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New Art Exhibit Offers Window to the ‘Persona of Ice’

Caleb Cain Marcus: A Portrait of Ice, a photography exhibition now on view at the National Academy of Sciences building in Washington, D.C., offers viewers the chance to experience the awe and beauty of the world’s glaciers.
 
The public is welcome to see the exhibition free of charge from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. Photo ID is required. The exhibition will be on display from February 3-July 7, 2014.
 
Caleb Cain Marcus is a New York-based photographer, born in Colorado's Rocky Mountains. He spent two years on a journey to Patagonia, Iceland, Norway, New Zealand and Alaska photographing glaciers. He often used a vertical frame to reflect a relationship with the land that is akin to an intimate portrait. Containing only two elements, ice and sky, the horizon that typically grounds a landscape vanishes. Freed from the horizon, a sense of scale is lost, altering one's experience of a landscape. It is in this unfamiliar territory that Cain Marcus hopes viewers can fully experiences the persona of ice.
 
The exhibition is part of the Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences, which offers free world-class exhibitions and cultural events for the public.

Video: Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change

A new video is available based on the National Research Council report Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change. The video features interviews with the researchers who wrote the report, as well as visualizations of climate model outputs and discussion of the potential for rapid climate-change associated changes in physical, ecological, and societal systems. 
 
The report, which was released in 2013, calls for action to develop an abrupt change early warning system to help anticipate future abrupt changes and reduce their impacts.

The Koshland Science Museum’s online exhibit Earth Lab: Degrees of Change explores a multitude of trends, indicators, and impacts associated with climate change.

Engineer Girl Essay Contest Open through March 1

March 1 is the deadline for girls and boys aged 8-18 to enter the 2014 Engineer Girl Essay Contest, which challenges students to imagine how engineering might change our lives over the next 50 years.
 
The year 2014 marks 50 years since the creation of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). In honor of the NAE’s 50th anniversary, this year’s essay contest encourages students to think back on the incredible engineering achievements made during the past 50 years and consider the advances that we might celebrate 50 years from now.
 
The contest is open to submissions from girls and boys in three age categories.

IOM Workshop Examines Safety of Caffeine in Food and Dietary Supplements

Caffeine, a central nervous stimulant, has been part of many cultures for centuries. But the array of caffeine-containing products has expanded in recent years to include food products, energy drinks, and supplements, raising concerns about their safety and about whether new products target populations not normally associated with high caffeine consumption – like children and adolescents – and whether caffeine poses a greater health risk to those populations.
 
At the request of the FDA, the IOM held a workshop August 5-6, 2013, to review the available science on safe levels of caffeine consumption in foods, beverages, and dietary supplements and to identify data gaps. A new workshop summary, titled Caffeine in Food and Dietary Supplements: Examining Safety,” summarizes the workshop presentations and discussions.
 
Test your knowledge of dietary supplements and their safety in the Koshland Science Museum’s online quiz on dietary supplements.

Seeking Nominations for 2014 Communication Awards

February 7 is the last day to nominate an individual or team for the 2014 National Academies Communication Awards. The contest is open to individuals or teams who have developed creative, original works that address issues and advances in science, engineering and/or medicine for the general public. Four winners will be honored with $20,000 prizes from the Keck Futures Initiative – a program of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine, with the support of the W.M. Keck Foundation.
 
Nominations are accepted in four categories: Book;Film/Radio/TV; Magazine/Newspaper; and Online.
 
Read more and submit a nomination here.

Koshland Museum Advisors among Recipients of Top Scientific Awards

With the announcement of its 2014 scientific awards, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) honors the outstanding achievements of 15 scientists in a range of fields. Among the recipients are Dr. Richard B. Alley, chair of the Koshland Science Museum’s Earth Lab Scientific Steering Committee and Dr. Robert Kirshner, chair of our Wonders of Science Scientific Steering Committee. Congratulations to all the award recipients!
 
The Koshland Science Museum is honored to work with some of the nation’s top scientists to ensure scientific accuracy and objectivity as we develop new exhibits and programs. Learn more about our Expert Advisors and exhibit development process.
 
