Science on the Campaign Trail – April 13, 7 p.m. The Frontier


SciFactsARTA signature North Carolina Science Festival event 

7 pm April 13 @ The Frontier in RTP

Hosts: The North Carolina Newsroom Cooperative and

Science Communicators of North Carolina (SCONC) 

If facts are the first casualty in a campaign, science may be the subject with the highest body count. False assumptions, misleading data, inaccurate claims abound in the effort to sway voters and influence public policy. What’s a journalist to do? How about a voter? Come hear pros devoted to sorting fact from fiction in political discourse consider the challenges this feisty election year.



• Bill Adair, Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of Politifact; Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University
• Eugene Kiely, director,
• Laura Leslie, Capital Bureau chief, WRAL-TV
• Sheril Kirshenbaum, executive director,; director, The Energy Poll, University of Texas at Austin


• Susan King, Dean, UNC School of Media and Journalism

7 pm @ The Frontier, 800 Park Offices Drive, Research Triangle Park, NC. 

Arrive early to snag good seats. Food trucks and beer will be available.

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The Story Behind the Story

Duke Science & Society’s Distinguished Speakers Series welcomes award-winning New York Times journalist Gina Kolata

5 p.m. Tuesday, March 22

Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans Center for Health Education

Great Hall

(Reception to Follow)


 GinaKolata flier

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Science In the Movies

SCONC invites you to attend SCIENCE IN THE MOVIES

SciMovie flierMonday, March 14
7 p.m.
Hunt Library Auditorium on NC State’s Centennial Campus

A panel of scientists and a film scholar will share and discuss clips from some of Hollywood’s best space and space exploration movies — both serious and not: A Trip to the Moon (1902); Destination Moon (1950); 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968); Star Wars (1977); Galaxy Quest (1999); and Interstellar (2014).

Our panel includes:
Dr. Marsha Gordon, film scholar and professor of English at NC State
Dr. Patrick Treuthardt , assistant head of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Lab at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences/Nature Research Center
Dr. Larry Silverberg, professor of Aerospace Engineering at NC State
Moderated by the “Science Comedian” Brian Malow, curator of the “Daily Planet” theater at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences/Nature Research Center.

This program is a collaboration of NCSU Libraries and the Science Communicators of North Carolina. Light refreshments will be served.

Free and open to the public.

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Oct. 17 Panel on Women in STEM

The Chapel Hill AAUW invites educators, parents, students and local employers to join us on October 17, 10-11:30 AM at the Chapel Hill Public Library to learn more about how we can successfully engage girls and young women in the study and professional practice of STEM.

A panel of local public school educators and university STEM program leaders will offer insights into why this is an important issue for our children and communities. Based on their research and experience, panel members will discuss promising approaches and practices. We encourage those with experience in STEM studies or careers to attend so that you can share ideas for how community members, parents and educators can promote girls’ positive perceptions and successful academic preparation in STEM. We know this is an area of growing opportunity for those seeking personal fulfillment and interested in making professional contributions.

Consistent with the AAUW mission, this event is designed to provide both an opportunity for those invested in this issue to become more informed as well as a way to network.

For more information about AAUW please go to

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Book Event: Shipman’s Handbook for PIOs

Please join SCONC on Oct. 13 at 5:30 p.m. to celebrate the launch of Matt Shipman’s Handbook for Science Public Information Officers. Mr. Shipman is a public information officer at North Carolina State University.

The event will be held at Tra’Li Irish Pub and Restaurant in Morrisville.

Matt Shipman, NCSUWhether sharing a spectacular shot from a deep-space probe, announcing a development in genetic engineering, or crafting an easy-to-reference list of cancer risk factors, science public information officers, or PIOs, serve as scientific liaisons, connecting academic, nonprofit, government, and other research organizations with the public. And as traditional media outlets cut back on their science coverage, PIOs are becoming a vital source for science news.

W. Matthew Shipman’s Handbook for Science Public Information Officers covers all aspects of communication strategy and tactics for members of this growing specialty. It includes how to pitch a story, how to train researchers to navigate interviews, how to use social media effectively, and how to respond to a crisis. The handbook offers a wealth of practical advice while teaching science PIOs how to think critically about what they do and how they do it, so that they will be prepared to take advantage of any situation, rather than being overwhelmed by it.

For all science communicators—whether they’re starting their careers, crossing over from journalism or the research community, or professional communicators looking to hone their PIO skills—Shipman’s Handbook for Science Public Information Officers will become their go-to reference.

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Pizza Lunch: Cyber-Dogs and Robo-Roaches!

Our next pizza lunch features Alper Bozkurt, an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at North Carolina State University.

He makes “biobots” — cockroaches and trained dogs wirelessly guided by microsystems that provide neural stimulation and physiological monitoring. The result is a “cyber-physical working animal.”

Bionic-equipped trained dogs and untrained insects.

Bionic-equipped trained dogs and untrained insects.

