on the weekend of June 18th and 19th. This year, activities will revolve around chemistry, forests, nanotechnology, mathematics and the applications of technology.

La Mandarina de Newton will present the workshop “What is Nano?”. This activity has been developed with the support of the Catalan Institute of Nanotechnology (ICN). “What is Nano?” shows the modern science of nanotechnology in a fresh and fun way. We will ask for the collaboration of the spectators to perform tenth experiments that will allow us to explore the color of gold at nano-scale, discover a ferrofluid and find the nano-scale in nature. In 45 minutes we will go from the most conceptual view on nanotechnology to the discovery of interesting applications such as fire retardant materials, hydrophobic materials or materials with shape memory.

In addition, la Mandarina de Newton will also present its new project “Science of the City” and its team will encourage attendees to look at the science that hides around the very same park were the Festival takes place. “Science of the City” aim is to remark that the principles of science and technology are not only in books, laboratories or research centers, but also can be found at street level: mirrors, lights, cars, trees, bicycles, trains, fountains … we encourage our visitors to capture a two-minute video of the science surrounding them in their city.

These are just some of the many proposals that you will be able to find in the Festival… Do not hesitate! Come and enjoy science  in Ciutadella Park on the 18th and the 19th of June. We wait for you!

Making a big thing out of the science of the smallest!

Nanotechnology shows all the signs of becoming a powerful general purpose technology, similar to electricity, steam or  computarization. It is expected that the impact on society will be profound and  it will affect many facets of everyday life, while significantly improving quality of life. Medicine, cosmetics, architecture, textiles, and renewable energy are some of the areas that will benefit from the research conducted at research centers in nanoscience and nanotechnology. In addition, government and industry invest billions of euros in the development of nanotechnology, while the media companies and consumer products use the prefix “nano” with increasing frequency.

Yet few people who know well the meaning of the prefix “nano” or what are the implications of manipulating atoms.  In addition, there are also a number of emerging social concerns to which scientists and science communicators may respond. It is for this and other reasons that la Mandarina de Newton and the Institut Català de Nanotecnologia (ICN) work closely to promote the understanding of nano through the exhibition project “Nano Dimension“.

Looking around the world



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