Richard W. Siegel

Materials Science and Engineering Department
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, New York 12180, USA

The materials research community has been seeking ever higher experimental resolution of atoms with increasing success in a variety of environments over many years.  In parallel with these efforts, theoretical modeling of atoms and their material environments has achieved a high level of atom resolution that has enhanced our understanding of these environments.  These developments have enabled greater and more precise visualization of atom interactions and organization.  They have also been important in stimulating and capturing young people’s interest in the world around them and how that world is made up of atoms, molecules, and materials. This interest and initial learning can begin even at a very early age, long before any formal schooling begins.  In order to encourage young people of all ages to become interested in materials and to gain a greater understanding of them, we created the Molecularium® Project ( at Rensselaer almost 20 years ago.  This award-winning effort utilizing state-of-the-art atom simulations has produced several media, including Molecularium – Riding Snowflakes (2005), Molecules to the MAX! (2009), NanoSpace® (2012), and My Molecularium (2017), which now capture young people’s interest through entertainment with significant scientific content – stealth education. This talk will highlight these media that are now being used by children, parents and teachers to increasingly develop science literacy and to entice eager young minds into the exciting world of materials.