In this issue:
Message to Members: 2009 Annual Meeting - Our Planet and Its Life: Origins and Futures
News to Note: Nobel Prizes Honor AAAS Members, Satellite Images of South Ossetia, Seminars Helps Teachers Inspire STEM Careers, Arctic Division Meeting Report, Commentary Against Texas Antievolution Move, "On-Call" Scientists Program, US Diplomat Advises Focus on Science, Landmark China Lectures, Election Website Continues Through Inauguration
Advancing Science, Serving Society: Improving Ethics Panels, Global Challenges Seminar Series
Science Careers: Publishing in Science Presentation, Career Fairs Workshop Report
Announcements: 2009 Annual Meeting Membership Offer, Neurobiologist Wins MacArthur "Genius Grant," Resource on Scientific Misconduct and Research Integrity, Darwin 2009 Festival Registration, Year-End Gift to AAAS, and other items
Message to Members
2009 Annual Meeting - Our Planet and Its Life: Origins and Futures
The 2009 AAAS Meeting will bring together an exceptional array of speakers addressing some of the most crucial and timely areas of science, technology, and engineering. The meeting’s theme - Our Planet and Its Life: Origins and Futures
- recognizes that 2009 is the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his book, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection
. New understanding of the processes that fascinated Darwin continues to be the focus of intense research 150 years later. Indeed every discipline can demonstrate its own unique evolutionary path and speculate on where it may lead.
Attendees will have the opportunity to choose among a broad range of activities
, including nearly 175 symposia, seminars, and career development workshops as well as plenary
and topical lectures by some of the world’s leading scientists and engineers. Typically, the meeting includes up to 10,000 participants and hundreds of members of the national and international media, as well as exhibitors from international universities and research centers. It offers unparalleled networking opportunities. More details can be found online
, including how sustainability science, an emerging field, has found a home
The Annual Meeting reflects tremendous efforts from the AAAS sections, divisions, and committees
, which we gratefully acknowledge. I also extend a personal thanks to the members of the Scientific Program Committee
who reviewed and assembled the many excellent ideas and proposals into this outstanding meeting.
I urge you to join us in Chicago,
James J. McCarthy, Ph.D.
AAAS President and Alexander Agassiz Professor of Biological Oceanography
P.S. You can review the Annual Meeting program, develop your personal itinerary, and register at www.aaas.org/meetings
News to Note
2008 Nobel Prizes Honor AAAS Members, Science Authors
Four AAAS members were recently awarded Nobel Prizes.
- In Physiology or Medicine, Luc Montagnier and Pasteur Institute colleague Francoise Barré-Sinoussi, whose groundbreaking investigation of HIV was published in the 20 May 1983 edition of Science
, were honored for isolating the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS. Harald zur Hausen of Germany, a virologist, was recognized for discovering that the human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause cervical cancer. He explained the contribution of viruses to the development of human tumors in the 22 November 1991 issue of Science
- In Physics, Yoichiro Nambu of the University of Chicago was recognized for describing a psychical event called "spontaneous broken symmetry," which helps underlie the Standard Model of physics.
- In chemistry, Martin Chalfie of Columbia University shared a prize with two other scientists for research on a protein that makes certain jellyfish glow in the dark. Chalfie and a team of researchers reported in Science
in 1994 that they had achieved the insertion of the gene that controls the florescent protein into the Caenorhabditis elegans
about these and other 2008 winners.
AAAS Analysis of Satellite Images Shows Destruction in South Ossetia
The AAAS Science and Human Rights Program has completed a new satellite-image analysis showing destruction following the 7-8 August clash between Georgia, South Ossetian separatists, and Russia. The AAAS report concludes that "initial concentrated damage to the city of Tskhinvali and small amounts of damage in outlying areas had occurred by 10 August. By 19 August, a much broader range of destruction occurred…other significant signs of military actions were also shown to have occurred in the region." The images can be used to help establish who had responsibility for protecting civilians from attacks by militia. Read more
about the analysis, requested by Amnesty International USA, and previous geospatial projects in Zimbabwe, Darfur, and Burma (Myanmar.)
AAAS Seminar Helps Teachers Inspire STEM Careers
As science is shuffled to the back burner in many elementary schools, the best time to engage natural curiosity and life-long interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is being lost. To give teachers simple tools that mix science, engineering, and problem solving, AAAS hosted a two-day seminar, "Engineering Is Elementary," organized by the Museum of Science in Boston, Massachusetts. For example, a small boat fashioned from everyday materials can teach the science of wind energy along with the engineering of sails. Teachers can order lessons and materials
from the project. Read more
Abelson Seminar Addresses Science, Stress, and Human Health
Ten speakers presented new insights into human stress that may promise advances in treating and coping with anxiety-related disorders, trauma caused by war or natural disasters, and addiction. The 2008 Philip Hague Abelson Advancing Science Seminar, held at AAAS in late October, honors the 22-year tenure and legacy of the former editor of Science
. Dr. Abelson, who died in 2004, founded and sponsored the seminar series to showcase innovative approaches to existing challenges. Read more and watch videotaped presentations
on promising new efforts to combat stress-related conditions.
