The National Informal STEM Education Network (NISE Net)' (NISE Net) is a community of informal educators and scientists dedicated to supporting learning about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) across the United States. In 2016 the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network transitioned to a new, ongoing identity as the National Informal STEM Education Network. While we'll still be known as the NISE Net, network partners will now engage audiences across the United States in a range of STEM topics.
The NISE Network was established in 2005 with funding from the National Science Foundation through Award numbers 0532536 and 0940143. The NISE Network is one of many networks created through the larger National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI).
The NISE Network is led by 14 core institutions:
- Museum of Science (Boston)
- Science Museum of Minnesota
- Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
- Museum of Life and Science
- The Franklin Institute
- Lawrence Hall of Science
- Children's Museum of Houston
- University of Wisconsin - Madison
- Materials Research Society (MRS)
- Association of Science-Technology Centers
- SRI International
NISE Network is the originator of the national NanoDays initiative - an annual, nationwide festival of educational programs about nanoscale science and engineering, and its potential impact on the future. NanoDays events take place at more than 200 science and children's museums, research centers, and universities throughout the United States, from Puerto Rico to Hawaii. NanoDays engages people of all ages in learning about this emerging field of science through hands-on experiments, stage performances, and other programs.
The first nationwide week of events took place in 2008, with more than 100 institutions participating. This has grown to more than 250 events annually in the United States nationwide. A list of participating NanoDays organizations is available.
The following are encouraged to join the NISE Network:
- Research institutions
- Informal science organizations
- Individuals who are interested in communicating with the public about nanoscale research
Leading Informal Science Education Institutions (ISEs) and universities have developed and fully evaluated educational programs, tools, and resources and made them available to the public, for free, under a Creative Commons non-commercial share-alike license. Posters, videos, plays, books, stage demonstrations, and hands-on activities are compiled on the NISE Net online catalog and are available for download from the online catalog.
Developed by the NISE Network, Nano is an interactive exhibition that engages family audiences in nanoscale science, engineering, and technology. Hands-on exhibits present the basics of nanoscience and engineering, introduce some real world applications, and explore the societal and ethical implications of this new technology.
Nano was created by the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Network) with support from the National Science Foundation. The Nano exhibition is intended for long-term display in museums across the United States, where it will engage millions of people. Up to seventy copies of Nano will be fabricated; all copies will be identical and distributed to museum partners free of charge. The exhibition complements NanoDays events and other NISE Network educational experiences.
Exhibit components include: What happens when things get smaller? - visitors see how magnetite behaves differently when its particles are different sizes; What's new about nano? - visitors build a model of a giant carbon nanotube; Where can you find nano? - visitors try a series of interactive challenges, then search a complex image to find examples of real nano products and phenomena; and finally, What does nano mean for us? - visitors balance blocks on a tippy table, which represents the challenges of working together to build a stable nano future. There is also a seating area where visitors can learn more about nano through books and reading boards.
Nano was supported by the National Science Foundation under Award Nos. ESI-0532536 and 0940143.
Nano Education Materials for K-12 Teachers
The NISE Network along with other leading Informal Science Education Institutions have developed many curriculum and activity resources for teachers to use in their classrooms. Resources include hands-on experiments, videos, and posters, among other materials.
- NISE Network, About Page, 2011
- National Science Foundation, New Grants Are Awarded to Inform the Public and Explore the Implications of Nanotechnology, 2005 
- National Nanotechnology Initiative, Website, 2011
- NISE Network, NanoDays Page, 2011
- NanoDays, Public Page, 2011
- Lancaster Science Factory, NanoDays 2011, March 15, 2011
- Seattle PI, A Giant Subject is Scaled Down to Kid Size at NanoDays, April 3, 2008, 
- Art Daily, Smithsonian Offers Activities and Experiments during NanoDays 2010, 2010 
- Creative Commons, Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share Alike license, 2011 
- NISE Network, Catalog, 2011
- NISE Net official page for general public - www.whatisnano.org 
- NISE Net official page for educators - www.nisenet.org 
- Nano exhibition page general public - www.whatisnano.org/nano-exhibit 
- NanoDays official page for educators - www.nisenet.org/nanodays 
- National Science Foundation - NISE Net Grant Announcement 
- National Nanotechnology Initiative