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Biophysical Society to host discussions on the teaching of evolution and on the energy crisis

The Biophysical Society is pleased to announce that it will host two public affairs sessions during its Joint Meeting with the International Biophysics Congress in Long Beach, California, February 2-6, 2008. The special sessions complement the scientific talks and poster sessions that take place during the five day event and will give scientists the opportunity to discuss current policy issues facing our nation. The first session will focus on the energy crisis and the role of basic research in addressing that crisis. The second session will focus on the role of professional scientists in the debate over teaching evolution and Intelligent Design in K-12 science classrooms.

Biophysics and the Energy Crisis: What We are Doing, What We Can Do, and How
Sunday, February 3, 2:30-4:00 pm, Long Beach Convention Center

As the supply of global oil decreases, the concern and fear amongst oil-dependent nations continues to mount. In December, Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. To reduce the United States dependence on oil, the law sets a national fuel economy standard of 35 miles per gallon by 2020, and sets a mandatory renewable fuel standard for 2022. Basic research related to alternative fuel sources is an integral part of reaching that goal. In this session, speakers will provide an overview of current U.S. policys regarding energy will be provided. In addition, the role that biophysics research maintains in the quest for cost-effective alternative fuel supplies (from fuel cell-hydrogen technology to biodiesel) will be discussed. Speakers include James Allen, a professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Arizona State University, Elias Greenbaum a Fellow at the Oakridge National Lab, and Nathan S. Lewis, a professor of Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology.

The Teaching of Evolution: Weighing in as a Professional Scientist
Tuesday, February 5, 1-3pm, Long Beach Convention Center

The study of evolution is a paragon of how the scientific process works: formulating a testable question, planning and carrying out an experiment, and interpreting results to provide evidence. From small changes in gene frequency to the emergence of different species from a common ancestor over many generations, the theory of evolution is the basis for the diversity of life.

A theory which has been tested and confirmed thousands of times for over 150 years, the basic concepts and processes of evolution are no longer questioned by scientists. Yet, the teaching of evolution remains controversial in the general public. How can scientists engage in a debate with those who view evolution with suspicion and disbelief" Following last years successful session that provided an overview on the current state and local level fights over the teaching of evolution in K-12 science classrooms, this years event will examine ways individual scientists can weigh in on the debate. Speakers include Eugenie Scott, the Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education, Francisco J. Ayala, a professor at UC-Irvine and Chairman of the Steering Committee on Science and Creationism at the National Academy of Science, and Michael Paul Myers, an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry, Chemistry and Biochemistry and Chemistry Department Advisor at California State University, Long Beach.


Contact: Ellen R. Weiss
Biophysical Society

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