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Generation Nano: Presented by the National Science Foundation and the National Nanotechnology Initiative

Generation Nano:
Small Science, Superheroes

About Generation Nano

The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) are excited to continue Generation Nano: Small Science, Superheroes! This competition asks high school students to choose a societal area to focus on and then design nanotechnology-enabled gear for an original superhero.

Students can envision gear that is grounded in current research but not yet possible, allowing them to learn about the potentials and limitations of real-world nanotechnology. Students will first identify one societal mission from a list of four to address and then submit an entry with three parts: a written section, a short comic strip and a video.

Need more inspiration? Even the iconic comic creator Stan Lee thinks you should enter!  

Amina Khan, National Science Foundation

How to Enter

Entries now closed. To see if the Gen Nano competition is right for you, please thoroughly review our downloadable Participant Guide before attempting to submit an entry. You can also find important information on what a complete entry is like in the Entry Guidelines; learn how, where, and when to submit your entry and how it will be judged on the Process & Prizes page; and be sure to review the Rules & FAQ.  

First place winner of the "Generation Nano: Small Science, Superheroes" 2016 competition Eric Liu from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia, stands next to a picture of "Nanoman," the character he created for the competition. Photo: Glorymar Rivera-Diaz, National Science Foundation

Science360 Introduces Generation Nano

NSF's Science360 Super Science Show stars Charlie Heck and Jordan D'Eri get into the Generation Nano spirit - and superhero costumes. Find out the basics of Generation Nano in this three-minute video.

Have questions? Learn about nanoscience and nanotechnology, and what nanoscale means at Nanotechnology Resources. You can also find links on comic generation and free, non-copyrighted images and audio on our Multimedia Resources page.

Ask a Nano Expert

You sent us your nano questions, and we answered! See our nanotechnology experts answer your questions and talk about their nano-superpower of choice. Check out the Ask a Nano Expert Video and Comics pages.

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Generation Nano Competition
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, Virginia 22230 USA

Follow the competition #GenNano

Who: High-school students — individuals or teams of two to three

What: A written entry, 2–3 page comic strip and 90-second video introducing the hero and story • Explains importance and potential impact of societal mission • Describes nanotechnology usage

When: Competition opens October 5, 2016; submissions due by 11:59 p.m. EST, January 31, 2017. Public voting in April, 2017.

Where: Learn more and submit your entry online at

Why: To promote early interest in nanoscale science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

More Questions? Contact the Generation Nano team at