Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Cafe Scientifique - Arlington

WHAT: Biological Interaction of African Apes, Monkeys and Plants in Rainforest

WHEN: Tuesday, May 6th — 6:30-8:00PM

WHERE: The Front Page Restaurant, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA,
Located near Ballston Metro on the ground floor of the NSF building. Parking is available under the NSF building or at Ballston Common Mall.

WHO: Dr. Joanna Lambert, Program Director, Physical Anthropology National Science Foundation

HOW: Short presentation, followed by Q&A (Come early to purchase a drink or a meal if you so desire)

No science background required! Free and open to the public
Register online here!

ABOUT THE TOPIC: The monkeys and apes of the Old World are our closest living relatives and also play ecological roles that are critical for forest maintenance and health. As scientists, we are only now beginning to appreciate the significance of primates as members of ecological communities; tragically, this understanding cannot keep pace with the rate of their decline. The monkey and ape species of Africa, in particular, are undergoing precipitous declines as a consequence of the voracious commercial bushmeat trade. In this discussion, you will learn just how important monkeys and apes are to the plants upon which they rely, and the implications of their decline and loss upon the humans that live in and around these same forests.

ABOUT THE CONCEPT: Cafe Scientifique flourished first in the U.K. (see as a way for the public and scientists to mingle and discuss science issues in an informal setting. At least 35 cafés now exist in the U.S.

ABOUT THIS CAFE: The Ballston Science and Technology Alliance, a nonprofit organization, is the sponsor of Café Scientifique Arlington. Since April 2006, the goal of Café Scientifique has been to make science more accessible and accountable by featuring speakers whose expertise spans the sciences and who can talk in plain English. Café is generally held each month on the first Tuesday, at the Front Page in Arlington.

COMING NEXT MONTH: Dr. Martin Lowery, Executive Vice President, External Affairs, speaking on "Keeping the Lights On and Holding costs as low as possible"
Tuesday, June 3.

For more information contact Kaye Breen, or visit
Read more!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Stephen Hawking's Lecture

Today, I attended one of those memorable once-in-a-lifetime events- Prof. Stephen Hawking's lecture titled "Why We Should Go Into Space" to commemorate NASA's 50th birthday! It was organized by NASA and co-sponsored by Lockheed Martin and our very own Space Policy Institute ( at the Media & Public Affairs building on GW campus. Dr. John Logsdon opened the proceedings followed by Dr.Steven Knapp, President, GWU.

After introductory remarks, Prof. Stephen Hawking came on stage and gave his lecture. It was interspersed by his daughter, Lucy Hawking's speech on "The Importance of Science Education". Together, they wrote a children's book titled "George's Secret Key to the Universe", to explain physics, time, planets and black-holes, in other words- the universe, to not only educate and entertain children, but also to raise their curiosity and interest in the sciences.

Dr.Hawking contrasted the funding for NASA back in 1960s to present day and concluded the 'huge' increase needed to fund manned or 'personned' mission to the Moon, Mars and Titan (Saturn's moon) would only be a half-a-percent increase in the global GDP- worth our future survival! He compared space exploration to Columbus's expedition and suggested the skepticism in both cases was similar and somewhat unfounded, considering the potential benefits.

The reason for aliens not getting in touch with us, he postulated, was due to three possibilities - a) low probability of life in general or b) low probability of intelligent life (intelligence does not necessarily provide a survival advantage, ex: bacteria & viruses) or c) high probability of primitive life (not intelligent enough).

Earth's distance from the sun has made it ripe for life, but since the rate of human development has been steadily increasing over the past 10,000 years, Prof. Hawking concludes that now is the time to go where no one has gone before!

Following the talk was a reception and I found myself standing close to Prof. Hawking and it was a humbling experience- a frail man with a beautiful mind!
Read more!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Biomedical S&T Policy and Ethics

This part of the blog will focus on Programs, Courses, Organizations, Funding & Job Databases, and Events pertinent to Biomedical S&T Policy and Ethics. Please check back for regular updates.

Programs & Courses:
To be updated...

Below is a selected list of research centers and professional organizations/societies/groups, one could get more information from and/or become a member of, with potential internship and employment opportunities.

