Congratulations! You are one of the undergraduate students selected by the National Association of Science Writers' mentoring program to receive a travel stipend to attend the AAAS meeting San Francisco in mid-February.
Looks like I'm off to San Francisco in a little more than a month. The conference is appropriately themed this year:
Science and Technology for Sustainable Well-Being
The extraordinary intellectual smorgasbord of the AAAS Annual Meeting makes it the year's most important gathering for the growing segment of the science and technology community interested in the interactions among disciplines and in the influence of science and technology on the human condition. While the aim of advancing science and technology is already, in itself, a strong motivator of the interdisciplinary thrust of the AAAS Annual Meeting, the character of the challenges to the human condition creates even more powerful incentives to exploit the interdisciplinary approaches that are the AAAS hallmark. Among those challenges…
- An appalling fraction of the 6.4 billion people on the planet continue to lack adequate nutrition, clean water, and the energy they need to meet their most basic needs.
- HIV is running rampant, most out of control precisely where people are poorest, and the defenses of populations everywhere against other natural or manmade pandemics are perilously thin.
- The great global reservoirs of biodiversity — tropical forests and coral reefs — are in peril from a combination of overexploitation, rapid climate change, and other anthropogenic assaults.
- Weather-related disasters — floods, droughts, wildfires, and “hundred-year" storms — multiply before our eyes, while many of the most powerful governments and corporations cling to their “wait-and-see" stance on whether regulation of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions is required.
- The economic and security challenges of overdependence of the world's energy system on petroleum continue to receive more lip service than serious policy responses, in industrial and developing nations alike.
- The United States and Russia still maintain enough nuclear firepower on short-reaction-time alert to destroy both countries and much of the rest of civilization; reserve the right of first use of nuclear weapons, even against adversaries who do not possess them; and wonder why nuclear proliferation seems too hard to contain.
- And the intelligent use of science and technology to help dry up the wellsprings of terrorism remains an even more underdeveloped endeavor than the uses of science and technology to build our defenses against terrorist attack.
It'll be a great networking (and blogging) opportunity. Is anyone else planning on attending this year?