Aug 22: At the Crossroads of Science and Foreign Policy: Future Forecasting

Join members of the scientific and foreign policy communities on Thursday, August 22, 2013, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. for a lively discussion of the practice and impacts of future forecasting at the Koshland Science Museum, 525 E St., NW, Washington, DC. A panel discussion and breakout group conversations moderated by Jonathan Peck, President and Senior Futurist at the Institute for Alternative Futures, will consider how significant new developments are anticipated, understood, and answered by these communities.
Free and open to the public. Register here.
Science and technology (S&T) communities devote considerable energy to forecasting the next discovery or invention that has the potential to disrupt existing paradigms. In the foreign policy community, horizon scanning anticipates challenges that will arise for global diplomacy and identifies the relationships that will define future events. The practice of future forecasting provides a framework for researchers and policymakers to anticipate the societal, ethical, and economic implications of emerging trends.
Future Forecasting, the first event in the new series At the Crossroads of Science and Foreign Policy, seeks to understand how emerging trends involving S&T are formulated in the scientific and foreign policy communities, and to identify how dialogue between these communities may inform policy-making related to emerging areas of S&T that have global implications.
Questions that will be addressed include:

  • Do the scientific and foreign policy communities differ in how they anticipate future events?
  • What tools or mechanisms do the science and foreign policy communities use to examine emerging, and potentially disruptive, trends?
  • How can the unique perspectives of the science and foreign policy communities inform policy responses to emerging issues with global impact, such as cybersecurity and advanced manufacturing?

At the Crossroads of Science and Foreign Policy is a new program series co-sponsored by the AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowships, Young Professionals in Foreign Policy, and the Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences. Monthly events throughout fall 2013 will provide a forum for active discussion of emerging topics at the intersection of science and foreign policy.

Recognizing National Immunization Month: Are You Up-to-Date?

Immunization is one of the top 10 public health accomplishments of the 20th century, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But ‘herd immunity’ only works if most or all of the people in a community are vaccinated. As children head back to school and young adults start college, August is a great time for all of us to make sure our vaccines are up to date.
The Koshland Science Museum’s interactive online exhibit Infectious Disease: Evolving Challenges to Human Health puts you in the driver’s seat to control a hypothetical epidemic of influenza or measles. Learn about the science of vaccination and see how different vaccination scenarios affect the spread of disease.
The Institute of Medicine has issued numerous reports on vaccine safety, priorities, and research, including Childhood Immunization Schedule and Safety: Stakeholder Concerns, Scientific Evidence, and Future Studies (2013) and Priorities for the National Vaccine Plan (2009).
Visit the CDC’s Vaccines & Immunizations website for more information about vaccines for specific groups, including children, teens, adults, health care professionals, and seniors.

The Latest in the Science of Memory

“The brain is the most complicated structure in the known universe.” That’s how James L. McGaugh, PhD, of the University of California, Irvine began a recent talk entitled Making Lasting Memories in the Brain. The talk, part of the National Academies’ Distinctive Voices lecture series, is just one of many Academies resources exploring the science of memory and learning.
Visitors to the Koshland Science Museum are invited to interact with Brain and Learning topics in our Life Lab, which includes brain imagery and an overview of how the brain makes memories. Other parts of the exhibit delve into the changes our brains and body undergo as we age.
We also invite visitors to test their memory and learn special visual techniques to sharpen their memory with our Memory Boxes and Memory Palace hands-on science activities. A rotating selection of hands-on science activities is offered Saturdays and Sundays from 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. and is included with regular museum admission.
View the video of James McGaugh’s talk, Making Lasting Memories in the Brain.
View the Life Lab online.

Accepting Applications through Sept. 5: Mirzayan Graduate Fellowship Program

Applications are now being accepted for the January 2014 session of the Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship Program. The program, now in its 16th year, provides early career individuals with the opportunity to spend 12 weeks at the National Academies in Washington, DC learning about science and technology policy and the role that scientists and engineers play in advising the nation.
Each year, applicants from around the world become part of a National Academies committee, board, or unit where they are assigned to a mentor and learn about the world of science and technology policy. An immersive experience, the program is designed to broaden fellows’ appreciation of employment opportunities outside academia and leave them with both a firm grasp of the important and dynamic role of science and technology in decision-making and a better understanding of the role that they can play in strengthening the science and technology enterprise for the betterment of mankind.
Applications are due on September 5, 2013. Selections will be made in late October 2013.
Learn more and apply here.

