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SFSU hosts major science conference

June 18, 2003

Photo of harbor sealScience and scholarship take center stage this week at San Francisco State University during the Pacific Division Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

From harbor seal communication, the science of Nazi Genocide and the DNA of dust, to the state of Earth's biodiversity and innovations in science education, the annual meeting -- in its 84th year -- offers new findings and compelling lectures from a variety of disciplines. SFSU faculty, along with adjunct professors from the California Academy of Sciences, join peers from institutions and scientific societies throughout the Pacific Region of North America and the Pacific Rim to share research advances, teaching methodologies and new perspectives on topics ranging from the emerging field of astrobiology to the political economy of oil and gas production.

Featured speakers include luminaries such as Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich, whose prescient 1968 book "The Population Bomb" popularized the concept of Earth's "carrying capacity," and Thomas Daniel, a botanist from the California Academy of Sciences and SFSU adjunct professor.

The meeting, which runs through Thursday, is open to the public at registration levels ranging from $40 to $80. It coincides with the 150th anniversary celebration of the California Academy of Sciences, which shares a close relationship with the University. The Academy and the University's Biology Department offer a joint graduate program in biology, which builds on the complementary strengths of each institution. Academy research staff are members of the University's department of biology, contribute to the teaching program and develop seminars and other courses offered at the Academy.

The purpose of the joint program is to address the growing need to train a new generation of biologists in systematics, ecology and conservation biology, topics that will be covered in symposia organized as part of the Academy's anniversary celebration. "Biodiversity: Past, Present and Future" and "The Future of Taxonomy" will highlight the Academy's dedication to the discovery and documentation of biodiversity.

There are a total of 14 symposia, including three developed by SFSU faculty. "Native California," organized by Lee Davis, director of SFSU's California Studies Program, highlights scholarship by anthropologists working collaboratively with California Indian Tribes. The other two symposia organized by SFSU faculty focus on innovations in teaching and provide K-12 teachers and college professors with new methods to take back to the classroom.

The meeting also provides college students, including those from SFSU, with an invaluable opportunity to present their research in a professional setting.

For detailed program information, including registration requirements, symposia, guest speakers, special events, presentation times, meeting locations, and abstracts, visit the AAASPD Web site.

-- Merrik Bush-Pirkle


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Last modified June 18, 2003, by the Office of Public Affairs