Annual awards distributed by the NAS recognize extraordinary achievements in fields spanning the physical, biological, and social sciences. This year’s winners are:

  • Richard B. Alley, Evan Pugh Professor at the Pennsylvania State University (Arthur L. Day Prize and Lectureship)
  • Marvin H. Caruthers, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Colorado, Boulder (NAS Award in Chemical Sciences)
  • Garnet Kin-Lic Chan, A. Barton Hepburn Professor of Theoretical Chemistry at Princeton University (William O. Baker Award for Initiatives in Research)
  • Joseph L. DeRisi, professor, Howard Hughes Medical Investigator, and Gordon Tomkins Chair at the University of California, San Francisco (John J. Carty Award for the Advancement of Science)
  • Allison J. Doupe, professor of psychiatry and physiology at the University of California, San Francisco (Pradel Research Award)
  • Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, Professor Emerita of the University of California, Davis (NAS Award for Scientific Reviewing)
  • Deborah Jin, a physicist with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, professor adjunct in the department of physics at the University of Colorado, and a fellow of the JILA (Comstock Prize in Physics)
  • Robert Kirshner, Clowes Professor of Science at Harvard University (James Craig Watson Medal)
  • James C. Liao, Ralph M. Parsons Foundation Professor of Chemical Engineering and chair of the chemical and biomolecular engineering department at the University of California, Los Angeles, (NAS Award for the Industrial Application of Science)
  • Ueli Rutishauser, assistant professor of neurosurgery, department of neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, and Rebecca Saxe, associate professor, department of brain and cognitive sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Troland Research Awards)
  • David M. Sabatini, member of the Whitehead Institute, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and professor of biology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (NAS Award in Molecular Biology)
  • Kelin Whipple, professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University (G.K. Warren Prize)
  • James L. McClelland, Lucie Stern Professor in the Social Sciences and Director, Center for Mind, Brain, and Computation at Stanford University, and Elizabeth Shilin Spelke, Marshall L. Berkman Professor of Psychology at Harvard University (NAS Prize in Psychological and Cognitive Sciences)

Read more about the awards and the outstanding recipients.

New Website Offers Tools to Fight Childhood Obesity

A new website created by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) offers information, tools, and tips to help children get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day. The website, based on the 2013 IOM report, Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School, aims to help teachers, school administrators, parents, and children find ways to incorporate physical activity into the regular school day to fight obesity and increase children’s cognitive development and academic success.
 
The website, called “Get 60 Minutes,” offers recommendations on encouraging active transportation to and from school, classroom activity time, recess, physical education class, afterschool programs, and sports.
 
The Koshland Science Museum has a variety of free, interactive exhibits focused on healthy living for children and adults. Visit our Food for Thought page to explore some of these exhibits online, or call to arrange a group tour or field trip.

Apply for NRC Research Associateship Programs by February 1

The National Research Council (NRC) is accepting applications through February 1, 2014 for its Research Associateship Programs, which offer graduate, postdoctoral, and senior-level research opportunities at sponsoring federal laboratories and affiliated institutions.
 
Prospective applicants can apply to participate in a variety of research projects organized by 25 programs from across the United States.
 
Learn more about current opportunities and apply here.

‘Evolution Canyon’ Yields Surprising Findings about How New Species Form

Generally, it is thought that new species are formed when two populations become physically isolated from each other and, over time, become so different that they can no longer interbreed. New research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, however, suggests species can also form within populations that are not geographically separated—a phenomenon called “sympatric” speciation.
 
The researchers found evidence that a population of spiny mice (genus Acomys) is diverging into two species in different slopes of a canyon in Israel. Although there is no physical barrier between them, the canyon’s slopes vary dramatically; one is hot and dry while the other is cool, humid, and forested. The scientists call the area “Evolution Canyon” because they believe it holds many examples of sympatric speciation.
 
The finding adds fuel to the debate among evolutionary biologists over the prevalence of sympatric speciation in nature—a debate that has been ongoing since Darwin’s time.

Climate change is likely to cause ecosystems to experience shifts that can affect species’ ranges and distribution. Learn more about the ecological impacts of climate change in the Koshland Science Museum’s Earth Lab exhibit or the National Academies’ online resource, Ecological Impacts of Climate Change

Last Chance! See ‘Crossing the Line: Paintings by Steve Miller,’ Closing Jan. 23

Exhibition of Steve Miller’s provocative artworks blending science and creative expression will end on Thursday, January 23. The works can be seen 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays at the National Academy of Sciences building, 2101 Constitution Ave., N.W. The exhibition, titled Crossing the Line: Paintings by Steve Miller, is free and open to the public.
 
For the past decade, Steve Miller has made provocative artworks based on his collaboration with Rod MacKinnon, a Nobel Prize winner for his breakthrough work on the movement of ions across cell membranes. In paintings that juxtapose photographic, drawn, and silk-screened images with excerpts from MacKinnon's notebooks, Miller's work dissolves conventional distinctions between text and image to explore what distinguishes art from science.
 
Click here for directions and more information.

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