Alden March Bioethics Institute (AMBI) @ Albany Medical College
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH)
Aspen Institute
Berman Institute of Bioethics @ Johns Hopkins
Brookings Institute
Center for Genetic research, Ethics & Law (CGREAL) @ Case Western Reserve
Center for Bioethics @ Columbia
Center for Bioethics @ UPenn
Center for Biomedical Ethics & Society @ Vanderbilt
Center for Ethics @ Harvard
Center for Genetics and Society
Center for Science, Technology & Economic Development (CSTED) @ SRI
Center for Scientific Review (CSR) @ NIH
Center for Society & Genetics @ UCLA
Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes
Department of Bioethics @ NIH
Department of Science & Technology Studies (STS) @ Cornell
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB)
Fogarty International Center @ NIH
Ford School of Public Policy @ UMichigan
Foundation For the Future
Fulbright Visiting Scholars Program
Genetics & Public Policy Center
Global Health Council
Hastings Center
International Council for Science (ICSU)
Institute for Bioethics, Health Policy and Law @ ULouisville
Institute for Genome Science & Policy @ Duke
Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research (IHHCPAR) @ Rutgers
Institute of International Education (IIE)
Institute on Biotechnology & the Human Future (IBHF) @ Illinois Institute of Technology
Joint Steering Committee for Public Policy (JSC)
Kaiser Family Foundation
Kennedy Institute of Ethics @ Georgetown
Medical Humanities and Bioethics Program @ Northwestern
National Academies of Sciences (NAS)
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Office of Science Policy Analysis (OSPA)
Potomac Institute for Policy Studies
Science Service
Science, Technology and Society (STS) @ UTexas-Austin
Sense About Science
Social & Human Sciences @ UNESCO
Society for Neuroscience (SfN)
Student Pugwash USA (SPUSA)
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
Washington Science Policy Alliance (WSPA)
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
World Health Organization (WHO)

Funding & Job Databases:

Below are links to websites that maintain a comprehensive funding (fellowships, assistantships, travel grants etc) and employment that could be part-time/full-time/summer jobs in government/industry/non-profit/academia both on domestic and international fronts.

AAAS Career Center
Ethics Web
Global Health Council
GrantsNet @ Science Careers
Kaiser Family Foundation
National Academies of Sciences (NAS)
Nature Jobs
Public Service Careers
Science Careers
Science & Development Network
Science & Engineering Jobs

To be updated... Read more!

Friday, April 11, 2008

SISTP Events Calendar

It's almost impossible to keep up with all of the S&T events of interest in DC (and elsewhere)...but we're trying. On the right hand side of this site, you'll see the SISTP calendar of events. We'll be keeping this as up to date as possible. Be sure to refer to the calendar frequently, as we are adding events almost daily.

Recent additions include SISTP's upcoming informal discussion with Usha Balakrishnan, the founder of CARTHA and the Technology Managers for Global Health network. She'll be joining us at the Center on April 23, 2008 from 3-5pm.

Also, the American Chemical Society's Science and the Congress Project, with the Society for Toxicology, and the Society for Risk Analysis are hosting a luncheon on Congress' role in Nanotechnology on April 18, 2008.

If you know of events you'd like to share or list-serves we should subscribe to, please let us know at sistp.gwu (at) gmail (dot) com

You can also add this calendar to your google calendar by searching for 'SISTP Events' in google's public calendars.
A big thank you to Jon Camfield for setting up this feature! (and this site in general!)
Read more!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Networking with the Bigshots

Throughout our professional careers, we will often be told that networking is key: the key to information we need, the key to a job we want, etc.

The Economist offers up some tips and tricks about how to go about this daunting task, especially when you find yourself at large international gatherings. For example, when schmoozing with the adviser to the bigshots at the hotel bar, "Don’t express your own opinions on hot topics until you have a rough idea of what your new friend thinks. Express amazement and gratitude at even the most trivial insight in the hope of getting something better. If stuck with a bore or a nonentity, grasp your phone and pretend to take a non-existent call."

The witty, and probably quite realistic, post can be found here:
Read more!

