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In Washington, Researchers Seek Science Without “Silos”

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Some of the most compelling scientific work of the 21st century depends on researchers who seek inspiration and partnerships across disciplines and national borders. It’s an approach that Frances H. Arnold, a plenary speaker at the 2011 AAAS Annual Meeting, uses when she combines mechanical engineering, chemistry, and evolutionary biology to design new enzymes for medical and energy research. It’s also the driving force behind the work of Colin Phillips, one of the meeting’s topical speakers, who employs computer science, anthropology, and neuroscience in his studies of human grammar.

Under the banner “Science Without Borders,” Arnold, Phillips, and scientists and engineers from more than 50 countries will convene from 17 to 21 February at the 177th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. Their innovative projects “cross conventional borders or break out from silos, especially in groundbreaking areas of research,” said AAAS President Alice S. Huang. The program will also highlight the international nature of scientific collaborations, said Huang, who has consulted on science policy for government agencies in China, Taiwan, and Singapore.

The 2011 meeting will continue AAAS’s tradition of boundary-crossing science, featuring multi-disciplinary research on oceans, human health, sustainability, and next-generation engineering. Special events include seminars on neuroscience and robotics, molecular machines, the search for Earth-like planets, and a plenary panel on emerging issues in biosecurity.

For registration and other information about the 2011 Annual Meeting, see www.aaas.org/meetings. Information from the D.C. gathering will also be posted at the Annual Meeting News site at http://news.aaas.org, at the 2011 AAAS Annual Meeting and ScienceNOW pages on Facebook, and on Twitter at #AAASmtg.