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Outreach News

Monday, 29 May 2017

The nanoworld starred at the Barcelona Science Fair 2017

The ICN2 was at Barcelona Science Fair 2017 together with collaborating institutions such as the University of Barcelona (UB), Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB) and CRESIB. With a central booth devoted to discovering the nanoworld, ICN2 researchers and communicators interacted with a large audience made up of families and science lovers.

The Barcelona Science Fair is a major date in the ICN2 outreach calendar and its presence at this annual celebration of science grows each year. Last weekend, researchers and communicators from the ICN2 interacted with visitors to the fair across a number of formats, from nanotalks to interactive experiments, all the while reflecting on the impact of the nanoworld on the world around us.

The long list of collaborators from the ICN2 included group leaders, such as Prof. Jordi Fraxedas, who gave the talk “Water, a source of life and surprises”, and researchers, such as Miguel Ángel Moreno, with the talk “Biomimicry: How nature inspires new materials”, and Daniel Quesada, with “Bionano Sensors: nanotechnology for your health”. Visitors to this large corner of the fair devoted to the nanoworld were also treated to the presence of researchers Marius Costache, Ana Ortiz and Daniel Rueda, together with Ana de la Osa, Dámaso Torres and Àlex Argemí from the ICN2 Marketing and Communication Department, who coordinated the event. 

Inviting visitors to “Discover the Nanoworld”, the event included a series of activities aimed at families and kids, with three presenters explaining why size matters. They used fun experiments to reveal our noses for the olfactory nanosensors they are, and made chocolate explode by changing its size and spatial distribution (watch the video!). Visitors could also wander our Dimensió Nano exhibit, which introduces key concepts related to the nanoworld. All in all it was a lot of fun and offered those who attended an insight into the far-reaching potential of the research carried out at the ICN2. 



For instance, all those who approached our stand were introduced to the amazing possibilities afforded by brain-computer interface technologies. Detecting an epileptic attack before its onset and restoring the ability to talk or see are just some of the potential applications of these technologies. They were even able to have a go at controlling actions on a tablet using their brain’s electricity. After discussing the impact of these technologies, visitors were invited to join the Nano2All debate being held on 7 June at the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB). If you hurry, you can still volunteer to take part!

Colleagues from the UB, ICMAB, the Catalan Association for Science Communication (ACCC) and CESIRE, coordinated by Jordi Díaz, also brought their ideas and experiences to the event in the form of a critical debate on how nanoscience is already reaching society. The NanoEduca project was also presented, with Fina Guitart from CESIRE explaining the details of the NanoKits that are bringing nanotechnology into secondary school classrooms around Catalonia and Spain. These educational classroom resources were presented before a large crowd, before mentioning the Precipita crowdfunding initiative that has been launched to secure their sustainability.

As the sun went down, after over six hours of nanoscience at the Parc de la Ciutadella in Barcelona, we packed up all the experiments and the Dimensió Nano exhibit. We left the fair exhausted but happy, and already thinking up ideas as to how to make the nanoscience experience even bigger and even better next year.