Embargoed until Friday, February 17, 2012: 8 AM PST (11 AM ET)
Symposium: Friday, February 17, 2012: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Government scientists in Canada and abroad do publicly funded work that shapes policy and informs debate. But how free are they to speak to the media and the public about their work?
Moderator: Kathryn O'Hara, Carleton University. Discussant: Andrew Weaver, University of Victoria. Speakers include: Margaret Munro, Postmedia News; Francesca Grifo, Scientific Integrity Program, Union of Concerned Sciences
Canadian MP for Kingston and the Islands Ted Hsu has posted an open letter to Canada’s federal scientists regarding this issue online here.
Several Canadian and international science communication associations have also posted an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper requesting that scientists be allowed to speak freely (available here).
The SMCC is collecting comments on this issue which will be sent out shortly.
The Effects of Early Experience on Lifelong Functioning: Commitment and Resilience
Embargoed until Friday, February 17, 2012: 9:00 a.m. PST (12:00 PM ET)
The impacts of early life experiences are better understood now more than ever. What are the effects of early experiences in utero and through the first year of life? And just how plastic are traits like resiliency and commitment as we move into adulthood? Speakers include Janet Werker from the University of British Columbia and CIfAR, as well as Daphne Mauer of McMaster. Dr. Mauer will discuss her work with video games and how they can help the vision of adults who were born with cataracts. Her lab also studies synaesthesia, a phenomenon where people’s brains mix senses, allowing them, for example, to ‘hear’ colours. Speakers include: Janet F. Werker, University of British Columbia; Daphne Mauer, McMaster University, Canada
News Briefing: Feb 17th, 9:00 AM
Event: February 17, 2012: 1:30 PM-4:30 PM
Things that Go Bump: The Latest Discoveries in Particle Physics
Embargoed until 11:00 a.m. PST / 2:00 p.m. ET Feb 17, 2012
Friday, February 17, 2012: 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
In December, researchers at CERN announced they had found a signal that could be the Higgs boson, the final particle in physics’ Standard Model still to be confirmed. Around the same time, researchers in Italy announced they had detected neutrinos going faster than the speed of light. What do these new developments from some fo the world’s most powerful atom-smashers mean for physics? Speakers: Timothy Meyer, TRIUMF; Lia Merminga, TRIUMF
News briefing: Feb 17th, 11:00 AM
Event: 1:00 p.m. PST / 4:00 p.m. EST
SMCC Backgrounder on the Higgs boson
Climate Change and Human Evolution: Problems and Prospects.
Embargoed until 1:30 p.m. PST Feb 17, 2012
Symposium: 1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. , Fri., Feb. 17
Mark Collard of Simon Fraser University will speak today on how climate change impacts human evolution. He examines how climate contributed to the evolution of homo sapiens by examining ancient artifacts like food-gathering tools as our species evolved over thousands of years.
Speaker: Mark Collard, Simon Fraser University
Contact: Mark Collard, Vancouver resident, 778.782.8166,
Also of Interest for those at the AAAS in Vancouver
The London Health Sciences Centre has developed an online platform and iPad app that helps cardiac patients track their health. The app includes links to ultrasound images of plaque in the patient’s own arteries, tracking of their cholesterol levels, and links to resources helping with tips on healthier living. Users can also opt to receive email or text notifications of these resources.
Images are available. Contact: Femida Gwadry-Sridhar B.Sc.Phm, M.Sc., Ph.D. Director Medical Health Informatics- Computer Science- University of Western Ontario 519-685-8500 ext. 42690, cell: 519 872 1471 email:
. Dr. Gwadry-Sridhar is on-site at the AAAS meeting.