Announcing the Science in Society Film and Lecture Series at American University
Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. Nisbet studies the role of communication and advocacy in policymaking and public affairs, focusing on debates over over climate change, energy, and sustainability. Among awards and recognition, Nisbet has been a Visiting Shorenstein Fellow on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a Health Policy Investigator at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a Google Science Communication Fellow. In 2011, the editors at the journal Nature recommended Nisbet's research as “essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate change debate,” and the New Republic highlighted his work as a “fascinating dissection of the shortcomings of climate activism."
This semester at American University, the School of Communication has launched the inaugural Science in Society Film and Lecture series, an initiative designed to engage students, faculty, and the Washington, DC community in thought-provoking discussions about the many intersections among science, media, and public affairs.
The series opens with the following upcoming events. See link at bottom for directions to campus and a campus map.
MONDAY, JAN 31, 8PM
"The Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science, and Fear," interview of author Seth Mnookin by AU science journalism professor Declan Fahy, followed by Q&A and book signing.
Weschler Theater, 3rd Floor, Mary Graydon Hall. Co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences.
THURSDAY, FEB 17, 730PM
Screening of PBS series episode "The Human Spark," awarded the AAAS Science Journalism prize for in-depth TV reporting followed by panel discussion.
Weschler Theater, 3rd Floor, Mary Graydon Hall. Co-sponsored by the College of Arts & Sciences.
Screening will be followed by discussion of key issues related to media, communication, and the debate over the teaching of evolution with Larry Engel, AU film professor and Human Spark director; Eugenie Scott, Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education, and Jay Labov, Senior Advisor for Education and Communication at the National Academies. Discussion moderated by AU science communication professor Matthew Nisbet.
FRIDAY, FEB 25, 130PM
The Climate Fix: What Scientists and Politicians Won't Tell You About Global Warming, discussion by author Roger Pielke, Jr., Professor of Environmental Studies, University of Colorado-Boulder.
Location Founders Room, School of International Service. Co-sponsored by the Center for Environmental Policy, School of Public Affairs, the Department of Environmental Science, and the Global Environmental Politics program, School of International Service.
The world's response to climate change is deeply flawed. The conventional wisdom on how to deal with climate change has failed and it's time to change course. To date, climate policies have been guided by targets and timetables for emissions reduction derived from various academic exercises. Such methods are both oblivious to and in violation of on-the-ground political and technological realities that serve as practical "boundary conditions" for effective policy making. Until climate policies are designed with respect for these boundary conditions, failure is certain. Using nothing more than arithmetic and logical explanation, this talk provides a comprehensive exploration of the problem and a proposal for a more effective way forward.
It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.
- Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
- These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
- The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.
- Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
- Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
- Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.
- Octopuses, like humans, have genes that seem to code for serotonin transporters.
- Scientists gave MDMA to octopuses to see whether those genes translated into a binding site for serotonin, which regulates emotions and behavior in humans
- Octopuses, which are typically asocial creatures, seem to get friendlier while on MDMA, suggesting humans have more in common with the strange invertebrates than previously thought
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