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Global challenges, nanoscale solutions - teaching why materials matter

Dr Jennifer Dionne | Stanford University

Global challenges, nanoscale solutions - teaching why materials matter

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Imagine a world where cancer is cured with light, solar cells provide abundant and inexpensive clean energy, objects can be made invisible, and teleportation is allowed through space and time. The future once envisioned by science fiction writers is now becoming a reality, thanks to advances in materials science and engineering. And yet, since materials science is rarely introduced in secondary schools, the field is in many ways underappreciated. Here I'll describe my approach to instructing broad audiences - from middle-school students to college freshman to the general public - about the principles and power of materials, particularly nanomaterials. By combining hands-on learning with visual and performing art components, classrooms gain a deeper appreciation of how new nanomaterials can address long-standing global challenges.