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Engineering for You Video Contest Open through March 31

Engineering achievements in the past 50 years have helped land astronauts on the moon, create the Internet, and decode the human genome. What will engineering create in the next 50 years?

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), NAE has launched a video contest called “Engineering for You.” The contest challenges entrants to create a 1 to 2 minute video showing engineering contributions that serve human welfare and the needs of society occurring anywhere during the time period from 1964 to 2064. The best overall video will be awarded $25,000, with category-specific awards and a People’s Choice award of $5,000 each.

Visit the contest website to learn more.

Student Short Film Contest Open through March 21

Students in grades 6-12 are invited to submit a short film (30-90 seconds) showcasing an example of science in popular culture to compete for a grand prize of $2000 as part of the 2014 Science and Engineering Festival. Winners also receive a trip to the festival in Washington, D.C. April 26-27.
 
The “Science in Fiction” contest is sponsored by the Kavli Foundation. Find more information at this website from the Science & Entertainment Exchange.

February 27: NAS and The Royal Society to Release Joint Publication on Climate

Join the National Academy of Sciences and the U.K.'s Royal Society for the release of "Climate Change: Evidence & Causes ," a brief publication by a team of leading climate scientists that addresses key questions about climate change.
 
Miles O'Brien of the PBS Newshour will moderate a discussion with some of the report’s authors from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, February 27. The public is invited to attend the release at the NAS Building at 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., or by webcast.

Learn more about climate change and its impacts by exploring the Koshland Science Museum’s online exhibit Earth Lab: Degrees of Change.

Summary: The Science of Science Communication

A summary of a National Academy of Sciences’ colloquium exploring ways to improve the communication of science to lay audiences is now available. The colloquium, held in the fall of 2013 and titled “The Science of Science Communication II,” convened leading social, behavioral, and decision scientists, other scientists, and communication practitioners to share current research and discuss opportunities to enhance public engagement with science.

New Workshop Summary Explores Microbes and Our Health

A new workshop summary from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) offers perspectives on the scientific and therapeutic implications of the microbial communities that live in and around our bodies and those of other organisms.
 
Increasingly in recent years, scientific evidence has illuminated complex and dynamic interactions among hosts, microbes, and the environment, leading some scientists to suggest a paradigm shift away from the conventional “one-microbe, one-disease” view to encompass a more nuanced perspective on microbial ecology as it relates to health and disease.
 
Purchase the workshop summary or read it online for free.

February 20: DASER on Art as a Way of Knowing

The next D.C. Art Science Evening Rendezvous (DASER), a monthly discussion forum on art and science projects, will be held Thursday, February 20 starting at 6:00 p.m.. DASERs provide a snapshot of the cultural environment and foster interdisciplinary networking. This month, in celebration of its third anniversary, DASER explores the theme of art as a way of knowing.
 
Speakers will include artists Michele Banks and Diane Burko; Michigan State University professor and bioartist Robert Root-Bernstein; and Nina Samuel, Curator, Art and Science Historian, and Post-Doctoral Researcher at Image Knowledge Gestaltung: An Interdisciplinary Laboratory, Cluster of Excellence, Humboldt University, in collaboration with Center for Literary and Cultural Research, Berlin, Germany.
 
Free and open to the public; registration and photo ID are required. The event is also viewable via webcast starting at 5:30 p.m. EST.

DASER is co-sponsored by Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences (CPNAS) and Leonardo, the International Society for the Arts, Sciences, and Technology.

Research Finds Adapting to Climate Change Is Cheaper than Responding to Its Impacts

A new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) found that the cost of strategies to adapt to projected sea level rise are lower than the potential costs of flooding damage that could occur in the absence of such adaptation measures.
 
Given current climate change projections, the researchers estimated that by the year 2100, global mean sea level rise of 0.8 to 4 feet will cause 0.2 to 4.6 of the world’s population to be flooded, causing annual economic losses of 0.3 to 9.3 percent of global gross domestic product. Investing in measures to adapt to sea-level rise, such as by raising dikes or restoring wetlands, would incur upfront and maintenance costs, but those costs would be much smaller than the global costs of flooding damage, according to the study.

Learn more about the impacts of climate change and consider adaptation and mitigation options in the Koshland Science Museum’s online interactive exhibit, Earth Lab: Degrees of Change.

Workshop Summary: Food for Healthy People and a Healthy Planet

How can we create systems that provide a safe, nutritious, and consistent food supply while also reducing the strains placed on natural resources such as land, water, and air? A new workshop summary from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) considers the issues.
 
The report is based on a workshop held by the IOM’s Food Forum and Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine in May 2013. Workshop participants explored the food and nutrition policy implications of increasing environmental constraints on the food system as well as the relationship between human health and the environment. The workshop also examined the role of the food price environment and how environmental sustainability can be incorporated into dietary guidance.
 
Read or purchase the report.
 
Explore more about nutrition and healthy choices in the Koshland Science Museum’s online exhibit, Life Lab: Food For Thought.

February 12 is Darwin Day

Darwin Day is a global celebration held on the birthday of evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin. The National Academies continue to draw inspiration from Darwin’s insights even more than 150 years after the publication of his masterwork On the Origin of Species.
 
The National Academies’ Evolution Resources website offers educator resources, expert reports, events, and thoughtful, in-depth discussion of evolution and related issues.
 
The modern-day study of evolution offers crucial insights on diseases, how they spread, and how our body responds to them. Learn more about the role of evolution in infectious disease in the Koshland Science Museum’s online exhibit, Infectious Diseases: Evolving Challenges to Human Health.

Recognizing Low Vision Awareness Month

February is Low Vision Awareness Month, a time to recognize the challenges faced by people living with low vision and take steps to protect your eye health. In the Koshland Science Museum’s interactive immersive gaming screen, visitors can take on the role of “AGNES,” a digital avatar that lets you experience the world through the eyes of someone with age-related vision loss.
 
Learn more about the physical changes our bodies experience as we grow older, as well as the challenges of driving at different ages in our online exhibit, Life Lab: Aging.

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