Kicking off the Year of Science

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Attention, lovers of science: clear your 2009 calendar.

The Coalition On The Public Understanding of Science (COPUS), a grassroots network, is putting together a massive celebration of science stretching across all 12 months of the year. Museums, scientific societies, and other groups will be presenting lectures, science cafes, special blogs,  exhibits, and the occasional Banana Slug String Band concert. Every month will have a theme, from evolution (February, the month of Darwin’s birthday) to astronomy (July, in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the summer Galileo first trained his telescope to the sky). And if you want to join the happening, COPUS wants to hear from you.

I’ll be helping to kick off the festivities in January. That month’s theme will be the nature of science, and I’ll be guest-blogging each week on the subject.

I’ll also be participating in the Year of Science’s big launch at the beginning of January. At the 2009 meeting of the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology in Boston, there will be a series of talks. If you belong to a group registered with COPUS, you can register at the meeting for all the COPUS events for $25.

Here’s the schedule–

JANUARY 3, 2009 7:00 p.m. – Ira Flatow, host of NPR’s Talk Of The Nation: Science Friday, opens the meeting with a plenary presentation emphasizing the importance of public understanding of science. Grand Ballroom, Concourse Level, Westin Boston Waterfront

JANUARY 5, 2009

12:00 to 12:45 p.m. – Launch of the Understanding Science Web site with Ken Miller and Natalie Kuldell. In concert with the Jan. 6th launch actvities, the new Understanding Science web site will be unveiled to the scientific community, introducing an exciting new paradigm for explaining the process and nature of science. Lewis Room, Westin Boston Waterfront

1:00 to 3:00 p.m. – “Communicating Science in Year of Science 2009: Science Blogging, Science Cafés, and Science Festivals.” Lewis Room, Westin Boston Waterfront (three sessions are as follows:)

1:00 p.m. “Off the Page: Blogging About Science” led by Carl Zimmer, Science Writer, The New York Times
1:40 p.m. “A Scientist Walks Into a Bar: Reaching New Audiences with Science Cafes,” led by Ben Wiehe, Outreach Project Director, WGBH Educa tional Foundation
2:20 p.m. “Celebrating science and technology in the community: the Cambridge Science Festival” led by John Durant, Director, MIT Museum, Executive Director, Cambridge Science Festival

6:30 to 8:30 p.m. – YoS09 Launch Science Café and Celebration: join COPUS leadership, hub members, and scientists for food, drink, and fun as we celebrate together! We’ll recap the kick-off events and make plans for the great themes coming up in the next few months: Evolution in February and Physics and Technology in March…some big anniversaries and birthdays to engage! Location: “Cambridge, 1. Fenway” at 1381 Boylston Street,

JANUARY 6, 2009

6:30 to 7:30 p.m. – “Into The Jungle: Great Adventures in the Search for Evolution and What Students Can Learn From Them,” Sean Carroll, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Harbor Ballroom, Westin Boston Waterfront