Protecting Higher Education from Attack: Human Rights Day 2014

Date: December, 16 2014

2014 Nobel Peace Prize recipients Malala Yousafzay and Kailash Satyarth have drawn the world's attention to the dangers many educators and students face every day. On 10 December - International Human Rights Day and the day the laureates receive their awards in Oslo - we invite you to learn how you can help protect access to safe places to learn, study, and teach. Robert Quinn, Executive Director of Scholars at Risk, will introduce a new initiative to protect higher education led by the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack. Quinn will present the ‘Principles of State Responsibility for Protecting Higher Education’ and explain how members of the STEM community can get involved in the campaign. Reception to follow.

Now You See it, Now You Don't. Is Anything Really as it Seems? The Science of Illusion 

Date: October 28, 2014

Do you believe what you see? Do you trust your senses? These are just some of the questions posed by illusion, where confusion and clarity often merge and where what we perceive can be hugely different from physical reality. Since the brain is responsible for interpreting what our senses are telling us, as well as what we dream and what we remember or forget, the real and imagined share the same neural system. So when we experience an illusion, we may sense something that is not present or fail to see something that is. By studying this disconnect between perception and reality, scientists can learn about brain function and its relevance to mental health, decision making and the way we view ourselves and others. Please join us for an evening that promises to reveal much about how the brain enables us to sense the world around us. The event included a performance by Alain Nu, an illusionist, about whom the Washington Post wrote, will leave “audiences asking, ‘How’d he do that?’ Following the performance, psychiatrist and author Richard Restak, and Stephen L. Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde, scientists who study various aspects of visual, sensory and cognitive neuroscience, discussed the science underlying what the audience had just experienced. 

Building for the Future: Celebrating the 5th Anniversary of the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition

Date: October 23, 2014

Join us in marking the 5th Anniversary of the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition, a network of scientific and engineering membership organizations, as well as dedicated individuals, that recognize a role for science and technology in human rights.The Coalition’s 5th anniversary is a significant milestone that offers an opportunity to reinforce the importance for scientists and engineers to engage in human rights by highlighting the ways that science and technology have made truly life-altering impacts on the lives and human rights of individuals, and paying tribute to scientists and engineers who have been leaders in bringing their skills and their voices to global human rights challenges. Presenters will include Kirk Bloodsworth, the first person in the United States to be sentenced to death who was subsequently exonerated courtesy of DNA analysis, and Juan Gallardo of Brookhaven National Laboratory, who will pay tribute to Andrew Sessler, an accelerator physicist and humanitarian in whose honor the AAAS-Andrew M. Sessler Science, Education, and Human Rights Fund has been created. Professional society staff, scientists and engineers are particularly welcome to attend, to learn about the accomplishments of the Coalition over the past five years, and explore how you can join the Coalition and contribute to its on-going impact.

Stressing About Stress--What Our Minds and Bodies are Going Through and Ways to Cope

Date: September 18, 2014

Feeling a bit stressed? If so, you’re not alone. Stress is very much a part of being human; even animals experience stress. A little stress can be a good thing, but how can you tell the good from the bad, and too little from too much?  Join us for an evening of the scientific and practical, as two scientists help us better understand what our mind and body experience—good and bad—when we encounter stressful situations. We will also learn about various “cures,” “treatments,” and coping mechanisms for dealing with stress and the extent to which they have been subjected to rigorous scientific research and which ones stand out among the others.

AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition: Moving Forward

Date: July 14-15, 2014

Since the launch of the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition in 2009, this growing network of science and engineering associations has collaborated to build bridges between science and technology organizations and the human rights community. The Coalition has created new human rights resources for science and engineering associations, tools for human rights organizations that seek to incorporate science and technology in their work, increased awareness of the opportunities for scientists and engineers to contribute to human rights, and advanced international discussions regarding the significance of the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications, as guaranteed in Article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The Coalition’s fifth anniversary provides an opportune moment to celebrate our progress and share the network’s accomplishments. At this time of reflection, it is also fitting to look toward the next five years, identify emerging challenges, and map out the Coalition’s next steps. Thus, to mark the anniversary, this meeting is organized around the connections between science and human rights that guide the Coalition’s working groups.

