As the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s 2009 report indicates, climate-related impacts are already evident and expected to increase. Signs of change abound. Sea level rise. Longer growing seasons. Increases in heavy downpours. Droughts. Extended ice-free seasons and more.
Individuals, decision makers and government officials are asking how they can best prepare their families, businesses and communities for the impacts of climate change. They worry about managing flood risks, planting the right crops, allocating water and making smart business decisions. In just about every sector the... (p. 32)
Every two years, the National Science Board reports to the president and Congress about the state of the science landscape. This year’s Science and Engineering Indicators report was presented to the White House on January 15. The chairman of the board’s Science and Engineering Indicators committee, physicist Louis Lanzerotti of the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, recently spoke with staff writer Laura Sanders about how the lay of the science land has changed.
Overall, is this report good news, bad news or interesting news?
Overall, I view these data as good. The United S... (p. 32)
In November, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a nongovernmental advisory panel of health experts, recommended that routine mammography for breast cancer screening start at age 50, not 40. It met with a chorus of objections. Lisa Schwartz, a general internist at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice in Lebanon, N.H., investigates such public health issues. She spoke recently with Science News biomedical writer Nathan Seppa.
Were you surprised at the outcry that arose from this recommendation?
Yes and no. This happened in 1997 when a National Institutes of ... (p. 32)
On January 1, Charles D. Ferguson became president of the Federation of American Scientists, a nongovernmental organization founded in 1945 by Manhattan Project scientists to promote humanitarian uses of science and technology. Ferguson worked at FAS 10 years ago as director of its nuclear policy project, and he returns after working from 2004 to 2009 at the Council on Foreign Relations as part of the Independent Task Force on U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy. Science News assistant managing editor Kristina Bartlett Brody asked Ferguson to discuss nuclear energy and nonproliferation.
How does nucl... (p. 32)
In May 2009, University of Chicago physicist Eric D. Isaacs took the helm of the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago. Earlier in his career, Isaacs spent 13 years at Bell Laboratories, where he directed semiconductor and materials physics research. Recently, Science News senior editor Janet Raloff spoke with Isaacs about ways to reinvigorate research, especially on energy.
You’ve described corporate research centers such as Bell Labs as engines of discovery and as potential models for national labs. How so?
Bell Labs conducted pioneering research in support ... (p. 32)
Our future belongs to a new breed of science, technology, engineering and math talent — decidedly different minds that will use the transformative power of science and technology to advance the human condition.
In this age of escalating global challenges and accelerating technologies, how our children think is the new “currency” for innovation, research and transformative global change. Shaping these habits of mind are experience and practice. When children engage in research, they learn to explore and inquire. When they identify innovative solutions to vexing global problems, ... (p. 36)
At the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in October in Chicago, NIH Director Francis S. Collins discussed NIH funding and answered questions from reporters, including Science News writers Tina Hesman Saey and Laura Sanders. (p. 32)
Trained as a microbiologist, Ken Nealson pursues many interdisciplinary endeavors. He was a pioneer in the field of geomicrobiology and has worked on astrobiology and microbial fuel cells. He holds posts at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and the J. Craig Venter Institute in San Diego, where he uses genomics to survey microbial diversity in the oceans. He recently spoke with Science News managing editor Eva Emerson.
Tell me about “electromicrobiology.”
I think in 20 years, this may well be a major field. What we’re learning about is the ability of microbes to t... (p. 32)
Not everyone knows about Science for Peace and Security, a NATO committee with a small budget that focuses on funding civil science projects with applications to countering threats. The committee’s goal is developing high-quality knowledge in various areas relevant to antiterrorism, to other threats to security or to the priorities of the Partner Countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union and of the Mediterranean Dialogue countries.
Among current SPS projects is Virtual Silk Highway, or SILK-2, a multi-year NATO computer networking project which began early this millennium t... (p. 36)
Astronomer and author Stephen P. Maran recently retired from 25 years as press officer for the American Astronomical Society. He also worked at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., for more than 35 years. Known for his Einsteinian hair, along with his quips and insightful comments at press briefings that drew record crowds, Maran spoke with Science News writer Ron Cowen about his experiences in astronomy and public outreach.
How can NASA and astronomers better communicate discoveries?
There should be more conference calls, more use of Skype and webcasting for press bri... (p. 32)