Oct. 17, 2011

Itsy-bitsy, teenie-weenie: Disneyland exhibit goes nano

To help visitors understand the vast world of the wee, the new Nanooze Lab at Disneyland, in Anaheim, Calif., allows guests to "touch a molecule" and zoom into the nanometer scale world of atoms and molecules.

Using microscopes, they can see everyday objects magnified more than 100 times and share them on a large video display or with magnifying glasses, explore butterfly wings and other objects from nature.

Sponsored by Cornell and the National Science Foundation, the Nanooze Lab opened in September for one year. It also includes a live show where guests can hear about the wonders of nanotechnology -- and even get to make nanometer-scale material.

"What is the smallest thing you an think of? It might be a bug, a cell, an atom, a quark, but it isn't," said Carl Batt, Cornell's Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor of Food Science and founder of Nanooze. "Everything starts off with some common object, and we give guests a chance to explore and play, going down to the nanoscale."

The Nanooze exhibit is part of the overall Nanooze media enterprise that includes a website -- with games, articles, a blog and Q&A section -- and a magazine for children (all issues can be downloaded free, and a series of print issues of Nanooze focusing on chemistry will be distributed to more 100,000 students in the United States this coming year).

A similar long-term exhibit called Take a Nanooze Break opened in 2010 at the Innoventions pavilion at Epcot theme park at Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Cornell Nanofabrication Facility and the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network also provided support for the exhibit, and the displays were built by the Cornell Department of Theatre, Film and Dances's former painter Andy Mansfield, now head of Tamarack Design, and Steve Brookhouse, former assistant technical director.

For more information about Nanooze, visit: http://www.nanooze.org/main/Nanooze/English.html.