Public Release:  2007 AAAS Annual Meeting Headlines

Global Climate Change, Life on Mars, Math Anxiety, Vanishing Languages and more

American Association for the Advancement of Science

SAN FRANCISCO -- As global climate change poses a growing threat to society, and many people worldwide continue to lack adequate food, clean water, and energy, the 2007 AAAS Annual Meeting -- set for 15-19 February -- will draw up to 10,000 total attendees to explore "Science and Technology for Sustainable Well-Being."

"Global climate change is real, humans are responsible for a substantial part of it, and it's taking us in dangerous directions," said John P. Holdren, president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), director of the Woods Hole Research Center, and Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy at Harvard University.

On Sunday, 18 February, Holdren will preside over a free public event on global climate change, a town hall meeting for K-12 teachers, students, scientists, policy-makers and others. Holdren will release the AAAS Board's first consensus statement on global climate change. Leaders and students from Shishmaref, Alaska, will be on hand for the premiere of a video featuring the plight of their tiny community, where the retreat of sea ice and the rise of sea level are combining to drive them from their village and destroy their way of life. Also, Princeton researchers will conduct the first large-scale, interactive demonstration of the Stabilization Wedge concept, a unique, hands-on learning tool that illustrates the impacts of different strategies for reducing greenhouse gases.

Other highlights from the AAAS Meeting are expected to include:

  • New research on past and current prospects for habitable niches on Mars;
  • The latest climate-change evidence, from Peru to the Himalayas to Africa;
  • Efforts to mathematically analyze works of art by van Gogh and others;
  • A new report on the U.S. proposal for "reliable warheads"
  • The impacts of methamphetamine and other drugs on brain function
  • Efforts to revive threatened or extinct languages
  • Lost memories from infancy
  • And much more.

The climate-change town hall, featuring experts such as Lonnie Thompson of Ohio State University, Margaret Leinen of Climos Inc., Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute, and Robert Socolow of Princeton University, will take place Sunday, 18 February in the Hilton San Francisco, Continental Ballrooms 4-6, from 1:15 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

A news briefing for reporters will be offered immediately before the town hall, at 12:30 p.m. U.S. Pacific time in the Hilton, Continental Ballroom 1.

Organized by AAAS, the town hall was planned in cooperation with the National Science Teachers Association, the California Science Teachers Association, and the United Educators of San Francisco (representing the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers).

To view the AAAS president's videotaped message on global climate change, log onto http://www.aaas.org/climate. To view an embargoed videotape illustrating the human impacts of global climate change, featuring residents of Shishmaref, Alaska, e-mail Ginger Pinholster at gpinhols@aaas.org.

America's largest general science conference offers an unsurpassed technical program for scientists, educators, policy-makers and reporters as well as free public events for families and job-seekers. The Meeting is expected to draw as many as 10,000 individuals from roughly 60 countries, including hundreds of newsroom registrants.

Free Family Science Days -- scheduled for 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, 17-18 February in the Hilton San Francisco -- will include hands-on activities for children and families. The 2007 lineup includes Adam and Jamie from the popular Discovery Channel television show, Mythbusters; Billinda the Robot Dog; and authors of science books for children, plus demonstrations such as how recycled vegetable oil can be transformed into biodiesel fuel.

Nearly 200 scientific sessions for general registrants and reporters at this year's AAAS Meeting will focus on "Science and Technology for Sustainable Well-Being," the theme established by Holdren.

Holdren will provide his AAAS Presidential Address, a free public event, on Thursday, 15 February at 6:30 p.m. in the Hilton San Francisco, Continental Ballroom 4-6. Additional free lectures are planned at the same time and place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. Speakers will be energy guru Steven Chu of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Google Co-Founder Larry Page; and Mohamed H.A. Hassan of TWAS, the Academy of Sciences of the Developing World. A final plenary lecture will be offered at 8:00 a.m. Monday, 19 February by Susan Solomon of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, a primary architect of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

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MEDIA NOTE: Additional information on AAAS Annual Meeting news can be provided in advance to reporters who ensure adherence to the embargo policy. Reporters, please contact Earl Lane, (202) 326-6431, elane@aaas.org; or Ginger Pinholster, (202) 326-6421, gpinhols@aaas.org, before 15 February. After 15 February, call (415) 394-3257 to reach the AAAS Annual Meeting Newsroom on-site in the Hotel Nikko, Nikko Ballroom I. Embargoed news will be available to registered reporters via the AAAS virtual newsroom online at EurekAlert!, www.eurekalert.org, beginning Monday, 12 February.

HISTORY: The first AAAS Annual Meeting took place in 1848 in Philadelphia, Pa. Past meetings have featured such notables as U.S. Presidents George Bush Sr. and Bill Clinton; Microsoft's Bill Gates; author Michael Crichton; the science ministers of the European Commission, Germany, the United Kingdom and Hungary; Nobelists Ralph Cicerone, Sherwood Rowland, Leon Lederman, Wolfgang Ketterle and many others.

This news release contains only general, publicly available information about this year's program, and is therefore appropriate for immediate release.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world's largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal, Science (www.sciencemag.org). AAAS was founded in 1848, and serves 262 affiliated societies and academies of science, reaching 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of 1 million. The non-profit AAAS (www.aaas.org) is open to all and fulfills its mission to "advance science and serve society" through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education and more. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert!, www.eurekalert.org, the premier science-news Web site, a service of AAAS.

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