Internship Opportunity: Center for Technology and National Security Policy at National Defense University

"Summer 2008 Student Internship announcements are now on USAJobs and close on April 17th. Currently enrolled students who are looking for a paid internship at the Center for Technology and National Security Policy should apply for the "Research Assistant" positions listed and state a desire to work for CTNSP; graduate students should apply for the GS-5 level. The job description clearly states that it is a temporary position under the Student Temporary Employment Program.

The link to USAJobs can be found here: " Read more!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Got something to share?

SISTP wants to hear from you! It is impossible for us to keep up with all of the publications, events, and groundbreaking ideas surrounding the world of S&T Policy.

Have you read a report that we should know about? Want to write or comment on it?
Is there an event we should attend?
Has a new journal started publication?
Know of a job or internship vacancy?
Want to highlight a project your organization is working on?
Is there a call for papers or abstracts to which we should submit?

Let us know! email: sistp.gwu (at) gmail (dot) com Read more!

A National Innovation Foundation?

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation and the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program are calling for a National Innovation Foundation. Want to find out more? Join Brookings, the Council on Competitiveness and the ITIF as they release a report calling for an NIF.

"On April 22, 2008, from 8:30 – 10:00 a.m. ITIF, MPP and the Council on Competitiveness will host a briefing. The event will preview two major new reports on federal economic policy: “Boosting Productivity, Innovation, and Growth Through a National Innovation Foundation,” by ITIF President Robert Atkinson and Howard Wial, a Brookings economist; and “Clusters for Competitiveness: A New Federal Role for Stimulating Regional Economies,” by venture capitalist Karen Mills; Liz Reynolds, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology doctoral student; and Andrew Reamer, a fellow at Brookings.

MPP Director Bruce Katz, along with Council president, Deborah Wince-Smith, will open the briefing with an overview of the innovation policy landscape. Atkinson, Wial, and Mills will follow by offering an overview of the two reports’ findings and policy recommendations. Following that Randall Kempner, vice president, regional innovation at the Council on Competitiveness, will moderate a discussion of the proposals with Ron Blackwell, chief economist, AFL-CIO; Emily DeRocco, president, National Center for the American Workforce, National Association of Manufacturers; Ernest Dianastasis, managing director, CAI, Inc.; and Ray Sheppach, executive director, National Governors Association. Time for questions and answers from attendees will round out the morning."

Please RSVP to Kathleen Kruczlnicki at 202.797.6319 or

What: Event to Release Report Calling for a National Innovation Foundation

When: Tuesday, April 22 – 8:30 – 10:00 am (buffet breakfast available at 8:00 a.m.)

Where: The National Press Club (529 14th Street, NW) in Washington, D.C. Read more!

Science and Technology Working for the Environment

CISTP students have been invited to attend a panel presentation on 'science and technology working for the environment' in recognition of Earth Day, April 22, 2008. The event is being hosted by the U.S. Department of State.
Each university invited to the event is limited to 20-25 attendees, so rsvp as soon as possible to ensure your participation.

Undersecretary Paula Dobriansky will begin with opening remarks and Assistant Secretary Claudia A. McMurray will introduce the panelists. The panelists include Fernando Echavarria on GIS and Urban Planning, Bill Gibbons-Fly on turtle exclusion devices, James Tucker on remote sensing and infectious diseases, and Robert Rudnitsky on Nanotechnology Applications. Nina Federoff will give brief remarks and there will be a Q&A with each panelist.

The event takes place Tuesday, April 22, 2008 from 10am to 11:30am at the Department of State. More information and registration details can be found here Read more!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Event: Natural Security: A New Perspective on International Security

The AAAS Center for Science, Technology and Security Policy is hosting this upcoming event on Natural Security.

Natural Security: A New Perspective on International Security

April 10, 2008
AAAS Auditorium
1200 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20005

Registration and Light Refreshments 4:00 PM
Presentations and Discussion 4:30-6:00 PM

Ellen Laipson, President and CEO Henry L. Stimson Center
Raphael D. Sagarin, Assistant Research Professor Duke University

In this globalized world, international security has become exceedingly complex, involving terrorism, sectarian wars, territorial struggles, space competition, natural disasters, and nuclear and biological weapons. Economic development, health and disease, and poverty are also elements that affect national and international security, complicating life for policymakers in search of a secure world. From observations of nature and studies in evolutionary biology, Dr. Sagarin has drawn some intriguing conclusions that he suggests may have applications to security in human society. Biological organisms have been developing and adapting novel solutions to myriad threats for their own security for over 3.5 billion years. Across that immense span, literally millions of natural features have emerged that keep organisms safe against a broad range of threats. But can we find answers to our own security challenges from the lessons of nature?

