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What We Know: The Reality, Risks and Response to Climate Change

March 18, 2014 Comments off

What We Know: The Reality, Risks and Response to Climate Change
Source: American Association for the Advancement of Science

The overwhelming evidence of human-caused climate change documents both current impacts with significant costs and extraordinary future risks to society and natural systems. The scientific community has convened conferences, published reports, spoken out at forums and proclaimed, through statements by virtually every national scientific academy and relevant major scientific organization — including the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) — that climate change puts the well-being of people of all nations at risk.

Surveys show that many Americans think climate change is still a topic of significant scientific disagreement. Thus, it is important and increasingly urgent for the public to know there is now a high degree of agreement among climate scientists that human-caused climate change is real. Moreover, while the public is becoming aware that climate change is increasing the likelihood of certain local disasters, many people do not yet understand that there is a small, but real chance of abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes with highly damaging impacts on people in the United States and around the world.

It is not the purpose of this paper to explain why this disconnect between scientific knowledge and public perception has occurred. Nor are we seeking to provide yet another extensive review of the scientific evidence for climate change. Instead, we present key messages for every American about climate change…

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AAAS Report Shares Strategies to Recruit New Generation of Highly Qualified Science and Mathematics Teachers

May 31, 2012 Comments off

AAAS Report Shares Strategies to Recruit New Generation of Highly Qualified Science and Mathematics Teachers
Source: American Association for the Advancement of Science

s U.S. science test scores stagnate, a new report by AAAS shows how high-quality science and mathematics teachers can be recruited and trained to help reverse this trend.

The report describes the innovative strategies used by the National Science Foundation’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program, which trains science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) undergraduate majors and STEM professionals to become K-12 teachers. The program has found new ways to recruit, prepare, and support these new teachers by offering them a chance to work in after-school programs, mentoring them with the help of local educators, and providing funding for research projects of their own.

Now a decade old, the program’s successes are being scrutinized as part of a national conversation on how to improve science education.

Improvements are urgently needed, education experts say. Results from the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) science test, which were released on 10 May, show that only a third of eighth-graders who took the test scored at or above the proficient level for their grade.

AAAS Analysis: 2012 R&D Gains for Basic Research, Energy, and Environment; Overall Investment Down

January 14, 2012 Comments off

AAAS Analysis: 2012 R&D Gains for Basic Research, Energy, and Environment; Overall Investment Down
Source: American Association for the Advancement of Science

Basic and applied research and energy and environmental research scored significant increases in a 2012 budget bill signed recently by President Barack Obama, but overall research and development spending will decline by 1.3%, according to a new analysis by the AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program.

Total R&D spending for fiscal year 2012 was set at $142 billion, down about $1.9 billion from 2011.

“It’s no doubt a tough fiscal environment, but the fact that we actually see some fairly sizeable increases in certain research areas suggests persistent support for science and innovation even now,” said Matt Hourihan, director of the AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program.

The budget for the fiscal year that began 1 October is the result of protracted and often contentious deliberations involving Congress and the White House. A $1 trillion compromise on nine key spending areas emerged from a House-Senate conference committee and was signed by Obama on Friday 23 December. It reflects both a drive to reduce the federal deficit and an effort to preserve R&D related to security and innovation.

According to the AAAS analysis, much of the 2012 R&D cut is concentrated in defense—and especially defense development initiatives. Overall, defense R&D will decline by 3.2%, or $2.5 billion.

Basic defense research, development, testing, and evaluation will rise 8.7% from 2011 levels, and applied research will rise by 5.6%. But that gain is dwarfed by billions of dollars in cuts to operational systems development and classified programs, among other areas.

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