What Evidence is Essential for New Medical Products? Implications for Patients and Health Policy

Date: June 13, 2014

Better implementation of evidence-based medicine can improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of health care in the U.S. This can be challenging in evaluating newly approved drugs and medical devices.  While current law requires that medical products be proven safe and effective, there is growing pressure to expedite access to promising therapies and to lessen the research and regulatory requirements for manufacturers. Unmet medical needs and patient demands call for a flexible approach to prescription drug and device regulation, but truncated premarket review may also lead to approval of products that are less  effective than expected or have unanticipated safety problems. This groundbreaking conference will review the growing body of research on the medical and public health implications of medical product approval criteria, and examine these findings in the context of patient outcomes, costs, and health policy.

Educating Scientists in Research Ethics for the 21st Century 

Date: June 8-11, 2014

This is a trainer-of-trainers workshop. Leaders in the field of research ethics and education will provide attendees with information, strategies, and extensive curricular resources to help them offer training in research ethics at their institutions or within their professional societies. Workshop participants will learn interactive approaches for providing instruction that will engage and stimulate their audience. A variety of sessions will allow both novice and experienced instructors in research ethics to benefit.

AAAS Science & Human Rights Coalition: 2014 Student Essay Competition

Deadline: May 30, 2014

Undergraduate and graduate students are invited to participate in the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition Essay Competition. This essay competition was created to inspire students to explore connections between human rights and science, engineering and the health professions. Students may write on any topic at the intersection of science and/or technology with human rights.

Smells Delicious and Good to Eat: How Your Brain Distinguishes Tastes and Aromas

Date: May 6, 2014

We all like to eat, especially our favorite dishes. And we all like pleasant aromas, such as freshly picked flowers. Why is it that some foods taste better than others, and why do different people like or dislike different foods? How does it happen that certain aromas appeal to us, while others make us hold our noses? And how do taste and aroma interact with each other? Neuroscientists are leading the way in finding answers to those questions, and others are using knowledge gained from science to satisfy the human palate and sense of smell. Speakers include a neuroscientist from the Monell Institute, and experts in wine, food, and fragrance. We will learn how sommeliers choose and evaluate wines, how chefs create menus, and perfumers and others create fragrances that are appealing.Following the program, enjoy a special tasting reception and an interactive demonstration with perfumes to experience what you learned about taste and aroma.

Wake Up, I'm Speaking: The Neuroscience of Sleep and Dreaming 

Date: March 11, 2014

It seems that everybody, from comedians, to poets, to world leaders, have something to say about sleep. So why not scientists? Sleep, or the lack of it, is the focus of considerable research in the United States, where sleep disorders and sleep deprivation have been associated with poor cognitive performance, behavioral problems, accidents, ill health and other factors that adversely affect quality of life. When we do sleep, we also dream; in fact, during a typical lifetime, people spend an average of six years dreaming. In the past, dreams have been interpreted as omens of the future, representations of reality, and even divine messages from the gods. Nowadays, we tend to have slightly more rational views about dreams, but their significance and meaning remain a subject of debate in both science and public discourse. Speakers addressed what neuroscience research tells us about sleep, sleep disorders, the mechanisms and functions of dreaming, and the impact of sleep research on medicine and society.

Workshop on Responsible Professional Practices in a Changing Research Environment 

Date: February 13, 2014

The workshop was designed to assist research faculty in creating concrete, discipline-specific strategies to incorporate research ethics education into the context of the research environment, whether it be a lab or field work. The workshop was grounded in a recognition that many research ethics issues are relevant to the practice and application of science, from developing hypotheses and designing a protocol, to data management and analysis, to reporting findings and advising others on the uses of the work, and that integrating ethics instruction in the context of performing those various stages of research can be an effective strategy for educating future researchers. Participants will be introduced to rationales, content, approaches, tools, and resources to give them the means to develop and implement research ethics education in their research environment.

AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition: Disability Rights 

Date: January 27-28, 2014

The first day of the Coalition meeting provided participants an opportunity to deepen their knowledge about the ways in which the human rights of persons with disabilities intersect with science and engineering. Sessions addressed how access to science and technology can affect the rights of people with disabilities, both positively and negatively, and will explore challenges to fulfilling the right to participate in science and engineering as students, practitioners and as the subjects of research. The first annual student poster competition was also held during the meeting.