Fun Ways to Celebrate National Nanotechnolgy Day (October 9)

Last updated 10/7/2021

In The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote, “It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.”  Some of the most important things in our daily lives are little indeed—1 to 100 x 10-9 m (or 1 – 100 nm), to be specific. In 2016, October 9 (10/9—wink, wink) was established as National Nanotechnology Day to celebrate everything made possible by the manipulation of atomic-scale materials and devices.

National Nanotechnology Day features a series of community-led events and activities to raise awareness of nanotechnology, including how it is currently used in products that enrich our daily lives and the challenges and opportunities it holds for the future.

Although examples of nanotechnology date back to 4th century Rome, when colloidal gold and silver (metal particles sizes around 10–100 nm) were used to create glass that changed color depending on the angle light struck the surface. The field itself didn’t emerge until the late 20th century, however, when advances in scientific theory and equipment made it possible to see and manipulate individual atoms.

In just a few decades, nanotechnology has gone from a hypothesis to a practical reality. From clothes to electronics, nanotechnology touches every aspect of our daily lives. And the field continues to grow. Whether you choose to explore on your own or with your chapter, there are many ways to investigate the advances in nanotechnology and how it is impacting our everyday lives.

Chapter activity ideas

  • Host image, video, or illustration contests related to nanotechnology.
  • Organize lab tours and open houses.
  • Coordinate outreach events with demonstrations about nanotechnology.
    (Check out resources at and
  • Create and share an image, video, illustration, or infographic about nanotechnology: what it is, why it is important, and examples of nanotechnology applications.
  • Host a Science Café or an informal discussion on nanotechnology. If you are a K–12 student or teacher, you could invite a scientist from a local college or university.

Fun activities to do at home

Get more ideas from National Nanotechnology Day in 2020

So, what do you think? Would you be interested in celebrating National Nanotechnology Day? It can be as simple as sending a Tweet (#NationalNanoDay) on October 9!

If you have questions about National Nanotechnology Day, please feel free to contact the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office at




Infographic: Nanotechnology
By Andy Brunning
Credit: Chemical & Engineering News


Image of gold/Iridium (green/blue) nanoparticles on a surface of titanium dioxide (white and gold).

Celebrating All Things Nano

Learn about scientific advances that have made our world smarter, more sustainable, and healthier.


Find videos, images, webinars, articles, educational resources, and more

The National Nanotechnology Initiative website features information, events, educational resources, publications, and initiatives of over 20 U.S. government departments and independent agencies agencies focused on nanotechnology R&D.


NextTech Student Network

Learn about student groups student group dedicated to raising awareness of nano and emerging technologies.

About Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology is the understanding and control of matter at the nanoscale, at dimensions between approximately 1 and 100 nm, where unique phenomena enable novel applications. Matter can exhibit unusual physical, chemical, and biological properties at the nanoscale, differing in important ways from the properties of bulk materials, single atoms, and molecules. Some nanostructured materials are stronger or have different magnetic properties compared with other forms or sizes of the same material. Others are better at conducting heat or electricity. They may become more chemically reactive, reflect light better, or change color as their size or structure is altered.

Nanotechnology encompasses nanoscale science, engineering, and technology in fields such as chemistry, biology, physics, materials science, and engineering. Nanotechnology research and development involves imaging, measuring, modeling, and manipulating matter between approximately 1 and 100 nm.

It’s difficult to imagine just how small that is, so here are some examples:
∎ A sheet of paper is about 100,000 nm thick.

∎ A strand of human DNA is  2.5 nm in diameter.

∎ There are 25,400,000 nm in one inch.

∎ A human hair is approximately 80,000–100,000 nm wide.

∎ A single gold atom is about one-third of a nanometer in diameter.
More information about nanotechnology and the National Nanotechnology Initiative can be found at