The Monthly Newsletter for AAAS Members
Special Edition: Annual Meeting 2005
Message to Members : Connecting at the Nexus
Annual Meeting Highlights :
Postcards from Washington , D.C.
Dear AAAS Member,
Science and policy leaders, researchers and students, parents and children all found common ground at the 2005 Annual Meeting, The Nexus: Where Science Meets Society.
Preliminary results indicate that attendance records were broken in almost every category. Some 5,100 registrants chose from an interdisciplinary agenda of more than 170 symposia, plenary, and topical lectures. Nearly 1,200 members of the press reported scientific breakthroughs including the release of the Science paper describing the first whole-genome effort to map human genetic variation across three populations. Around 3,000 people of all ages attended the lively and enlightening Family Science Days and a large number of children participated in Public Science Day.
AAAS members support a vital connection between science and society. I would like to thank all who attended the meeting in Washington , D.C. For those of you who were unable to attend, this special edition of Advances covers the highlights and gives access to additional in-depth information.
Alan I. Leshner, CEO, AAAS
P.S.—It's not too early to mark your calendar for our 2006 Annual Meeting, Grand Challenges-Great Opportunities, 16-20 February in St. Louis , Missouri . For information and to submit a Symposium Proposal (due 2 May), go to: http://www.aaas.org/meetings/Annual_Meeting/ .
A PHOTO JOURNAL OF THE ANNUAL MEETING
Take a virtual tour of Family Science Days, plenary lectures, the awards ceremonies, and the Exhibit Hall. View the photos at http://promo.aaas.org/kn_marketing/annualmeetingphotos.shtml
THE PRESIDENT'S ADDRESS
Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson opened the meeting by addressing the cross-disciplinary role of science and scientists in society, historically and at today's promising frontier. Read remarks about the last half-century of science and the opportunities for the future: http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2005/0217jacksontext.shtml .
Science Results from the Mars and Titan Missions
Dr. Steven W. Squyres, the principal scientific investigator on the Mars Rover mission, presented scientific results during a plenary lecture and a news conference. Read about Titan's role in revealing ancient secrets while raising new mysteries: http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2005/0218titan.shtml .
Einstein's Lessons for the Third Millennium
Dr. S. James Gates, Jr., a pioneering physicist, capped a day of symposia and lectures at the first U.S. event, co-sponsored by AAAS and the American Physical Society, celebrating the World Year of Physics. Read about his wide-ranging homage to Albert Einstein, going beyond intellect to creativity, spirituality, and humanity: http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2005/0221einstein.shtml .
Science for Society: Risks and Opportunities
Dr. Mamphela Ramphele, South African physician and educator, called on scientists in the West to form new, mutually productive partnerships that would allow Africa to develop its human and economic resources to advance global stability. Access the full text: http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2005/0219ramphele.shtml
Where Science Meets Society: CDC's Perspective
Dr. Julie Louise Gerberding, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cited the situation with avian flu as an ominous reminder of the period before the deadly 1918 outbreak of Spanish flu when that virus was quietly mutating. Read about the CDC's call for world cooperation in controlling and preventing global disease: http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2005/0221flu.shtml .
Mapping Human Genetic Variation
Researchers with Perlegen Sciences, Inc. were represented at the symposium titled “The Genetic Age: Changing Paradigms in Science Funding,” and also released the paper, “Whole Genome Patterns of Common DNA Variation,” published in the 18 February issue of Science. Read about the first whole-genome effort to map human genetic variation and the work's potential impact: http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2005/0217dna.shtml .
Forensic Science: Myth and Reality
Forensic scientists presented a reality check on TV-fueled misconceptions of what physical evidence from crime scenes needs to be tested and how investigations ought to be conducted. Read about real pathology vs. televised myth:
Defining Male and Female: Biology and the Law
Researchers presented new evidence that gender may not depend solely on anatomy or hormones but also on hard-wired genetics. Find out about the implications for the one in 4,000 babies classified as “gender ambiguous” and for surgeons facing decisions about gender reassignment: http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2005/0218gender.shtml .
Detecting the Unseen with Invisible Probes
Physicists described promising new uses for muon radiography, using the energetic particles created by cosmic rays to probe dense objects such as pyramids, volcanoes, and cargo containers. Find out how the process works and how it could enhance global security: http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2005/0219muon.shtml .