AAAS Arctic Division Meeting Explores Unprecedented Change
Arctic sea ice has shrunk to the second smallest size on record as climate change tests the resilience of the environment and the people of the far north. These and other stark changes were discussed by Arctic researchers and native Alaskan leaders during the mid-September Annual Meeting of the AAAS Arctic Division. New open sea lanes also could increase pressure to drill in fragile Arctic ecosystems to tap undiscovered oil and gas, creating an expansion of global geopolitical and economic interests. Read more
about the sweeping effects, from disruption of subsistence hunting and fishing in rural cultures to US security and sovereignty concerns.
AAAS Speaks Out About Texas Educators’ Antievolution Move
A commentary published in the Houston Chronicle
, written by AAAS CEO Alan I. Leshner, states that a move by members of the Texas State Board of Education to introduce religious ideas into public school science classrooms puts the state’s students and its economy at risk. The members’ objective is to appoint three antievolution activists to a six-person panel that reviews proposed new science curriculum standards that would shape textbook selection for the next decade. "The board members’ action threatens to confuse students, divide communities, and tarnish Texas’ reputation as an international science and technology center," Leshner writes. Read the full commentary
and learn more about AAAS’s commitment to preserving the integrity of science education.
AAAS Launches "On-call" Scientists Program
The AAAS Science and Human Rights Program is calling on scientists to volunteer skills and knowledge, working with human rights organizations that need scientific expertise and technical assistance. These organizations include national human rights institutions and United Nations Field Offices throughout the world. Life, physical, behavioral, and social scientists, as well as engineers, technicians, medical professionals, and public health practitioners are invited to join. Read more
about "On-call" Scientists and the program to expand science in the service of human rights, and sign-up to volunteer.
Landmark China Lecture Addresses Sustainability Challenges
In the first-ever AAAS-Chinese Academy of Sciences Distinguished Lectureship, former AAAS President Peter Raven cited challenges to the country’s environmental capacity to sustain rapid development. Recent lectures addressing graduate students and researchers in Beijing and Shanghai noted that these challenges are shared by the United States, as developed countries must join forces with developing countries to create a planet "in which we are not threatened by instabilities and catastrophes caused by our common neglect of our common problems." Read more
about the challenges created by explosive growth and consumption.
AAAS and Other Organizations Advocate Prompt Appointment of Science Advisor
A letter signed by nearly 180 science, business, and education organizations was sent prior to the election to presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain urging each, if elected, to appoint a science advisor by Inauguration Day on January 20. The letter, a joint effort led by AAAS and the Association for the American Universities (AAU), also called on the new President to elevate the science advisor position to Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and make it a cabinet rank post. Read more about the effort
. Read the letter to Obama
2008 Election Website to Continue Coverage Through Inauguration
Since January, AAAS has monitored candidates’ views on science and technology issues and provided nonpartisan information to the public through the Election 2008 website (http://election2008.aaas.org
). AAAS stands ready to speak on behalf of the science and technology community during and following the postelection transition period.
Advancing Science, Serving Society
AAAS Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility: Improving Ethics Panels that Oversee Social Science Researchers
Established in the 1970s in response to abuses in biomedical research, the institutional review boards (IRBs) that oversee federally funded studies involving human subjects often take a heavy-handed approach toward social science projects that pose minimal or no risk to participants. Whether the problem is the actual regulations or their application was among the topics of a September meeting of the AAAS Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility, which grappled with how to improve the performance of ethics panels. While some research institutions have reduced the amount of time to answer requests for expedited review, other social and behavioral science researchers have experienced months of delay which can jeopardize project funding, according to a summary prepared for the AAAS committee. Read more
about strategies to improve ethics panels.
The AAAS Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility was established in 1976 to assist AAAS and other scientific groups in developing statements of principles governing professional conduct. The balance between scientific freedom and responsibility is central to the core mission - to assure that arbitrary demands on proposed research do not result in inappropriately altering or unduly delaying valuable scientific advances.
AAAS Center for Science, Technology, and Security Policy -- Science and Society: Global Challenges
A recent seminar series held in the AAAS auditorium in Washington, D.C., ranged from sustainable energy sources to transportation to nuclear security. Two of the four discussions are highlighted below.
