Bloggy recently crashed a meeting of The Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS). What is that, you ask? Okay, I never heard of it either but their website says they are a "growing grassroots network of universities, scientific societies, science centers and museums, government agencies, advocacy groups, media, schools, educators, businesses, and industry - basically, anyone who cares about science and is concerned about national scientific literacy."
Okay, I am in. After all, since we made it fashionable, science literacy has become the new Prius. They must be doing cutting edge stuff if they're having a meeting. But then I read, "COPUS and its participants lead the way in the celebration of the Year of Science 2009 (YoS09) ... " Errrr, cutting edge stuff does not involve updating the website, it seems.
But, as you see in the picture below, people were attending a meeting at Berkeley.
So we decided to make the drive into the exotic area we call "West of the 5".
Yes, me, a Republican 66% of the time, dared venture into Berkeley, knowing I could burst into flame ("Republican bursts into flame - Women, minorities impacted most" The Daily Californian headline might read) at any moment. You may not have heard of COPUS before either and that may be because (and this is not a knock, just an observation based on a lot of experience) the groups behind it, the American Institute of Biological Sciences, the Geological Society of America, the National Science Teachers Association, and the University of California Museum of Paleontology, do not actually do any science outreach. They are instead groups that represent some people who may or may not care about science outreach so they hold meetings about doing stuff, which does not excite researchers who already work in layers of bureaucracy - but in outreach especially a layer of bureaucracy adds a disconnect between people and science.
However, COPUS was at least smart enough to bring together a bunch of people doing science outreach and the gathering the evening before the meeting (to talk about science outreach in a practical, no-committees-involved sense) was terrific - as good a Who's Who as you are going to get in one place at one time.
Back row left to right: Michael Gold, author of A Conspiracy of Cells,key guy at too many science publications to list here, and co-founder of ScienceForCitizens.net. Larry Bock, who put on the outrageously successful San Diego Science Festival last year and is now going national with the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C later this year.
Front row left to right: Susan West, longtime media whiz and Editor-In-Chief of the new Afar Magazine, Darlene Cavalier, uber-advocate for science and everyone's favorite ScienceCheerleader, Danielle N. Lee of Urban Science Adventures and Paul Shin of CSU Northridge, the LA Science Cafe program and Renaissance Man of everything chemical (if the balloon ever goes up, I am standing behind him - he has all the protective gear)
So I signed us up for this COPUS thing a few days ago. They are bringing in people from all over the country to talk about improving science literacy and we can never have too much of that, though it's good plenty of us are just doing it without any meetings.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Sam Ting On AMS Results: Dark Matter Might Be One Seminar Away
- BICEP2's vision wasn't that strong, Planck says their window was too dusty.
- Quantum Teleportation 25 Kilometers Away
- Why Natural Gas, Including Fracking, Is Better For The Environment Than Wind And Solar
- Graphene Sensor Tracks Down Cancer Biomarkers
- 30 Years Left To Reach The Limit: CO2 Emissions Will Reach New Record High In 2014
- Vitriolic Abuse Of Anita Sarkeesian: Why The Games Industry Needs Her
- "We decided all questions ENVIRONMENTALLY CLEAN energy the future of humanity..."
- "0 about corruption in game journalism? 0 about #notyourshield? 0 about GameJournoPros group? Meh...."
- "The key word isThis is complete rubbish, we don't know the sensitivity of the climate to Co2, but..."
- "I don't mean to simulate evolution, but use genetic algorithm techniques to evolve your algorithms..."
- Neurons express 'gloss' using 3 perceptual parameters
- A two-generation lens: Current state policies fail to support families with young children
- Good bowel cleansing is key for high-quality colonoscopy
- New RFID technology helps robots find household objects
- Lack of thyroid hormone blocks hearing development