Stay tuned to current events.

Defending the Teaching of Evolution & Climate Science

posted May 8, 2012, 10:30 PM by Colin Cunliff   [ updated May 10, 2012, 9:10 PM ]

Defending the Teaching of Evolution & Climate Science
Guest Presenter:  Glenn Branch, Deputy Director
National Center for Science Education (
May 23, 7-9 PM
2205 Haring Hall, on the UC Davis Campus

Glenn Branch, Deputy Director for the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), will speak at UC Davis about recent legislative efforts to include teaching Intelligent Design/Creationism in public schools, and to distort the science behind climate change.

May Meetings!

posted Apr 27, 2012, 2:46 PM by Colin Cunliff

We've got the next three meetings scheduled, more to come.  All meetings are held
Fridays, 2-3pm
Phy 185

May 4
Climate Strategies in a time of Skeptics: How Belief and Denial Influence Climate Change Behavior
This talk explores how public opinion of climate change has changed over time, and compares opinion on climate change to other environmental issues.  We'll also examine how climate change belief actually influences behavior related to climate mitigation.

May 11
U.S. Policy on Avian Flu Research

May 18
Race and Ethics in Medical Research

Coming soon....
Evolution vs. Intelligent Design in public schools
Guest Presenter:  National Center for Science Education
Some time in late May

Debate over Fluoridation

posted Apr 9, 2012, 6:22 PM by UCD Science Policy

Date & Time: Friday, April 6, 2-3pm
Location: Physics 185
Source: the New York Times article In New Jersey, a Battle over a Fluoridation Bill, and the Facts
Download the flyer!

A bill in New Jersey to add fluoride to drinking water has generated enormous controversy and dozens of conspiracy theories.

Science Literacy & Public Attitudes

posted Feb 11, 2012, 2:59 PM by UCD Science Policy   [ updated Mar 1, 2012, 9:35 PM by Colin Cunliff ]

Friday, March 2, 1-2pm
Physics 185

How long does it take the Earth to go around the Sun? On a 2010 survey of the general public, only 52% correctly answered one year.  The same survey uncovered other interesting (disturbing?) results:  27% believe the Sun goes around the Earth; 53% believe that human beings did not develop from earlier animals.  In a True/False question, 51% of participants correctly answered that an electron is smaller than an atom.

This next meeting will explore scientific literacy and public attitudes toward science in light of two new reports on the relationship between science and economic competitiveness.  “Science and Engineering Indicators 2012,” is a 575-page report from the National Science Foundation measuring and characterizing R&D, education, workforce, academic, public attitudes and state data.  Also in the past month, the Commerce Department released “The Competitiveness and Innovative Capacity of the United States.”  The full reports are gargantuan and address a broad range of issues; however, we will focus only on those portions addressing scientific literacy and public attitudes.

Crime and Cognition

posted Jan 30, 2012, 11:21 PM by UCD Science Policy

Date & Time: Friday, February 3, 1-2pm
Location: Physics 185
Source: The Brain on Trial

Advances in brain science are calling into question the volition behind many criminal acts. Here we examine the implications that advances in our understanding of will and volition could have on our criminal-justice system.

GRANT Act and Research Works Act

posted Jan 23, 2012, 2:05 AM by UCD Science Policy

Date & Time: Friday, January 27, 1-2pm
Location: Physics 185

The Grant Reform and New Transparency (GRANT) Act would require disclosure of the name, title and employer of peer reviewers of all government grants, a substantial reversal from the anonymity traditional in the peer review process.  It also makes other changes to the grant application process which would affect all researchers receiving federal grants.  The Research Works Act would forbid federal agencies to do anything that would result in the sharing of privately published research—even if that research is done with the help of taxpayer dollars—unless the publisher of the work agrees first.

At this next meeting, we'll layout these two bills and how it affects your research.  Additionally, we'll help you take action and communicate your concerns to your representatives.

For bill summaries, including links to analyses and news coverage from other organizations, check out the bill fact sheets in the Resources section.

Yucca Mountain & storage of nuclear waste

posted Jan 17, 2012, 12:41 PM by UCD Science Policy

Date & Time: Friday, January 20, 1-2pm
Location: Physics 185

Source: excerpt from Physics for Future Presidents by Richard Muller
Abstract:  Yucca Mountain is the site Congress designated for long-term storage of nuclear waste from civil reactors.  Here we focus on the motivation for long-term storage at a deep underground site, as well as some of the basic elements of risk assessment in storage of spent nuclear fuel.

Additional sources:

Agenda Items - first meeting

posted Jan 9, 2012, 11:54 AM by UCD Science Policy

Partial list of agenda items.  Email me if you want to add an item to our agenda for this Friday.
  1. Legislative Updates - Of course we need to spend a few minutes discussing what's happened since we last met.  We'll go over the FYIs from the American Institute of Physics,
  2. Structure
    1. Meeting structure - last quarter, we decided to have formal presentations (by one of us) every other week, with informal gatherings in between.  Do we want to keep it the same?
    2. Location - should we keep this in the Physics Bldg, alternate with another location, or move to some more central location?
    3. other?  is the journal club format working?
  3. Content
    1. Meetings - let's start filling in future meetings with topics / presenters
    2. Public forum on peer review - we talked about organizing a public forum / round-table / panel discussion on H.R. 3433, the "Grant Reform and New Transparency Act", which would require public disclosure of peer reviewers (and their employment information) of government grants.  Read for more info.
    3. Interdisciplinary Graduate and Professional Student Symposium -- We should organize a panel discussion and/or talks -- great way to get more grad students interested.  Applications due by February 1.
Let me know what else to include!

First Meeting - this Friday!

posted Jan 7, 2010, 2:08 PM by UCD Science Policy   [ updated Jan 9, 2012, 11:09 AM ]

Our first meeting of the quarter is this Friday, January 13, 1-2 pm in Phy 185.  Our main agenda is to set the schedule for the remainder of the quarter.

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