Sustainably Delivering Energy in the Developing World
World political and economic issues must be resolved in the global effort to find abundant, affordable, secure energy sources of limited threat to the environment, according to experts at a recent AAAS seminar. Read about
the differing concerns and perspectives of the 192 nations now involved in climate discussions.
Merging Climate and Transportation Policy
Renewed investment in infrastructure through new highways and transportation alternatives such as light rail, bus lines, and bike lanes was urged by a panel of three transportation experts during a discussion at AAAS. A strong call to US local and federal governments to improve transportation policy in response to climate change noted that the nation now has more registered motor vehicles than licensed drivers. Read more
AAAS’s online career job and advice site, Science Science
Careers has a new look and new features that make it easier to advance your career, whether you’re seeking a new job, advice on career advancement in your chosen field, or ways to stay current on industry trends. Some of the features you’ll find on the newly redesigned site include:
- Enhanced job searching
- Relevant job e-mail alerts
- Improved resume/CV uploading
- Search by geography
- Multimedia section
today. Your future awaits.
Publishing in Science: Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, California
An editor from Science
will discuss the submission, review, approval, and publication process for the journal. The presentation will cover what editors look for in strong submissions and what reviewers are asked to consider when reading manuscripts. The editor will walk through the steps of submitting a paper through the review process and finally to publication, as well as explain what types of papers are suitable for publication in Science as opposed to a specialty journal. After the presentation, audience members have the opportunity to ask questions of the editor.
Tuesday, November 18, 6:30-8 p.m.
Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C. Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Room 209
Sunday, December 14, 6:15-8:15 p.m.
American Society for Cell Biology Annual Meeting, San Francisco, California
Moscone Center, Room 101
Workshop Report: Getting the Most Out of Career Fairs
It has been weeks since you attended that career fair and no one has called you back. What went wrong? Early career scientists, mostly graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, attended a September workshop detailing how to navigate a career fair, organized by AAAS/ Science
Careers. Sessions included crafting an effective curriculum vitae, identifying potential employers, following up, and networking at scientific meetings. Read more
about the workshop and access information on upcoming job fairs and outreach events in the United States and Europe.
Special AAAS Membership/2009 Annual Meeting Offer
Are some of your colleagues not yet members of AAAS? If they register in advance for the 2009 Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois, they will receive a one-year membership to AAAS for free, along with all member benefits including a one-year subscription to the journal Science
, access to Science
and all of its archives online, and access to Science
Express. International members will receive Science
Digital. This offer is good for advance registration only, and expires on 19 January 2009. Only nonmembers qualify. Share the news now. Register now at www.aaas.org/meetings
for "Our Planet and Its Life: Origins and Futures," 12-16 February 2009.
Sign Up for AAAS Annual Meeting Updates
Sign up for the 2009 Annual Meeting Updates listserv and receive periodic program notices on the meeting to be held next February. The full program is now available at www.aaas.org/meetings
Wanted: Student Session Aides
Attend the 2009 AAAS Annual Meeting for free by volunteering as a session aide. Some volunteers also receive a free subscription to Science
Online. For more information, go to www.aaas.org/meetings
and visit Teachers & Students.
"Dance Your Ph.D."
Four winners who submitted the videos that most creatively conveyed the scientific evidence of their Ph.D. thesis will be honored during the Annual Meeting by the debut of "This Is Science," a professional dance interpretation in four parts based on their scientific research. The goal of the contest is to bring scientists and artists together and to engage the public. Join the fun!
Watch the entries.
New Science Careers Webinar: State of the Nation: Science in Ireland - December 10, 2008
, at 11 a.m. Eastern Time (8 a.m. Pacific, 4 p.m. GMT)
In recent years Ireland has made significant progress in building its scientific research capacity. Recently, the Irish government set down a bold vision to build a "knowledge economy." Join us for a roundtable discussion that will look at what policy decisions have been taken to deliver on this vision, consider the progress made to date and the funding and research opportunities in industry and academia in Ireland, as well as examine the challenges encountered. Questions can be asked live! Register TODAY: www.sciencecareers.org/webinar
Produced by the Science
/AAAS Business Office and sponsored by Science Foundation Ireland.
Neurobiologist Wins MacArthur "Genius Grant"
Rachel Wilson, winner of the 2007 Eppendorf & Science
Prize for Neurobiology, is one of 25 individuals named a Fellow for 2008 by the MacArthur Foundation. Wilson, an assistant professor of neurobiology at Harvard Medical School, was cited for her study of olfactory processing in fruit fly brains, which showed how simple neural circuits can be deconstructed. Read more
about the research and other 2008 MacArthur Award winners. Listen to an interview
with Rachel Wilson on NPR.
