Nanogirl » The MacDiarmid Institute

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Nanogirl and visual learning

Nanogirl in action during her Nanogirl Live! stage showYoung people across New Zealand have been inspired and entertained by Nanogirl, the alter ego of former MacDiarmid Institute investigator Dr Michelle Dickinson, who has helped us take our advanced materials and nanotechnology resources to a much bigger audience.

As a university engineering student, Michelle discovered she was a visual learner and so she found the highly theoretical curriculum delivery a challenge. She vowed then to be a science communicator and to translate science theory into language anyone could understand. This vow, combined with a childhood desire to be a superhero, led to the creation of Nanogirl - a science-savvy female who uses her engineering skills to solve her way out of challenges in life.

The Nanogirl Live! stage show has now been seen by thousands of young people both in New Zealand and internationally. The show brings science and engineering to life with rockets, explosions and other live experiments.

Nanogirl embodies the vision of Sir Paul Callaghan and the MacDiarmid Institute - that science doesn’t have to happen in a classroom or lab, but instead science is everywhere and for everyone. Nanogirl also has promoted diverse role models in science and engineering and will hopefully attract more young women to embrace a science career.

Dr Michelle Dickinson's Ted X talk: Nanogirl, my quest to become a superhero

Dr Michelle Dickinson’s Ted X talk on nanotechnology and her quest to become a superhero.

Michelle has a PhD in biomedical materials engineering, and is a self-confessed adrenaline junkie. Her passion for both sports and science has enabled her to travel the world on the search for her next adventure or research project. With specialist knowledge in nanotechnology, Michelle has contributed to the development of cutting edge technologies.

Secretly, however, Michelle has been working on advancing these developments to help her to achieve her childhood dream of becoming a real life superhero.

In her spare time you will usually find her outside kitesurfing, cycling, running, paddle boarding, or inside practicing martial arts. Her move to academia from industry was a step towards her goal of inspiring females to push the boundaries in both science and sports, and to encourage environmentally sustainable living through engineering design.

December 4, 2012