The Earliest Low-Carb Diet
Scientists presented the results of a nine-year field study of mountain gorillas living with chimps in Uganda, offering intriguing clues to dietary adaptations of early hominid ancestors who lived alongside the great apes. Read about the evolution of the modern human diet: http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2005/0218gorillateeth.shtml .
Grim News for the World's Whales
Marine scientists reported that “acoustic smog” and pollution threaten whales globally. Read about the noise created by shipping and oil exploration that disrupts whale songs and could affect mating—and the pollution that also threatens billions of people whose protein source is seafood: http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2005/0219whales.shtml .
Epilepsy and Depression—A Two-Way Street?
Researchers revealed an intriguing link between epilepsy and depression that could signal common pathogenic mechanisms and point the way to new treatments. Read the latest discovery about links that were first noted by Hippocrates around 400 B.C.:
Robots on the Go
Scientists introduced “Toddler,” one of three new bi-pedal robots designed to walk on “passive-dynamic” principles, much like humans. The robots, featured during the Annual Meeting, are the subject of a path-breaking paper in the 18 February issue of Science. Read about applications including prosthetics research:
Watch the robot video: http://science.discovery.com/fansites/discoveriesthisweek/aaas/aaas.html.
AAAS Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology
Dr. Eric S. Lander, director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, for public education in genomic research: http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2005/0216public.shtml .
AAAS Award for International Scientific Cooperation
Dr. Michael J. Balick, New York Botanical Garden, for promoting global collaboration in ethnobotany: http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2005/0216cooperation.shtml .
AAAS Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award
Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee, U.S. National Institutes of Health, for 30 years of leadership in DNA research and gene therapy: http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2005/0216freedom.shtml .
AAAS Mentor Award
Dr. Jagannathan Sankar, North Carolina A&T State University, for mentoring Ph.D. students including minorities: http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2005/0216mentor.shtml .
AAAS Mentor Award for Lifetime Achievement
Dr. Rhonda Hughes, Bryn Mawr College, for helping women and minorities earn graduate degrees in mathematics: http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2005/0216mentor.shtml .
AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize
The oldest award conferred by AAAS, established in 1923 and currently supported by Affymetrix, cited a report on the process in which a computer-designed protein was synthesized and confirmed to match the original plan. Read about the researchers and their accomplishments: http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2005/0216nc.shtml .
Young Scientist Award
Supported by GE Healthcare and AAAS/ Science, to Dr. Saba Valadkhan, Case Western Reserve University, for graduate research in RNA molecular biology: http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2005/0210ys.shtml .
AAAS Science Journalism Awards
These awards, citing outstanding general-audience reporting of science, are sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development, L.L.C. Details: http://www.aaas.org/aboutaaas/awards/sja/winners.shtml .
• Amy Ellis Nutt of The Star-Ledger (Large Newspaper)
• Melinda Burns of Santa Barbara News-Press (Small Newspaper)
• W. Wayt Gibbs of Scientific American (Magazine)
• Mark Davis of WGBH-NOVA (Television)
• Cynthia Graber with Christopher Ballman for National Public Radio's Living on Earth (Radio)
• Carl Zimmer of Corante.com (Online)
AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books
AAAS, with support from Subaru, honored authors and artists for outstanding science writing and illustration of books for children, young adults, and general audiences. Awarded for the first time, the prize promotes the reading, writing, and publishing of high-quality books for all age groups. For more information on the winners, go to http://www.sbfonline.com/prizes .
• Children's Science Books - Patricia Lauber, Laurence Pringle, and Seymour Simon
• Children's Hands-on Science Books - Bernie Zubrowski
• Children's Science Book Illustration - Jim Arnosky
• Popular Science Books - James Trefil
Some were making fossils while others created earthquakes. Some found out about forensics and others experimented with carbon dioxide. Dozens of hands-on workshops and interactive science demonstrations attracted about 3,000 children, parents, and teachers to the popular two-day event held each year during the Annual Meeting. Read more about the continuing AAAS effort to bring the thrill of scientific discovery to the public: http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2005/0220fsd.shtml .