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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ADDF Seeks Communications Manager

Communications Manager

New York, NY

Job Description:

The Communications Manager is primarily responsible for writing and editing content that conveys the objectives and promise of ADDF’s research programs and donor engagement initiatives, always with the goal of building the Foundation’s base of support.

The Communications Manager will help meet the Foundation’s writing and communications needs to advance efforts across the continuum of its business to raise, and then effectively deploy, funds for research. The successful candidate will have 3-5 years relevant writing and messaging experience, preferably in health care or scientific research. A proven ability to craft persuasive, clearly written material is a must. The right person for this position will be experienced in writing for multiple audiences and purposes (specifically donor vs. scientific audiences).

The Communications Manager will research, write and edit short-form web and social content as well as newsletter articles, press releases, talking points, funding proposals, and other materials as required by the overall marketing/communications program.

The Communications Manager will also serve as a general resource for proofreading and copy editing content across digital and print channels and will take the lead on internal communications needs.

The job requires strong attention to detail, excellent proofreading ability, project management skills and the ability to meet competing deadlines and manage multiple projects at once.


·      General writing and editing for the communications team, including web content, blog posts, print and e-newsletters, press releases, collateral, social media postings and other materials as needed;

·      Working on materials to attract and retain donors, including direct mail appeals, funding/grant proposals to individual, foundation and corporate donors; and stewardship materials;

·      Working on press releases of funded grants and other research program highlights for a lay audience;

·      Liaising with the Communications Consultant  to help identify writing and editing needs on the Foundations Web site and ensure that information is kept up to date;

·      Assisting in the writing and editing of pitches, press releases and other media outreach materials;

·      Identifying and taking the lead on internal communications needs, such as keeping Foundation-wide FAQs up to date.

For more information about the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, visit  To apply, email CV and cover letter to

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Take Phase II Survey

In August, 2013, I started conducting a wide online survey of science journalists and bloggers to better understand why and how science research is translated into news. Nearly 1,000 science journalists and bloggers participated in this survey last year. As a continuation of a science communication project for my PhD research at Louisiana State UniversityI am now introducing Part II of this survey – a follow-up to answer more questions and confirm some intriguing results from Part I. (But you needn’t have participated in Part I to participate in Part II now!)

If you are a journalist, blogger, freelance writer, magazine writer, TV producer, radio announcer, podcast producer, or anything in between, I’m asking you to participate in this online survey. By participating in this survey, which only takes 15 minutes to complete, journalists, bloggers and other communicators can help me understand when and why science makes its way from research publication to news story.

Once you’ve completed this survey, you will also have the chance to read an abstract and summary of the results from Part I, which have now been submitted for publication. I will also hopefully be blogging about the results of Part I and Part II soon at Scientific American blogs!

To participate, simply copy and paste the following URL into a new browser window:

Thank you for your participation! Please spread the word about this survey, link to it on Facebook and Twitter, and send it to your journalism colleagues.

- Paige Brown (; @FromTheLabBench on Twitter)

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NCAS 111th Annual Meeting March 28-29

The NC Academy of Science (NCAS) will be hosting its 111th annual meeting in Raleigh on March 28-29th (Friday evening and Saturday) in the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. This year’s theme is “Applying Evolution to Medicine and the Environment.”  This conference is attended by students, faculty, and scientists who want to network and present their research to colleagues from all across the state. The registration deadline has been extended to March 10th. All are welcomed!   

The meeting will open with a Friday evening poster session followed by a Plenary address by Dr. Randoph Nesse, from Arizona State University, entitled “Evolution and Medicine: The Great Opportunity.” Saturday will include oral sessions from submitted abstracts, a Keynote address by Dr. Rob Dunn from NC State University (“Understanding the ecology and evolution of human bodies and homes–lessons from students, solenodons and face mites”), senior academy talks, workshops and special sessions. We will conclude the annual meeting with an engaging banquet on the first floor of the Museum. This annual meeting draws many faculty and students from across the state so provides a wonderful opportunity to network and interact. For more information, and to register for the meeting, visit our website: and click on the link for the 111th annual meeting. Early registration and abstract submission ends March 10th!

With predictions of 200-300 people attending the conference, there will definitely be a need for judges and/or moderators on Friday evening (starting around 6pm) for the poster sessions and Saturday for the oral presentations and workshop sessions. Currently, we are desperately looking for volunteers for judging and moderating sessions. Any amount of time you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Please contact Antonio T. Baines, Ph.D. (contact information below) if you have an interest in being either a judge, moderator, or both. Unfortunately, due to limited funds, we cannot afford to pay for your registration for the NCAS conference. You will have to actually attend the conference in order to be a judge or moderator. We would love to have you!

Antonio T. Baines, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Biology & the Cancer Research Program
J. L. Chambers Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute
Mary Townes Science Complex
North Carolina Central University
1801 Fayetteville Street
Durham, NC  27707
Office:  (919)-530-6542
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Carolina Science Cafe Tonight 6pm

As the fracking debate heats up in North Carolina, many people have questions about this technology and how it could impact our state. Carolina Science Café invites you to examine those questions with Adrian Down of Duke University.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
6-7 p.m.
Back Bar, Top of the Hill, Chapel Hill
Snacks are provided by Sigma Xi; beverages are available for purchase. Carolina Science Café is hosted by Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. For more information, visit:
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