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AAAS Pacific Division's Annual Meeting Kicks off 17 June in Riverside, California

News, Pacific Division, teaser, 12 Jun 2014

Jeffry Martin

Approximately 500 scientists, educators, students, and science enthusiasts from across the western United States are expected to gather next week in Riverside, Calif. for the 95th annual meeting of the AAAS Pacific Division.

The 17-20 June meeting on the campus of the University of California, Riverside will cover topics ranging from nature photography, to World War II anthropology, to 3-D printing. Climate change, the past history of life, the ecology and conservation in river networks, and the mechanisms of tumor progression and cancer therapy are also on the agenda along with a host of trending topics. The meeting's theme is "Innovation for a Changing World."

The program includes a robust set of workshops and symposia related to education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, including a presentation by Shirley Malcom, director of Education and Human Resources at AAAS. Roughly 145 students will give presentations about their research, and an awards banquet will recognize student winners of the AAAS Pacific Division's Awards for Excellence.

"The Pacific Division's annual meeting this year offers a diverse and extremely interesting assortment of symposia, workshops, public lectures, and technical presentations," said Roger Christianson, the executive director of the AAAS Pacific Division and a professor of biology at Southern Oregon University. "The UC Riverside venue is very well-suited for an interdisciplinary meeting such as this. We hope that by bringing together people from so many different fields, there will be a very rich exchange of ideas that fosters new avenues of research to better inform our world into the future."

The meeting is open to the public but registration is required for most events. Special hour-long lectures are free of cost and open to the public.  Taking place in the Highlander Union Building (HUB), they are:

  • "And Ever the Twain Shall Meet: An Exposé of Sexual Differences" by Daphne Fairbairn, a professor of biology, UC Riverside, in Room 302 S at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 17.
  • "Ecological Restoration and Post Natural Aesthetics" by Robert Louis Chianese, a professor emeritus of English at California State University, Northridge, in Room 355 at 12:15 p.m., Wednesday, June 18.
  • "Making Science Sing!" by Tim Griffin of Griffin Education Solutions, La Canada, Calif., in Room 268, 12:15 p.m., Wednesday, June 18.
  • "Two Revolutions: Copernicus and Darwin" by Francisco Ayala, University Professor and Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences at UC Irvine, in Room 302 S, 7 p.m., Wednesday, June 18. Ayala is a Nobel laureate as well as a past AAAS president.
  • "The Expanding Universe, Dark Matter and Dark Energy: The Three Greatest Discoveries in Cosmology" by Gillian Wilson, a professor of physics and astronomy at UC Riverside, in Room 269 at 12:15 p.m., Thursday, June 19.
  • "Currents Implicated in Cardiac Arrhythmia" by David Blackman, affiliated faculty member in mathematics at Southern Oregon University, in Room 268 at 12:15 p.m., Thursday, June 19.
  • "Higher Infinity and the Foundations of Mathematics" by Joel David Hamkins, a professor of mathematics at the City University of New York, in Room 260 at 12:15 p.m., Friday, June 20.

A panel discussion "Does Nature Photography Distort Environmental Realities?" is also open to the public at no charge. It will take place 8:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m., Friday, June 20, at the California Museum of Photography, 3834 Main Street, downtown Riverside.

Attendees at the meeting will have opportunities to embark on field trips aimed at showcasing Southern California's natural history highlights, the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens; the James San Jacinto Mountains Reserve; and the Ritual Brewing Company, Redlands

Other highlights of the meeting in the HUB:

Tuesday, June 17

  • Welcome reception, 7:30 p.m., Room 355.

Wednesday, June 18

  • The Importance of Citizen Science in Forming Scientific Communities from the Local to the National Level. 9 a.m.-noon, Room 268.
  • Should Science Reform the Humanities? 1:30 p.m.-5 p.m., Room 268.

Thursday, June 19

  • Promoting Deeper Learning in Middle Adolescence: Critical Connections and Implications for STEM Education. 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Room 269.
  • Genetics of Adaptation — From Spiders' Silk to Marathon Mice. 1:20 p.m.-5 p.m., Room 379.

Friday, June 20

  • California's World's Fairs: Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco, 1915; Panama-California Exposition, 1915-1916. 8:30 a.m.-noon, Room 367.
  • Climate Change Through the 20th and 21st Centuries. 1:25 p.m.-5 p.m., Room 379.
  • Applications of 3D Printing. 1:30 p.m., Room 268.

AAAS's four regional divisions — Pacific, Arctic, Caribbean, and Southwestern and Rocky Mountain (SWARM)— serve as regional networks for scientists, organizing meetings on regional issues and promoting publications from scientists active within the division.

The Pacific Division includes more than 30,000 AAAS members from California, Hawaii, Idaho, western Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta, and all other countries bordering or lying within the Pacific Basin, with the exception of mainland Mexico south to Panama. All AAAS members in good standing, and who reside or work within the specified boundaries of a regional division, are automatically included as members of that regional division.

[Adapted from a UC Riverside press release]