The CNM is committed to reaching out to people both on and off of the UT-Austin campus to educate the community about nanotechnology. The CNM develops and hosts many educational outreach programs, some of which are highlighted below.
Summer Nanoscience Academy
The CNM works with the National Science Foundation’s Atomic and Molecular Imaging IGERT (Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship) program at The University of Texas at Austin to host an annual summer workshop for high school students and their teachers. This three-day workshop, held at the FNT building, is designed to allow the students to obtain a better understanding of the field of nanoscience. The students and their teachers attend lectures, participate in lab tours and conduct hands-on laboratory work. Popular experiments include making CO2 and liquid nitrogen ice cream, using a laser to measure groove spacing in audio compact discs and creating solar cells in the chemistry lab.
Materials Partnership with University of Texas-Pan American
The CNM, in conjunction with its National Science Foundation Center for Chemical Innovation, has initiated a materials chemistry research partnership with the University of Texas–Pan American (UTPA), a primarily undergraduate university located in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. Through this partnership, which is also supported financially by the UT-Austin Vice President for Research, UTPA students are able to travel to UT-Austin to utilize CNM/TMI shared-user facilities and equipment that are not available to them at their home institution. FNT facility managers provide hands-on instrument training to the students, who may then analyze their own research samples with the instruments. The visiting students also interact with CNM-affiliated faculty and students to discuss their research and receive feedback and assistance with data interpretation.
Each year, UT-Austin opens it campus for Explore UT, the biggest open house in Texas. At Explore UT, hundreds of families have a chance to interact with students and faculty of the CNM by participating in hands-on events and activities. The CNM sponsors several nano-themed events in and around the FNT building, and on average more than 500 families visit the CNM during Explore UT. FNT facility managers demonstrate the operation of high-powered electron microscopes by examining insects and other small objects at the nanoscale, and children are invited to suit up in a cleanroom “bunny suit” to experience what’s required to enter the CNM cleanroom. Plenty of fun (and messy) hands-on experiments are also sponsored by the CNM, including a “make your own polymer snow” station.
FNT Building and Facility Tours
FNT facility managers offer facility and building tours year-round for visitors, including middle, high school and college/graduate students, industry professionals and visiting faculty. FNT building tours may be booked online at www.nano.utexas.edu.