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AAAS Forum on S&T Policy Convenes 8-9 May to Explore 21st Century Science Issues
While science and technology will continue to be important for America's economic future, the nation may be entering a "post-scientific society" that relies less on producing new scientific advances at home and more on exploiting science that is developed elsewhere in the world.
Christopher T. Hill, a professor of public policy and technology at George Mason University, argued in an essay last fall that creating wealth and jobs in the United States will depend less on world leadership in basic research in the natural sciences and engineering and more on the ability to structure human work and organizational practices in radical new ways.
Hill will discuss his provocative views on the post-scientific society in a plenary session at the 33rd Annual AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy, 8-9 May in Washington, D.C. Hill's talk will be at a 10:45 a.m. session on Thursday 8 May on the future of science and technology in the 21st century. He will be joined by Melinda Kimble, senior vice president of the United Nations Foundation, and James Canton, chief executive officer of the Institute for Global Futures. AAAS President James J. McCarthy, professor of biological oceanography at Harvard University, will moderate the session.
The United States will continue to need and nurture science, Hill argues, but innovation and growth will require individuals who are able to use knowledge from a range of disciplines. Success will depend "not on specialization, but on integration—on synthesis, design, creativity, and imagination," he said in his essay in "Issues in Science and Technology." Hill noted the success of network firms such as Google, YouTube, eBay and Yahoo as well as large, innovatively organized companies such as Wal-Mart, FedEx, Dell, Amazon.com and Cisco.
The Forum on Science and Technology Policy has become the premier venue for discussion of current issues in science and technology policy. The event will be held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, 13th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Online registration closes on 30 April; registration also is possible at the event. [Get more information on registration and the Forum program.]
A 9 May afternoon session on "Science and the New Media" will include a presentation by Anthony Crider, an associate professor of physics at Elon University in North Carolina and a co-founder of "SciLands" in the virtual world called Second Life. In June 2006, a small group of rocket enthusiasts pooled resources to purchase a virtual island within Second Life to serve as a home for the International Spaceflight Museum. Other science-oriented groups followed, creating their own virtual outposts within Second Life dedicated to science education and outreach. There are now 45 islands in SciLands, according to Crider.
The Forum also will feature a keynote address May 8 by John H. Marburger III, director of the White House Office of Science Technology Policy and the longest-serving presidential science adviser. Marburger, who assumed office in October 2001, has addressed the Policy Forum each year during his tenure. This will be his seventh and final appearance representing the administration of President George W. Bush.
Other sessions include discussion of new models for funding science; the role of science in the 2008 election campaign and beyond; the proper role for advocacy in science; and prospects for human enhancement technologies in sports, the military, age extension and cognition.
Among other speakers at the Forum:
R. James Woolsey, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and now at Goodwin Procter L.L.P. He will give a breakfast address Friday 9 May on "Energy, Security and the Long War of the 21st Century."
Richard Jackson, director of the global aging initiative of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He will give a luncheon address 9 May on "The Graying of the Great Powers: Demographics and Geopolitics in the 21st Century."
John Kao, founder of Kao & Company and formerly on the faculty of the Harvard Business School, will give a luncheon address 8 May on the eroding state of innovation in the United States and steps to reverse a slide Kao has called a "silent Sputnik" crisis.
Kei Koizumi, director of the AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program, with his latest analysis of the federal R&D budget proposals for fiscal year 2009.
Lewis Branscomb, professor emeritus from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and visiting professor at the University of California-San Diego. He will deliver the annual William D. Carey Lecture, an invited address by a notable figure in science and technology. Branscomb's lecture, open to the public, will be at 5:45 p.m. on 8 May.
Peter R. Orszag, director of the Congressional Budget Office. Orszag will discuss the fiscal challenges facing the next administration and Congress during a 9 May morning plenary session on the 2008 election and beyond. Also on the panel for that session is John E. Porter, former U.S. representative from Illinois, who will discuss how to ensure the best presidential science appointments.
29 April 2008