Noon, Thursday, Sept. 17

At the Frontier in RTP Park Center (across NC-54 from the former location at Sigma Xi) 800 Park Offices Dr., Research Triangle Park, NC 27709



The present day technology falls short in offering autonomous mobile robots that can function effectively and efficiently under unknown and dynamic environmental conditions. Insects and canines, on the other hand, exhibit an unmatched ability to navigate through a wide variety of environments and overcome perturbations by successfully maintaining control and stability. In this talk, Dr. Alper Bozkurt will present how microsystems based neural stimulation and physiological monitoring systems are used to wirelessly navigate cockroaches and train dogs to enable cyber-physical working animals. These biobots can potentially assist humans in environmental sensing and search-and-rescue applications to pinpoint hazardous material or to find earthquake victims. This is one of the on-going efforts under Integrated Bionic MicroSystems Laboratory (iBionicS Lab) which has a vision to introduce conceptually novel neural engineering methodologies and systems to interface artificial systems with biological organisms towards the next generation bionic cyber-physical systems. Such cyber-physical systems would be the building blocks of a new era where everything is connected to each other through the Internet of Things.


Alper Bozkurt is currently an Assistant Professor in Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at North Carolina State University. He received a doctorate degree from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY (advisor: Prof. Amit Lal) and master’s degree in biomedical engineering from Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA. Dr. Bozkurt is the founder and the director of Integrated Bionic MicroSystems Laboratory at NC State where his current research interests include development of microscale sensors, actuators and methodologies to unlock the mysteries of biological systems with an aim of engineering these systems directly or developing new engineering approaches by learning from these. These cell level and organism level biological systems include metamorphic sensory neurons, developing motoneurons, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, Carolina sphinx moths, canines, lemurs and humans. His recent research achievements with biobots were covered by several media agencies including BBC, CNN, National Geographic, Discovery Channel, Science Channel, Newsweek and Reuters. In parallel to his studies, he also worked as an official consultant for the Disney movie “G-Force” produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and participated to Smart America Challenge organized by the White House Presidential Innovation Fellows. Dr. Bozkurt is a recipient of the Calhoun Fellowship from Drexel University, Donald Kerr Award at Cornell University, Chancellor’s Innovation Award and William F. Lane Outstanding Teacher Award at North Carolina State University and the best paper award from The US Government Microcircuit Applications & Critical Technology Conference and IEEE Body Sensor Networks Conference. Dr. Bozkurt is also the testbed leader under The National Science Foundation Nanosystems Engineering Research Center for Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies (ASSIST).

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Science at the Smithsonian – from the Giant Magellan Telescope to the Biodiversity of Myanmar

***This event is free and open to the public.***

Science at the Smithsonian: From the Giant Magellan Telescope to the Biodiversity of Myanmar

A Talk by Under Secretary John Kress


Friday, Sept 5

4:30 pm

004 Sanford Bldg., Duke University


The Smithsonian Institution is home to nine research centers and numerous research programs across the globe. With 19 museums and galleries, as well as research sites in Indonesia, Brazil, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia and beyond, the Smithsonian is the world’s largest museum and research complex. The institution seeks to discover and share knowledge with the world by fostering access to information, education, and intellectual exchange. W. John Kress serves as Acting Under Secretary for Science at the Smithsonian. He oversees the operations of eight national museums and institutes including the National Museum of Natural History. Kress is an expert on tropical biology, with interests in the evolution and ecology of tropical plants and animals.

For more information, please contact Eve Duffy.

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What? Whaaaaat?

Sad news, SCONCS, our listserv’s host has gone to that great cloud in the sky, taking our preferred email channel with it. Anton is working on rescuing the old mailing list and actively seeking a replacement that will allow us to continue posting events and job openings. Watch this space for updates.

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UID Seeks Assistant Professor of Science Communication

Academic Faculty

(Assistant Professor of Science Communication)

McCall Field Campus


Open for Recruitment:  March 13, 2014 – April 24, 2014
Announcement #:  10000039574
Salary Range:  Commensurate with Experience
Full or Part Time:  Full Time
Location:  McCall

Materials Required:
    Online Application (click to apply)
Curriculum Vitae
Letter of Application
Undergraduate and Graduate Transcripts
Statements of Teaching Philosophy and Research and Outreach Interests
3 Letters of Reference and Contact Information for 3 References.

For full description of job responsibilities and required qualifications visit:

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NC State Sciences Lectures

North Carolina State UniversityCollege of SciencesExplore the origins of the universe and the mysteries of animal behavior at NC State’s College of Sciences during the week of April 10. The two lectures are part of the Year One Events Series celebrating the new college, which launched in 2013 and brought together NC State’s people and programs in the biological, physical and mathematical sciences.

More at

April 10

John C. Mather

Senior Astrophysicist

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

John Mather will explain the history of the universe, from the Big Bang to now and on to the future. He will also show NASA’s plans for the next great telescope in space, the James Webb Space Telescope, which will peer inside the dusty cocoons where stars and planets are being born. Mather is the senior project scientist for the telescope and won the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the Cosmic Background Explorer satellite. He will speak as the Department of Physics 2014 L.H. Thomas Lecturer. The talk begins at 4 p.m. in 2203 SAS Hall.

April 14

Iain Couzin


Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Princeton University

Iain Couzin uses lab experiments, fieldwork, computer simulations and mathematical models to learn more about how animals coordinate their behavior. His work aims to reveal the fundamental principles that underlie evolved collective behavior, and consequently his research includes the study of a wide range of biological systems, from brain tumors to insect swarms, fish schools and human crowds. Couzin will speak as the 2014 Department of Mathematics Kwangil Koh Lecturer on Mathematics in Our Time. The event begins 4:30 in 2203 SAS Hall. A pre-talk reception starts at 4 p.m.

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