News: AAAS News & Notes
30 July 2004
EuroScience and AAAS: Building a Stronger Trans-Atlantic Bond
For years, Gabriella Norlin was among a contingent of European scientists and educators who attended AAAS's annual meeting. Amazed and inspired by the mix of cutting-edge science and public interaction, they would return home talking about the need for something similar in Europe. Next month, for the first time, it will happen.
From 25 to 28 August, an estimated 3000 scientists, science enthusiasts, educators, and students will gather in Stockholm, Sweden, for an unprecedented interdisciplinary, pan-European, public scientific meeting. EuroScience Open Forum 2004 is expected to feature 270 top scientists and science experts from 33 countriesincluding several from AAASparticipating in 100 speeches, symposia, and workshops (see www.esof2004.org).
According to officials on both sides of the Atlantic, this will represent a milestone in the historic collaboration of science cultures in Europe and North America.
Norlin, an expert in science communication, is the lead conference organizer; conference director Carl Johan Sundberg, an award-winning physiology professor, has also attended the AAAS annual meeting. Without AAAS, Norlin said, organizing the European forum would have been much more difficult.
"My AAAS friends and colleagues have been very generous and very, very open," she said in a telephone interview from Stockholm. "We learn and exchange views and experiencesI find that really important. And I think we are working on the same goal, and that is to make people more interested in knowledge and to get people to use knowledge from science. Knowledge is always something positive, for all societies."
Shirley Malcom, AAAS's director of Education and Human Resources, will give a plenary address, "Telling the Stories of Science." Alan I. Leshner, the association's CEO and executive publisher of the journal Science, will speak at a reception for international AAAS members and supporters at Stockholm's Vasa Museum on 27 August.
Yolanda George, deputy director of Education and Human Resources, is heading a panel on increasing the number of women doctoral degree candidates in science and engineering. Ginger Pinholster, director of the Office of Public Programs, and Catherine O'Malley, the director of the EurekAlert! science news Web site (see www.eurekalert.org), organized a panel on how science becomes headline news. Albert H. Teich, director of Science and Policy programs, will join a panel on government technology assessment programs.
"AAAS has thousands of members in Europe," Teich says. "AAAS's presence at this event will help to establish us as an organization that isn't just U.S.-focused, but one that has a broader scope."
While the EuroScience forum is derived from AAAS's annual meetings, Norlin says, it is not a clone. The European affair will be biennial, rather than annual. And it's likely to have a distinctively European perspective.
"I think that the discussion about some topics could be more critical than it is on the U.S. level," she said. "For example, I have gotten the impression that we talk differently in Europe about climate change and sustainable development . We are more critical in our thinking sometimes when we see that people are or could be afraid of the effects of some of the applications of science."
Within the European science community, there are differing views on the value of the conference. Some, said Norlin, have a political interest in pushing science higher on the European agenda. Others, she explained, see the meeting contributing to "the democratic argument for advancing science."
But the benefits of the program are sure to extend beyond Europe, Malcom says. "Obviously, the benefit of EuroScience is that it underscores the connectedness of the global science community," she said. "For us, we'll see how they do science outreach. We'll see what issues might be important in Europe that might not be recognized in other places.
"It's not just a matter of what we can teach, but what we can learn. And I imagine that we'll be able to learn a lot, too."
New Dues Rates Approved for 2005
The AAAS Board of Directors has approved a dues increase for 2005. The Board authorizes increases to cover two kinds of expenses: unavoidable costs associated with running AAAS and publishing Science, and new expenses that add value to membership. Postage increases and expanding online resources are examples of the kind of expenses the Board anticipated in setting the 2005 rates.
The new rates are effective for terms beginning after 31 December 2004. As listed below, they do not include postage for international members, which is additional.
All members will be advised of the new dues rates on their renewal notices for 2005. Member dues and voluntary contributions form the critical financial base for a wide range of AAAS activities. For more information, contact the AAAS Membership Office at 202-326-6417, www.aaas.org/membership/.
* Supporting member dues rate is set by the membership department.
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