News: AAAS 2008 Annual Meeting News Blog
Free Public Events at 2008 AAAS Annual Meeting Run the Gamut from All-Star Science Lectures, to a Head of State, to Family Science Days
• Free Events
Families with children, teachers, early-career scientists and all others with a curious mind are invited to come to events that are free and open to the public at the 2008 AAAS Annual Meeting, 14-18 February in Boston, Mass. This year's public offerings run the gamut from lectures by leading scientists and His Excellency Paul Kagame, president of Rwanda; to a Davos-style global health panel; a town hall on childhood obesity; Family Science Days; a Public Science Day event; and more.
With cutting-edge lectures on topics such as climate change and science-based efforts to create better forms of energy as well as hands-on science activities for children, the AAAS Annual Meeting promises something for people of all ages and interests. A summary of AAAS events is provided below.
Registration for these free events is required either in advance or on-site. On-site, go to the Hynes Convention Center, Second Level, Hall C Lobby.
Thursday, 14 February, 12:30 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.
Sheraton Boston, Second Floor, Back Bay A-B
(See the Family Science Days Web page)
This year's AAAS Public Science Day, open to all and promoted to schools, will invite participants to meet a "real-life spiderwoman." Greta Binford is an assistant professor of biology at Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Ore., who studies spiders and their silks and venoms. She has been featured in The New Yorker and on National Public Radio's Science Friday, and was set consultant for the movie, Spiderman. Her AAAS presentation will feature species that are native to the Boston area. For a video demo on milking a spider, visit http://www.lclark.edu/dept/public/binford07.html.
Saturday—Sunday, 16-17 February, 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Hynes Convention Center, Second Floor, Hall D
(See the Family Science Days Web page)
AAAS is partnering with local area universities, museums and others to host Family Science Days, a free event with hands-on activities and stage shows for families, children, and young adults. The program features Danny Forster from the popular television show Build It Bigger (Science Channel); inventor Saul Griffith, creator of HowToons; how to create a snowstorm; the answers to why a NASCAR team can't reach Victory Lane without understanding the science behind materials traveling at speeds up to 200 mph; and how to make robots at home.
Thursday—Sunday, 14-17 February, 6:30 p.m.
Boston Marriott Copley Place, Fourth Floor, Ballroom E-G
Monday, 18 February, 8:00 a.m.
Hynes Convention Center, Third Floor, Room 302-304
(See the Annual Meeting Lectures Web page)
AAAS President David Baltimore, Ph.D., President's Address, Thursday, 6:30 p.m.—Baltimore is the Robert A. Millikan Professor of Biology and president emeritus of the California Institute of Technology. He is one of the world's leading biologists and a co-recipient of the 1975 Nobel Prize in Medicine for the discovery of reverse transcriptase. Since then, he has published more than 600 papers, including seminal research on the genetics of cancer, the workings of the HIV virus and AIDS vaccine candidates, and fundamental observations in molecular immunology. He was founding director of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and president of Rockefeller University and Caltech. Today he heads the Baltimore Lab at Caltech, with support from the Gates Foundation, to look for ways to genetically boost the immune system against infectious pathogens, particularly HIV. Throughout his career, Baltimore has influenced science policy. He helped set standards for recombinant DNA technology and received the 1999 National Medal of Science in part for his work on AIDS research policy. Today he is outspoken about what he sees as government efforts to distort and suppress scientific research.
His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, Invited Address at Opening Ceremony, Thursday, 6:30 p.m.—Born in October 1957 in Ruhango, Southern Province, Kagame's family fled Rwanda in 1960 to escape persecution and ethnic programs that characterized the nation in subsequent decades. In 1990, he returned after 30 years in exile to lead the Rwandan Patriotic Army in a liberation struggle that succeeded in 1994. In 2000, he was unanimously elected President by the Transitional National Assembly, and three years later, he became the first democratically elected President of Rwanda. Confronting deep poverty and the aftermath of genocide, Kagame has demonstrated his strong support of plans to pursue sustainable development that are built on science and education to achieve growth and prosperity. He has received achievement awards and international recognition for uniting and reconciling Rwandans, promoting the use of information and communication technologies for the overall development of the African continent, addressing social and cultural barriers that impede the economic and political advancement of women, and abolishing the death penalty. He also has been recognized by many African and international organizations for his work in promoting the economic development of Africa and peaceful solutions to regional conflict.
