2014 NSF AISL Awards: Exhibitions

November 14th, 2014

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program funds approximately 30-35 projects each year across diverse informal learning sectors such as media and technology, exhibitions, public programs, and professional development. These are the most recent set of AISL awards related to media and technology. Click on each award’s title to view their project page for more information about project contributors, goals, and methodologies.

Broad Implementation: Phase 2 of the STAR Library Education Network

This project will bring STEM education to underserved rural communities through traveling exhibits in public libraries. Each exhibit will be placed in a selected library for 3 months during which the library will organize events and programming to feature and advertise STEM learning opportunities. The project will study models of learning in library settings across rural demographics.


EAGER: Microetching of the Human Brain

This project endeavors to create a comprehensive illustration of the human brain utilizing reflective microetching, a process combining mathematics and optics to create an art piece that evolves based on the position of the viewer. The project will involve undergraduate students, neuroscientists, engineers, physicists, and artists, and will address the question of whether art can be used in the dissemination of scientific understanding to new audiences in a way that gives a visceral sense of the underlying concepts.


Facilitating Museum Evaluation with Real-Time Data Mining

This project will make use of smartphone and tablet technology to address the challenge of affordable, ongoing, large-scale museum evaluation, while encouraging museum visitors to engage deeply with content. The technology will allow museum users to interact with a ‘virtual scientist’ called Dr. Universe. Analytics from the app data will allow museum staff to make changes to exhibit-related content as current events and visitors’ needs and interests change.


The Living Bridge: The Future of Smart, Sustainble, User-Centered Transportation Infrastructure

The Living Bridge project will create a self-diagnosing, self-reporting “smart bridge” powered by a local renewable energy source, tidal energy, by transforming the landmark Memorial Bridge—a vertical lift bridge over the tidal Piscataqua River, with pedestrian access connecting Portsmouth, New Hampshire to Kittery, Maine—into a living laboratory for researchers, engineers, scientists, and the community at large It will serve as a community platform to educate citizens about innovations occurring at the site and in the region, and about how incorporating renewable energy into bridge design can lead to a sustainable transportation infrastructure with impact far beyond the region. The bridge will contain a publicly accessible information kiosk.


The Hidden World of Permafrost

This project by teams at the Alaskan Permafrost Tunnel will engage the public in the topic of the nature and prevalence of permafrost, its scale on the earth and the important role it plays in the global climate. It will include a traveling exhibition, exhibition and program enhancements to the learning opportunities at the tunnel, programs, table-top exhibits, and oral history research in Native Alaskan villages, and an education research study contrasting learning outcomes through interaction with real versus replicated objects.