Top Researchers Seek Solutions to Global Challenges, Share Excitement of Discovery at 2010 AAAS Annual Meeting

The 2010 AAAS Annual Meeting is coming to San Diego for the first time, bringing cutting-edge research and a host of free events for the public in its role as America’s largest general scientific conference.

Described in The Times Higher Education Supplement as “the Olympics of science conferences,” the Annual Meeting has long been known as the premier multidisciplinary science gathering in the United States. This year, it will continue its evolution to a prime international affair: When the 176th meeting of the society convenes from 18-22 February, scientists, journalists, and educators from more than 50 nations will be there.

Under the banner “Bridging Science and Society,” top researchers will discuss their findings in the context of global challenges in the environment, economy, health, and education. Attendees can explore research in the neurosciences, energy, astrobiology, public health, and environmental change, and learn how these advances directly affect courtroom trials, care for the elderly, sustainable cities, border security, and other public concerns.

Peter C. Agre

Peter C. Agre

In his invitation to the meeting, AAAS President and Nobel laureate Peter C. Agre urged his colleagues to embrace a global vision of science.

“The theme of this year’s conference… highlights the increasing relevance of science, technology, and engineering as well as scientific literacy to the well-being of society,” Agre explained. “It also calls on every scientist and engineer to make their work both beneficial and understandable, and on society to discover again the excitement and hope that research and its findings offer. It is a call to action that resonates around the world.”

As part of an unprecedented effort to share the day-to-day work of science with students, several sessions at this year’s meeting highlight cooperative projects that connect classroom lessons to applied science in laboratories and factories. Two free AAAS Family Science Days at the San Diego Convention Center also will share the excitement of discovery through hands-on activities, stage shows, and opportunities to meet leading scientists.

“Get Your Hands on Science,” the 2010 Public Science Day organized by AAAS and the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, will guide students from three local elementary schools as they dig up the past with fossil investigations, use planks to engineer a tower, and discover how scientists apply nature’s best ideas to solve human problems. The San Diego Natural History Museum, the San Diego Air & Space Museum, and the San Diego Zoo are also contributing to the special event at the Fleet on 18 February.

Carol Greider

Carol Greider

Eric Lander

Eric Lander

Agre will open the 176th Annual Meeting with a presidential address; other prominent speakers include U.S. presidential adviser Eric Lander, who will discuss science and technology in the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama; Nobel laureate Carol Greider, who will talk on the genetics of degenerative disease; U.S. Geological Survey Director Marcia McNutt, who will speak on ocean science; and International Linear Collider Director Barry C. Barish, whose address will focus on new frontiers in particle physics.

Barry C. Barish

Barry C. Barish

Marcia McNutt

Marcia McNutt

The first AAAS Annual Meeting took place in 1848 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Past meetings have featured such notables as U.S. Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton; U.S. Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore; Rwandan President Paul Kagame; Nina Fedoroff, science and technology adviser to the U.S. Secretary of State; Academy of Sciences for the Developing World Director Mohamed H.A. Hassan; physicist and U.S. presidential adviser Shirley Ann Jackson; Microsoft’s Bill Gates; the science ministers of the European Commission, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Hungary; and Nobel laureates Sherwood Rowland, Leon Lederman, and Wolfgang Ketterle.

The 2010 meeting also coincides with an array of important celebrations, including the 50th anniversary of the laser, which will be the topic of a special meeting seminar discussing the future of “extreme lasers” and other optical tools. This year also marks the 350th anniversary of the Royal Society of the United Kingdom; the U.S. National Science Foundation’s 60th anniversary; and the 25th anniversary of Project 2061, AAAS’s science literacy initiative.

Links

View registration information and the full program for the 2010 Annual Meeting in San Diego.

As the Annual Meeting begins on 18 February, explore a full spectrum of coverage, including reports from the staff of Science, ScienceNOW, AAAS’s Science Update radio program, and AAAS.org’s Annual Meeting News Blog.

Information from the meeting will also be posted at the 2010 AAAS Annual Meeting and ScienceNOW pages on Facebook, and via Twitter.