Tagged: Science

Jon White, president and CEO of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership in Washington, D. C. (Credit: Randy Showstack)

Scientists Ponder The Way Forward Under Incoming Administration

The recent U.S. presidential election loomed large last week at the world’s largest annual gathering of Earth and space scientists, the American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) Fall Meeting in San Francisco, Calif. When Eos asked some of the more than 20,000 scientists at the meeting what they thought the election’s outcome means for the Earth and space sciences, we heard a wide range of responses, from dismissal of the election’s importance to deep concern.

Both the House and Senate have passed the the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (S. 3084). The bill will soon be sent to the President's desk for President Obama to sign into law. (Credit: Pete Souza/The White House)

Conferenced American Innovation and Competitiveness Act Lands On The President’s Desk

While students around the country were recalling organic chemistry processes and physics formulas during their end-of-semester exams last Friday, Congress was also at work. Following in the Senate’s footsteps, the House passed the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (S. 3084), a reauthorization of the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology Education and Science Act of 2007, or America COMPETES, which was last reauthorized in 2010. The 2016 bill outlines policies for the National Science Foundation (NSF); the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); and other federal science and innovation programs, including science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education programs.

Dr. William Easterling will lead the Geosciences Directorate at the National Science Foundation starting in June 2017. (Credit: NSF)

Geography And Earth Systems Expert Will Head NSF’s Geosciences Directorate

Dr. France Córdova, director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), selected Dr. William E. Easterling to lead NSF’s Directorate for Geosciences. The Directorate supports basic research to advance knowledge and innovation in atmospheric, earth, ocean, and polar sciences, providing over 60 percent of federal funding for basic research in the geosciences at academic institutions across the country.

The STEM Education Coalition discussed the current climate of STEM education for K-12 students. (Credit: opensource.com/Flickr)

Strengthening STEM Education Is Crucial for American Prosperity

Instead of sitting quietly at a desk with a pencil and notebook, schoolchildren are now encouraged to explore virtual ecosystems through an online game, build their own website, or propose and conduct an experiment. Technology and innovation are helping education become more interactive, engaging, creative, and hands-on in the 21st century, and improving literacy in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) has become increasing important to prepare the next generation of America’s workforce.

(Click to enlarge) The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a hearing to examine federally-funded science research at universities  (Credit: Dennis Tang/Flickr)

U.S. Geological Survey Defends Its Scientific Integrity

A ‘Steps of the Scientific Method’ poster hangs in a middle school science lab. Students quickly learn that during the ‘results’ stage, if the outcome is not what you expect, you cannot just go back and change the data. This principle is taught from the very beginning of science education, but a Department of Interior (DOI) Scientific Integrity Review Panel found that a few employees at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) failed to adhere to this while collecting data from a mass spectrometer at the Energy Resources Program (ERP) Geochemistry Laboratory in Colorado.

The EPA and its regulations that protect human and environmental health are under scrutiny. (Credit: Peter Kratochvil/PublicDomainPictures.net)

Groups Urge Trump To Appoint Science Adviser

The leaders of 29 science organizations are urging President-elect Donald Trump to meet with them and quickly appoint a science adviser. Signers of the new Trump letter include most major science groups, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science and American Geophysical Union. Appointment of an adviser would help the president-elect analyze effective ways to use science and technology to address national challenges, the leaders said.

An Argo float is deployed in the Southern Ocean. (Credit: Hannes Grobe/AWI)

Experts Agree: Tackle Obstructions to Ocean Observing

A teacher in Boise checks his weather app and packs an umbrella while a Miami businesswoman decides to work from home because the local news announces her usual route to work is flooded. What do these two have in common? The information they rely on for their daily activities depends on observational data from the ocean. Some ocean observations provide real-time results, but others must be continuously collected for years before significant patterns and changes can be detected and analyzed. Due to the vital importance of observing systems to the benefit of our nation’s economy, national security, and scientific enterprise, the National Academy of Science’s Ocean Studies Board ad hoc observations committee held a two-day workshop to hear expert opinions on ocean observation systems as they draft a report prioritizing imperative ocean variables for climate research.

National Science Board sets priorities for the National Science Foundation (Credit: NSF)

NSF Meeting Highlights Accomplishments and Progress

What do that MRI you had after damaging your knee while running, knowing whether to bring an umbrella to work, and antifreeze in Antarctic fish have in common?MRIs, the Doppler radar, and the identification of “antifreeze” glycoproteins in Antarctic fish were made possible through research funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). In addition to its 66-year history of promoting scientific progress, the NSF funds 24 percent of federally-supported research at colleges and universities across the nation. The 24-member National Science Board (NSB) leads NSF and meets five times per year, most recently on November 8 and 9. NSF Director Dr. France Córdova opened the meeting by touting some of the agency’s monumental successes in 2016, including six NSF-supported scientists winning Nobel Prizes and 213 teachers being awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

Southwest view of the Pentagon with the Potomac River and Washington Monument in background (1998). (Credit: Master Sgt. Ken Hammond, U.S. Air Force/ Wikimedia Commons)

Carter Creates New Department of Defense Post: Chief Innovation Officer

With only a few months left before his tenure as Defense secretary expires, Ashton Carter took one more step to drive home his oft-repeated point that the the Pentagon needs more “innovation” in its bloodstream, in case anyone has failed to take notice so far. On Friday, Carter ordered the establishment a new senior office within the Pentagon: the DoD Chief Innovation Officer. Its creation was first suggested by members of the Defense Innovation Board he created earlier this year, preceded by his standup of the Defense Innovation Unit-Experimental(DIUx).