Friday, February 13, 2009

Largest General Science Conference Meets in Chicago

This weekend (February 12 -16, 2009) I am in Chicago attending the annual meeting of The American Association of the Advancement of Science (AAAS). AAAS publishes the magazine Science and is the world’s largest general science conference. Thousands of scientists, including students, educators (K-12 and college), policy-makers, and researchers, will be in attendance in a city that is one of America’s Scientific Hubs.

The theme for this year’s meeting is —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. The theme also addresses many of the upcoming challenges our planet faces – climate change and environmental impact. There will be a broad range of activities for registered attendees and the general public.

I was especially excited about the Communication Science to Broader Audiences Workshop, on Thursday, February 12th. It was an all-day clinic for scientists and engineers who are interested in public outreach. I learned alot. I even did a sample "interview" to briefly introduce my research. Well, I've got some work to do, especially with my facial expressions and hand gestures. Look out for my 'before and after' Communicating Science segment.

Former Vice President and Nobel Prize Winner, Al Gore, is the special invited guest speaker for Friday, February 13th. I’m taking my copy of An Inconvenient Truth with me in hopes that I can get him to sign it. Also this evening, is the “This is Science” Dance Program. I actually submitted a video for this competition, but did not make the cut. The four winners will have their science research performed by professional dancers. I am really looking forward to the dance interpretations.

Plus, there are a host of symposia and talks about the environment, education, evolution, and science careers that I am looking forward to. However, I am disappointed that NPR Science Friday, with Ira Flatow will not be in attendance. I had my mind set on meeting him. But hey, it's not all bad, look who I bumped into on the elevator after the Society's Presidential Address - the opening talk:
Yes, that is THE Dr. Shirley Malcom, Head of AAAS Education and Human Resources Program. She is my Science Outreach and Educator Shero - she's all about scientific literacy and education. She was very nice and gracious and indulged me this photo.

The continues all day Saturday (February 14) and Sunday (February 15) with more presentations and the Family Science Days. This program is free to the general public. My mother and niece are trying to come down to spend the day with me. I’m very lucky to have a completely nerdy family that loves this stuff as much as I do. There will be exhibits and demonstrations from the local Universities and Science Centers. I’m looking forward to meeting some fellow Outreach Scientists and possibly networking. If you live in the Chicago area, I invite you and your family to come down for the day. It is a fun time and a chance to nurture those young minds. Plus, I would love to meet you.


Unknown said...

This sounds like such a great, full weekend for you! Have fun!

Anonymous said...

I heard mother and Jaeda had lots of FUN!

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