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Popular regional science meeting to bring hundreds of scientists to UC Riverside

RIVERSIDE, Calif. The 95th annual meeting of the Pacific Division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) will take place at University of California, Riverside for only the second time in the past 50 years. The meeting, a popular gathering of scientists from the western states in the country, is a four-day event: June 17-20, 2014. Approximately 500 scientists from nearly 30 research institutions are expected to attend the meeting organized loosely around the theme "Innovation for a Changing World."

"UC Riverside is going to host one of the most popular regional science meetings in the country," said Richard Cardullo, a professor of biology at UC Riverside and the president of the AAAS Pacific Division. "There will be four stimulating days for the region on cutting-edge research. Given our central location in Southern California, we're expecting a high turnout, and looking forward to many presentations on exciting discoveries."

The four-day meeting will cover topics ranging from nature photography to World War II anthropology to 3D printing. Climate change, the past history of life, the ecology and conservation in river networks and the mechanisms of tumor progression and cancer therapy are also on the agenda along with a host of trending topics. A full program of the meeting can be found here.

"The Pacific Division's annual meeting this year offers a diverse and extremely interesting assortment of symposia, workshops, public lectures, and technical presentations," said Roger Christianson, the executive director of the AAAS Pacific Division and a professor of biology at Southern Oregon University. "The UC Riverside venue is very well-suited for an interdisciplinary meeting such as this. We hope that by bringing together people from so many different fields, there will be a very rich exchange of ideas that fosters new avenues of research to better inform our world into the future."

The meeting is open to the public but registration is required for most events. Registration costs vary. Reporters interested in covering all or part of the conference can attend at no charge; they must register for the meeting, however, either at the link above or on-site.

Special hour-long lectures are free of cost and open to the public. Taking place in the Highlander Union Building (HUB), they are:

  • "And Ever the Twain Shall Meet: An Expos of Sexual Differences" by Daphne Fairbairn, a professor of biology, UC Riverside, in Room 302 S at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 17.
  • "Ecological Restoration and Post Natural Aesthetics" by Robert Louis Chianese, a professor emeritus of English at California State University, Northridge, in Room 355 at 12:15 p.m., Wednesday, June 18.
  • "Making Science Sing!" by Tim Griffin of Griffin Education Solutions, La Canada, Calif., in Room 268, 12:15 p.m., Wednesday, June 18.
  • "Two Revolutions: Copernicus and Darwin" by Francisco Ayala, University Professor and Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences at UC Irvine, in Room 302 S, 7 p.m., Wednesday, June 18.
  • "The Expanding Universe, Dark Matter and Dark Energy: The Three Greatest Discoveries in Cosmology" by Gillian Wilson, a professor of physics and astronomy at UC Riverside, in Room 269 at 12:15 p.m., Thursday, June 19.
  • "Currents Implicated in Cardiac Arrhythmia" by David Blackman, affiliated faculty member in mathematics at Southern Oregon University, in Room 268 at 12:15 p.m., Thursday, June 19.
  • "Higher Infinity and the Foundations of Mathematics" by Joel David Hamkins, a professor of mathematics at the City University of New York, in Room 260 at 12:15 p.m., Friday, June 20.

A panel discussion "Does Nature Photography Distort Environmental Realities?" is also open to the public at no charge. It will take place 8:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m., Friday, June 20, at the California Museum of Photography, 3834 Main Street, downtown Riverside.

The meeting will also host special workshops and symposia aimed at boosting STEM education. Oral presentations by researchers will include the history and philosophy of science; science and the arts and humanities; engineering technology and general science; evolution; and atmospheric and hydrospheric sciences. A good number of research projects will be on display through poster presentations.

Attendees at the meeting will have opportunities to embark on field trips aimed at showcasing Southern California's natural history highlights, the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens; the James San Jacinto Mountains Reserve; and the Ritual Brewing Company, Redlands. More information about these trips and their costs, as well as UCR campus tours, can be found here.

Other highlights of the meeting in the HUB:

Tuesday, June 17

  • Welcome reception, 7:30 p.m., Room 355.

Wednesday, June 18

  • The Importance of Citizen Science in Forming Scientific Communities from the Local to the National Level. 9 a.m.-noon, Room 268.
  • Should Science Reform the Humanities? 1:30 p.m.-5 p.m., Room 268.

Thursday, June 19

  • Promoting Deeper Learning in Middle Adolescence: Critical Connections and Implications for STEM Education. 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Room 269.
  • Genetics of AdaptationFrom Spiders' Silk to Marathon Mice. 1:20 p.m.-5 p.m., Room 379.

Friday, June 20

  • California's World's Fairs: Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco, 1915; Panama-California Exposition, 1915-1916. 8:30 a.m.-noon, Room 367.
  • Climate Change Through the 20th and 21st Centuries. 1:25 p.m.-5 p.m., Room 379.
  • Applications of 3D Printing. 1:30 p.m., Room 268.

AAAS has four regional divisionsPacific, Arctic, Caribbean and Southwestern and Rocky Mountain (SWARM). Each division serves as a regional network for scientists, and organizes meetings on regional issues.

The Pacific Division, the oldest of the four AAAS regional divisions, includes more than 30,000 AAAS members from California, Hawaii, Idaho, western Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta, and all other countries bordering or lying within the Pacific Basin, with the exception of mainland Mexico south to Panama. The division strives to increase public understanding and appreciation of science, and fosters science education. The last time its annual meeting took place at UCR was in 1965.

Although the meeting next week is the 95th annual meeting of the AAAS Pacific Division, it is the 100th anniversary of the decision to form a division within AAAS (a few years of meetings were lost during World War I and World War II). In addition to AAAS, both the Northwest and Southwest chapters of the scientific research society Sigma Xi are sponsoring some events at the division's 95th annual meeting.


Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
University of California - Riverside

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