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ASU faculty, students present at world’s largest science meeting

March 01, 2010

Arizona State University faculty and students were out in full force in San Diego at the 176th annual meeting of the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society. The meeting, held from February 18-22, serves to attract a diverse array of leading scientists, engineers, educators, and policymakers from all U.S. states and territories as well as more than 50 countries.

Among the crucial global challenges that were addressed by ASU faculty were topics that included: global pandemic threats, the future of urban planning, geoengineering and sustainable, to name a few. Brad Allenby, George Basile, Harvey Bryan, Carlos Castillo-Chavez, James Gee, David Guston and Armin Wiek were among the ASU faculty presenters.

Highlights of their topics, as well as links to an expanded story for each presentation include:

Brad Allenby: Allenby discussed his ideas on how to effectively confront climate change challenges, and how to transform engineering education to better prepare students for meeting the world’s technological needs in the 21st century.

George Basile: The main message of Basile’s talk was to illustrate that despite the prevailing evidence on the profound impact human activity has had on the Earth’s natural systems and climate change, society is still in its infancy in regards to being able to make informed, sustainable decisions.

Harvey Bryan: Bryan presented several possible strategies a city could use to help it fight urban heat island (UHI), from our choice of construction materials to smarter use of landscaping.

Carlos Castillo-Chavez: Chavez covered the influenza surveillance mechanisms that were put in place in Mexico during the fast-spreading H1N1 outbreak in 2009, and concluded that the infrastructure response was not adequate enough to quickly identify the emergence of this novel strain.

James Gee: Gee outlined the ways that that video games can used to optimize learning and education, particularly in major educational challenges such as learning mathematics and literacy.

David Guston: director, Center for Nanotechnology in Society (CNS-ASU)- Guston presented the latest research results of CNS-ASU. CNS-ASU implements an agenda of “real-time technology assessment” (RTTA) in pursuit of a strategic vision of the “anticipatory governance” of nanotechnologies.

Armin Wiek: Wiek outlined his multifaceted, transformative agenda in sustainability science, which pursues the question of how research between scientists and non-academic partners is best initiated, facilitated and institutionalized to create and implement sustainability solutions.

In addition to the research talks, five faculty members of Arizona State University were honored as part of the 531 newly elected AAAS Class of 2010 Fellows. ASU faculty Metin Akay, Manfred Laubichler, Jerry Y.S. Lin, Julie Luft and Willem F.J. Vermaas were recognized Feb. 20 at the Fellows forum, during the AAAS annual meeting. This year’s election brings the total number of AAAS Fellows at Arizona State University to 59. Becoming a Fellow is in recognition of efforts toward advancing science applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished. Within that general framework, each awardee is honored for contributions to a specific field.

ASU’s Center for Biology and Society also sent a set of 12 outstanding students to the meeting. The students participated in the AAAS Student Poster Sessions. The topics ranged from molecular biology to history of science and all kinds of compelling topics in between. ASU Alum, Melanie Hunter, also served as the AAAS Volunteer Coordinator and organized all of the session aides for the meeting. The center and the Barrett Honors College have been sending students to AAAS since 1998.