Pioneer and Global Philanthropist Judith Rodin, Ph.D., Climate Change Adaptation: The Next Great Challenge for the Developing World, Friday, 6:30 p.m.—President of the Rockefeller Foundation, Rodin trained as a research psychologist and was the first woman to serve as president of an Ivy League institution, the University of Pennsylvania. A pioneer in the behavioral medicine movement, she also taught at New York University before joining the faculty at Yale and then becoming provost. Today she leads the Rockefeller Foundation, established in 1913 by John D. Rockefeller Sr., to "promote the well-being" of humanity by addressing the root causes of serious problems. The Foundation works around the world to expand opportunities for poor or vulnerable people and to help ensure that globalization's benefits are more widely shared. With assets of nearly $4 billion, it is one of the few institutions to conduct such work both within the United States and internationally. Rodin serves on several leading nonprofit and corporate boards. She has written or co-written 12 books, including most recently The University and Urban Revival. She served on President Clinton's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology. A member of several leading academic societies, including the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, she has received 14 honorary doctorate degrees.
International Science Adviser Nina Fedoroff, Ph.D., Making the World Flat: Science and Technology in the Developing World, Saturday, 6:30 p.m.—In August 2007, Fedoroff was named the science and technology adviser to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, serving as chief scientist and principal liaison with the national and international scientific and engineering communities. She is responsible for enhancing science and technology literacy and capacity at the State Department, increasing the number of scientists and engineers working in Washington and in missions abroad, strengthening and building bridges to the scientific and engineering communities, and providing advice on current and emerging science and technology issues as they impact foreign policy. She holds an academic post as the Evan Pugh Professor of Biology and Verne M. Willaman Professor of Life Sciences at Pennsylvania State University, where she is also founding director of the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences. As a leading geneticist and molecular biologist, she has contributed to the development of modern techniques used to study and modify plants. Her book, Mendel in the Kitchen: A Scientist's View of Genetically Modified Foods, examines the scientific and societal issues surrounding the introduction of genetically modified crops. She received the 2006 National Medal of Science for her pioneering work on plant molecular biology, and for her being the first to clone and characterize maize transposons.
Global Education and Technology Visionary Nicholas Negroponte, Ph.D., One Laptop per Child, Sunday, 6:30 p.m.—Negroponte is founder and chairman of One Laptop per Child (OLPC), a non-profit association launched in 2005 to provide low-cost laptops and Internet access to poor children in developing countries. OLPC is an education project—not a laptop project—that gives children access to libraries of knowledge, ideas, experiments, and art as well as a window into the world. A graduate of MIT, Negroponte is a pioneer in the field of computer-aided design, and has been a member of the MIT faculty since 1966. He is on leave from MIT, where he was co-founder and director of the Media Laboratory and is the Jerome B. Wiesner Professor of Media Technology. He also wrote the best seller, Being Digital which has been translated into more than 40 languages. In the private sector, Negroponte serves on the board of directors for Motorola and as general partner in a venture capital firm specializing in digital technologies for information and entertainment. He has provided start-up funds for more than 40 companies, including Wired magazine.
Renowned Experts Jim Yong Kim, M.D., Ph.D., Peter Piot, M.D., Ph.D., and Timothy Wirth, Ph.D., Global Health Challenges, a salon-style panel moderated by AAAS President David Baltimore, Monday, 8:00 a.m.
Jim Yong Kim, M.D, Ph.D., holds appointments as François Xavier Bagnoud Professor of Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health and Professor of Medicine and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is chief of the Division of Social Medicine and Health Inequalities at Brigham and Women's Hospital, a major Harvard teaching hospital; director of the François Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights; and chair of the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Kim returned to Harvard in December 2005 after a three-year leave of absence at the World Health Organization. While on leave, Kim was director of the WHO's HIV/AIDS department where he oversaw all of WHO's work related to HIV/AIDS, focusing on initiatives to help developing countries scale up their treatment, prevention, and care programs. Kim has worked to improve health in developing countries for more than 20 years. He is a founding trustee and the former executive director of Partners In Health, a not-for-profit organization that supports a range of health programs in poor communities in Haiti, Peru, Russia, Rwanda, Lesotho, and the United States. An expert in tuberculosis, Kim has chaired or served on international policy committees, and has conducted extensive research into effective and affordable strategies for treating strains that are resistant to standard drugs. He has been recognized on numerous occasions as a global leader and distinguished professional, including the award of a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship in 2003; being named one of America's 25 best leaders by US News & World Report in 2005; and being identified as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine in 2006.
