text-only page produced automatically by LIFT Text Transcoder Skip all navigation and go to page contentSkip top navigation and go to directorate navigationSkip top navigation and go to page navigation
National Science Foundation Home National Science Foundation - Mathematical & Physical Sciences (MPS)
Materials Research (DMR)
design element
DMR Home
About DMR
Funding Opportunities
Awards
News
Events
Discoveries
Publications
Career Opportunities
Proposals
Workshops and Reports
Research and Education Highlights
See Additional DMR Resources
View DMR Staff
MPS Organizations
Astronomical Sciences (AST)
Chemistry (CHE)
Materials Research (DMR)
Mathematical Sciences (DMS)
Physics (PHY)
Office of Multidisciplinary Activities (OMA)
Proposals and Awards
Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide
  Introduction
Proposal Preparation and Submission
bullet Grant Proposal Guide
  bullet Grants.gov Application Guide
Award and Administration
bullet Award and Administration Guide
Award Conditions
Other Types of Proposals
Merit Review
NSF Outreach
Policy Office
Additional DMR Resources
International Collaboration
Lightsource
DMR Proposal Submission Deadline
Interagency Coordinating Committee on Ceramics Research and Development (ICCCRD)
Broadening Participation
Professional Societies
Links for Kids
Materials Websites
Other Site Features
Special Reports
Research Overviews
Multimedia Gallery
Classroom Resources
NSF-Wide Investments

Email this pagePrint this page


Press Release 05-063
Education Magnified 100,000X

Lab simulator packs teaching power of electron microscope at the expense of a textbook

The iSEM, demonstration version

View interactive.
Credit and Larger Version

May 2, 2005

Kids have always had a fascination with the other-worldly images produced by a scanning electron microscope (SEM): ants sitting on microchip picnic tables, salt crystals in gritty detail, the scales of a butterfly wing.

Now, a team of researchers and educators has created a CD-ROM and Web-based software to generate some of the capabilities--and teaching potential--of an SEM using personal computers in a classroom.

"Our goal is to develop next-generation virtual laboratory technology to provide educators access to advanced analytical instruments rarely found in a high school, or even a college," says Gary Casuccio of the RJ Lee Group, principal investigator on the iSEM Project.  "The iSEM represents our first step in this direction."

Rooted in some of the same techniques researchers execute in an SEM lab, students can use the technology to explore objects. Called iSEM, for Interactive Scanning Electron Microscope, the system displays pre-installed, high-resolution images that students can observe and precisely measure as if they were operating their own $200,000 analytical instrument.

"Today's students use technology like their parent's generation used books – it is an integral part of their lives," says Lynn Landis, an 8th-grade science teacher from South Fayette Middle School in Pittsburgh and a consultant for the iSEM Project.  "By bringing this technology to my classroom, I feel that I will be 'updating' school and tying it to real life activities."

From zooming in and measuring the fangs of a spider to analyzing the chemistry of minerals in a meteorite, elementary school-aged children can run experiments they might not otherwise see outside of a graduate school education.

"iSEM is a version of the SEM tool that is affordable even to schools with relatively meager resources," says Sally Nerlove, the NSF officer who oversaw the iSEM award. "This has the potential to motivate and prepare students for professions that benefit from advanced microscopy, such as electronics, medicine, forensics and the emerging area of nanotechnology."

SBIR Phase II Award #0321679: Development of a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) Simulator for Use in Education http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward.do?AwardNumber=0321679

-NSF-

 

Media Contacts
Joshua A. Chamot, NSF, (703) 292-7730, jchamot@nsf.gov
Shelly Belcher, South Fayette Middle School, (412) 221-4542, belcher@southfayette.org

Program Contacts
Sara B. Nerlove, NSF, (703) 292-7077, snerlove@nsf.gov

Principal Investigators
Gary Casuccio, RJ Lee Group, (724) 325-1776, gcasuccio@rjlg.com

Related Websites
RJLeeEducation: http://www.RJLGeducation.com

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2014, its budget is $7.2 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 50,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $593 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

 Get News Updates by Email 

Useful NSF Web Sites:
NSF Home Page: http://www.nsf.gov
NSF News: http://www.nsf.gov/news/
For the News Media: http://www.nsf.gov/news/newsroom.jsp
Science and Engineering Statistics: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/
Awards Searches: http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/

 

Students in Steubenville, Ohio, explore iSEM
Students in Steubenville, Ohio, explore iSEM.
Credit and Larger Version

Interface for the iSEM demonstration version
Interface for the iSEM demonstration version.
Credit and Larger Version



Email this pagePrint this page
Back to Top of page