New from PNAS: Hurricanes Pump Heat into the Ocean

In a study in this week’s issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), scientists found that tropical cyclones can have a long-term effect of pumping heat into the ocean. The finding is based on an analysis of satellite-based data from hurricanes in the Northern Hemisphere from 1993-2009.
Given predictions that tropical cyclones may increase in intensity as the climate warms, the finding could point to a positive feedback loop in which storms increasingly warm the ocean, leading to even higher-intensity storms, said study author Wei Mei of the University of California, San Diego.
View the study here.
The Koshland Science Museum’s Earth Lab explains the science behind climate change and explores climate change mitigation strategies. Visit in person or online

Prizes Announced for Student Essays on Engineering

Through its EngineerGirl website, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) challenged students in grades three to 12 to submit essays about the contributions of engineering to the treatment of disease. The writers of outstanding essays were awarded prizes in three categories based upon grade level.
Sydney Ricks, a fifth-grader from Nansemond Parkway Elementary School in Suffolk, Va., placed first among third- to fifth-grade students for her explanation of how the engineering behind the robotic glove has advanced rehabilitation for stroke victims in her essay “Stroke Survivors Get a New Grip on Life.” Stacey Edmonsond, an eighth-grader at Bernard Campbell Middle School in Lee's Summit, Mo., won first place among entries from sixth- to eighth-grade students for her essay titled “Robots: Therapy of the Future,” which described the different types of robotic therapy that have been made available with the help of engineers. Among ninth- to 12th-graders, Samira Bandaru, an 11th-grade student from Hopkins School in New Haven, Conn., placed first for her essay called “The Mechanical Heart,” which explained the roles of engineers in the development of the mechanical heart.
Read all of the essays.
“This year’s essay participants not only provided wonderful explanations about the special contributions of engineering to human health, but a wealth of relief and inspiration for tomorrow as well,” said NAE President Dan Mote. “It is so inspiring and reassuring to see the enthusiasm of young people for the importance of engineering to human health and people that I feel confident the innovators of our future are among us.”
EngineerGirl is designed for middle school girls and offers information about various engineering fields and careers, questions and answers, interviews, and other resources on engineering. EngineerGirl and Engineer Your Life, a website for academically prepared high school girls, are part of the NAE's ongoing efforts to increase the diversity of the engineering work force. Next year’s essay contest topics will be announced this fall.

Measuring Progress in Obesity Prevention

Obesity poses one of the greatest public health challenges of the 21st century, creating serious health, economic, and social consequences. As obesity prevention efforts are deployed across the United States, the country needs to know whether these efforts are having their intended impact.
In a new report, an Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee developed a concise and actionable plan for measuring the nation’s progress in obesity prevention efforts – specifically, the success of strategies recommended in the 2012 IOM report Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation. The new report offers a framework that will provide guidance for systematic and routine planning, implementation, and evaluation of the advancement of obesity prevention efforts.
Koshland Science Museum visitors interested in the science of healthy eating are invited to explore our Food for Thought exhibits, which are available in person and online.

New Report Offers Tools for Providing Health Care during Disasters

Disasters and public health emergencies can stress health care systems to the breaking point. During such crises, hospitals and long-term care facilities may be without power; trained staff, ambulances, medical supplies and beds could be in short supply; and alternate care facilities may need to be used.
Crisis Standards of Care: A Toolkit for Indicators and Triggers, a new report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), examines factors that guide the implementation of standards of care during a crisis. Indicators and triggers represent the information (indicators) and actions taken at specific thresholds (triggers) to help guide operational decision making about providing care during public health and medical emergencies and disasters. The report discusses indicators and triggers for both a slow onset scenario, such as pandemic influenza, and a no-notice scenario, such as an earthquake.
Download the report or read online for free.

Quench Your Thirst at the Koshland Science Museum

As you explore the sights and sounds of downtown Washington, D.C., sometimes all you need is a cool drink of water. The Koshland Science Museum can be your oasis! Stop in anytime to refill your water bottle free of charge. We even have a dog bowl out for thirsty canine friends.
We want to be a good neighbor and do our part to keep plastic bottles out of landfills. While you’re refilling, pick up a free CD featuring our exhibit Safe Drinking Water Is Essential to explore drinking water issues around the globe.
There is no admission charge for filling up a water bottle. If you decide to stay awhile, admission is $7 for adults and $4 for students and military IDs.
This initiative is part of a partnership with TapIt™ and D.C. Water. Visit or download the TapIt app to find free water anywhere in the city.

Register Now: The Science of Science Communication

Climate change...evolution...the obesity crisis...nanotechnology: These are but a few of the scientific topics dominating the world stage today. Yet discourse surrounding these and other science-based issues is often overwhelmed by controversy and conflicting perceptions, hampering understanding and action.

The National Academy of Sciences invites you to attend its upcoming Sackler colloquium on “The Science of Science Communication.” The colloquium, which is the second Sackler colloquium held on this topic, advances a national dialogue about the continuing challenges facing scientists, professional communicators, and the interested public as they seek to exchange information about science.

The Science of Science Communication II
September 23-25, 2013
National Academy of Sciences
2101 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC

View the full agenda and register here.

A registration fee of $100 per day covers the cost of meals during the conference.


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