Peter Piot, M.D., Ph.D., is the first executive director of UNAIDS since its creation in 1995 and Under Secretary-General of the United Nations. He comes from a distinguished academic and scientific career focusing on AIDS and women's health in the developing world. Drawing on his skills as a scientist, manager, and activist, Piot has challenged world leaders to view AIDS in the context of social and economic development as well as security. Under his leadership, UNAIDS has become the chief advocate for worldwide action against AIDS. It has brought together 10 organizations of the United Nations system around a common agenda on AIDS, spearheading UN reform. Piot earned a medical degree from the University of Ghent, a Ph.D. degree in microbiology from the University of Antwerp, and was a Senior Fellow at the University of Washington in Seattle. After graduating from medical school, Piot co-discovered the Ebola virus in Zaire in 1976. In the 1980s, he launched and expanded a series of collaborative projects in Africa. Project SIDA in Kinshasa, Zaire, was the first international project on AIDS in Africa and is widely acknowledged as having provided the foundations of our understanding of HIV infection in Africa. Piot has received numerous awards for scientific and societal achievement, and was knighted as a Baron by King Albert II of Belgium in 1995. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States and the Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium, and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London.
Timothy Wirth, Ph.D., is president of United Nations Foundation and Better World Fund, founded in 1998 through a major financial commitment from R.E. Turner to support and strengthen the work of the United Nations. Wirth began his political career as a White House Fellow under President Lyndon Johnson and was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Education in the Nixon Administration. In 1975, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives where he concentrated his efforts in the areas of communications technology and budget policy. Ten years later, he was elected to the U.S. Senate where he focused on environmental issues, especially global climate change and population stabilization. He chose not to run for re-election. From 1993 to 1997, he served in the U.S. Department of State as the first Undersecretary for Global Affairs. In this position, he coordinated U.S. foreign policy in the areas of refugees, population, environment, science, human rights, and narcotics. Wirth has organized and led the formulation of the Foundation's mission and program priorities, which include the environment, women and population, children's health and peace, security, and human rights. The Foundation also engages in extensive public advocacy, resource mobilization, and institutional strengthening efforts on behalf of the UN. He is a graduate of Harvard College and holds a Ph.D. degree from Stanford University. The recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees, he also served as a member of the Harvard Board of Overseers.
Friday—Sunday, 15-17 February
Hynes Convention Center, Third Floor
Times and Rooms Below
(See the Annual Meeting Lectures Web page)
Friday, 15 February, NOON - 1:30 p.m. (Topical panel)
Mark Fishman, Ph.D., president, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research; Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D., president, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; and Janez Potočnik, Ph.D., commissioner for science and research, European Commission; Advancing Science and Fostering Innovation Through International Cooperation: A Trans-Atlantic Perspective, Hynes Convention Center, Third Level, Room 304
Friday, 15 February, 12:30 p.m.—1:15 p.m. (Two concurrent lectures)
Charles Elachi, Ph.D., director, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, The Golden Age of Robotic Space and Earth Exploration: Challenges and Opportunities, Hynes Convention Center, Third Level, Room 302
Curtis T. McMullen, Cabot Professor of Mathematics, Harvard University, The Geometry of 3-Manifolds, Hynes Convention Center, Third Level, Room 312
Saturday, 16 February, 12:30 p.m. - 1:15 p.m. (Three concurrent lectures)
Angela Belcher, Ph.D., Germeshausen Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, From Nature and Back Again: Giving New Life to Materials for Energy, Electronics, and the Environment, Hynes Convention Center, Third Level, Room 304
2008 George Sarton Memorial Lecture in the History and Philosophy of Science: Janet Browne, Ph.D., Aramont Professor of the History of Science, Harvard University, Commemorating Darwin: The History of Scientific Celebrations, Hynes Convention Center, Third Level, Room 302
Lawrence Susskind, Ph.D., Ford Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Strengthening the Global Environmental Treaty-Making System, Hynes Convention Center, Third Level, Room 312