Access a New Resource on Scientific Misconduct and Research Integrity
AAAS, in collaboration with the National Academies, has established a website for students, researchers, administrators, and policy makers. The resources are divided into seven sections: Upcoming Events; Recent Literature; AAAS and National Academies Resources; Web and Media Resources; Policies, Codes, and Guidelines; Past Conferences; and International Resources. Access the site
Register Now for the Darwin 2009 Festival
and AAAS are proud to be a major sponsor of the Darwin 2009 Festival taking place in Cambridge, UK, 5-9 July. The festival celebrates both the bicentenary of Darwin’s birth and the 150th
anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species
. The week-long event will engage everyone from scientists to schoolchildren, with talks from Sir David Attenborough, Ian McEwan, Richard Dawkins, A.S. Byatt, Lord Martin Rees, Lord Robert May, and Nobel laureates Sir John Sulston, Sir Paul Nurse, and Harold Varmus, plus many more. Early registration is recommended for this popular festival. Go to http://www.darwin2009.cam.ac.uk/
for more information and to register.
Consider a Year-End Gift to Advance Science and Serve Society
During 2008, AAAS launched new initiatives that address critical issues in science and technology, in addition to our hallmark programs. To sustain this ambitious agenda, please consider AAAS as you assess your end-of-year giving, as it is through member contributions that we are able to promote science in all its forms. For more information, go to http://www.aaas.org/aboutaaas/giving/types/designate.shtml
or contact the AAAS Development Office at +1 (202) 326-6636.
Join the Next Class of S&T Policy Fellows and Apply Your Science to Serve Society
You may apply online by 15 December 2008 for the 2009 class of AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellows. The year-long assignments in congressional offices and federal agencies located in Washington, D.C., begin 1 September of each year. Now in its 35th year, the fellowship program is a unique opportunity for scientists and engineers to apply their knowledge and skills to national and international issues, while learning firsthand about establishing and implementing policy. AAAS seeks candidates from diverse backgrounds and geographic, disciplinary, gender, and ethnic perspectives. Fellows have ranged in age from late 20s to early 70s and represent a spectrum of career stages, from recent Ph.D. graduates to faculty on sabbatical to retired scientists and engineers. For eligibility and criteria information, stipend and benefit details, and an application, go to our website: www.fellowships.aaas.org
Apply to Be a Summer Science Reporter at a Major US Media Outlet
The AAAS Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellowship seeks to increase communication skills in student scientists. The fellowship places senior undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate science and engineering students at media sites nationwide to work as science reporters for 10 weeks. Past sites have included the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and National Public Radio. AAAS selects 15 to 20 Fellows each summer who receive a $4,500 stipend plus travel expenses. Check here
for an application and more information. Deadline: 15 January 2009.
Apply for a Minority Science Writers Internship with Science
Science is a global activity, but the demographics of the journalists who cover it do not reflect that diversity. The AAAS Minority Science Writers Internship is for students who are interested in journalism as a career and who want to learn about science writing. Interns spend 10 weeks at Science
, the world’s largest interdisciplinary journal, under the guidance of award-winning reporters and editors. The paid internship includes travel to and from the internship site in Washington, D.C. Go to http://www.aaas.org/mswi
for an application and information. Deadline: 1 March 2009.
US Federal Workers Can Support AAAS through the CFC
You can select AAAS on the Combined Federal Campaign’s national/international list, supporting innovations in science, engineering, and technology to serve society globally. All donations go to the AAAS Fund for Excellence to assist in proactively addressing critical issues such as education, climate change, national security, science diplomacy, and scientific integrity. The contribution period is 1 September-15 December. Note the AAAS CFC number 10134
New AAAS Exhibit Features Science Covers and Sculptures
The artistic beauty of scientific results is shown in an exhibit of 23 Science
covers at AAAS headquarters in Washington, D.C., open to the public weekdays through 9 January. A striking illustration of the genome of a cottonwood tree, an artist’s conception of drug resistance, and a powerful photograph of an HIV/AIDS patient in Asia are among the images. A concurrent exhibit in the AAAS Gallery features works by Washington, D.C.-area sculptors. Read more
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Meet Up at Upcoming Events
AAAS/Science will have a booth at the following events. Stop by to pick up your member pin.
Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting,
15-19 November, Washington, D.C., USA
ASCB - American Society for Cell Biology Annual Meeting,
13-17 December, San Francisco, California, USA
AGU - American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting,
15-19 December, San Francisco, California, USA
26-28 May 2009 (registration through 15 January), Brussels, Belgium
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