With an introduction to the broad range of security threats facing the world today, Ms. Laipson will set the stage for an outside-the-box discussion on how evolutionary biology can inform our current security debates. Dr. Sagarin will discuss this fascinating subject from the multiple perspectives presented in his recent book, Natural Security: A Darwinian Approach to a Dangerous World (co-editors, Raphael Sagarin and Terence Taylor; Ms. Laipson and Dr. Sagarin will entertain questions from the audience following the talks. We also hope to have copies of the book available for sale. RSVP to Read more!

Event: The 33rd Annual AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy

If ever attended the AAAS Annual Forum on S&T Policy, you know that the event is attended by the movers and shakers of S&T policy and debates often ensue regarding the future of funding and policy related to a wide range of S&T issues. If you've never been, check out the below topics and consider the conference this year. This year, S&T policy in the upcoming elections and for the next administration is a key topic to be discussed during the forum and was also the topic of SISTP's first journal club meeting.

The annual AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy is the conference for people interested in public policy issues facing the science, engineering, and higher education communities. Since 1976, it has been the place where insiders go to learn what is happening and what is likely to happen in the coming year on the federal budget and the growing number of policy issues that affect researchers and their institutions. Come to the Forum, learn about the future of S&T policy, and meet the people who will shape it. The next S&T Policy Forum will be 8-9 May 2008 at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center in Washington, DC.

The program will include:

Keynote address by President's science advisor, Director, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Overview of FY 2009 federal research and development (R&D) budget proposals.

Major sessions on:

- The budgetary and policy context for R&D in FY 2009, including congressional treatment of R&D budgets, and a discussion of what kind of world science and technology will face - and help create - in the 21st century
- New models for funding science
- Science & Technology, the 2008 election, and beyond
- Human enhancement: promise and/or threat?
- Advocacy in science: what is the proper role?
- Science and the new media

The William D. Carey Lecture, an invited address by a notable figure in S&T - Lewis Branscomb, Harvard University

Reception Thursday evening, and meal functions featuring distinguished speakers (luncheons Thursday (John Kao, author of Innovation Nation) and Friday; breakfast Friday (speakers to be announced))

For more information and to register, please go to:

Note: There is a cost to attend this event, there is a student discount, CISTP may be able to support student attendance. Read more!

Events: Innovation Nation: Collaboration and Competition in a Globalised World

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the British Embassy cordially invite you to a public lecture by:
Rt. Hon. John Denham, Secretary of State, Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills, United Kingdom

"Innovation Nation: Collaboration and Competition in a Globalised World"

Monday, April 21, 2008 4:30 PM, reception to follow
AAAS Auditorium
1200 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20005
RSVP by noon on Wednesday, April 16, 2008 to Ms. Linda Stroud (

You can also sign up for the Washington Science Policy Alliance Seminars are other events here: Read more!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Journal Club: Alternative Energies - Ethanol

As spring draws near, we'll start planning road trips and cranking up the ACs. So what better time than now to discuss alternative energy/fuels?

The next SISTP journal club will take place on Friday, April 11, 2008 from 6pm-7:30pm.
We'll discuss alternative energies, specifically ethanol. This will be the last JC of the spring semester, however, there has already been expressed interest on keeping the JCs going over the summer months. We'll keep you posted on summertime JCs.

We'll meet in room 403 of the Elliott School (1957 E Street, NW).

Below are the links to the four articles (3 scholarly and 1 media), which various members have suggested for the discussion. All of the links enable you to download the articles for free.

Fuel Ethanol from Cellulosic Biomass

Challenge of biofuel: filling the tank without emptying the stomach?

Forget the ethanol myth - avoid the biofuel bubble

Gasohol: Does it or doesn't it produce positive net energy?;206/4420/789 Read more!