Sunday, 17 February, 12:30 p.m. - 1:15 p.m. (Three concurrent lectures)
2008 John P. McGovern Lecture in the Behavioral Sciences: Daniel Kahneman, Ph.D., Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology and professor of psychology and public affairs, emeritus, Princeton University; and Nobel laureate, Architecture of the Mind, Hynes Convention Center, Third Level, Room 312
Per Pinstrup-Andersen, Ph.D., H.E. Babcock Professor of Food, Nutrition, and Public Policy, Cornell University, Science and Policy Priorities for the Global Food System, Hynes Convention Center, Third Level, Room 302
Nathan D. Wolfe, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology, University of California, Los Angeles, Viral Forecasting, Hynes Convention Center, Third Level, Room 304
Sunday, 17 February, 1:15 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Boston Marriott Copley Place, Grand Ballroom, Salon E-G
(See the Obesity Town Hall Web page)
Teachers, school health professionals, parents, students, scientists, and the public are cordially invited to take part in a free town hall-style event on understanding the science behind obesity and childhood nutrition. In keeping with the theme of the 2008 AAAS Annual Meeting, "Science and Technology from a Global Perspective," and under the auspices of the AAAS Center for Public Engagement with Science and Technology, the town hall is being planned to explore key questions, including: What does science tell us about children's nutritional needs worldwide? Is there enough time in the school day for exercise? How can nutrition instruction fit into the K-12 science curriculum? What roles can communities, schools, culture, and people play in addressing the problem of childhood obesity? Participants are:
The Honorable Thomas M. Menino, Mayor of Boston (Keynote Speaker)
Sally Squires (Moderator), nationally syndicated Lean Plate Club columnist, and nutrition and health writer for the Washington Post
Christina Economos, Ph.D., New Balance Chair in Childhood Nutrition and Assistant Professor at the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition and Science Policy, and Jean Mayer U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on AgingTufts University
Mark Fenton, PBS Host, "America's Walking"
Steven Gortmaker, Ph.D., professor of the practice of health sociology at the Harvard School of Public Health; director of the Harvard Prevention Research Center; and co-author, Planet Health middle-school curriculum
W. Philip T. James, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of the International Obesity TaskForce and honorary professor of nutrition at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Shiriki Kumanyika, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology in the Departments of Biostatistics and Epidemiology and Pediatrics; and Associate Dean for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Virginia A. Stallings, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; director of the Nutrition Center, and director of the Office of Faculty Development at the Joseph Stokes Research Institute at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Friday—Saturday, 15-16 February, 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, 17 February, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Times and Locations Vary
(See the Science Career Workshops Web page)
The AAAS Annual Meeting is rich with activities for professional and career development. Sessions are designed for everyone regardless of degree level or career stage and offer many opportunities for networking and meeting colleagues and peers. At a free Career Fair on Friday, 15 February from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Hynes Convention Center, Second Level, Hall D), Science Careers offers the chance to meet face-to-face with employers to discuss job openings for all degree levels. Exhibiting companies represent biotechnology, pharmaceutical, government and manufacturing organizations. Career-Building Workshops for scientists, students and others are planned throughout the weekend and will cover topics ranging from basic skills such as interviewing to more advanced subjects, including dealing with career transitions and communicating with the U.S. Congress. Career Guide to the Meeting contains a list of workshops and other open events; available at Registration, Hynes Convention Center, Second Level, Hall C Lobby. In addition, many Exhibitor-Sponsored Workshops will take place during the AAAS Annual Meeting.
HISTORY: The first AAAS Annual Meeting took place in 1848 in Philadelphia, Pa. In 2007, the AAAS Annual Meeting drew some 8,000 participants, including nearly 900 press registrants from around the world. Past meetings have featured such notables as Albert Einstein, former U.S. President William Jefferson Clinton, Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, and Google Co-Founder Larry Page.