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SFSU Public Affairs Press Release

Published by the Public Affairs Office at San Francisco State University, Diag Center.

#089; For Immediate Release
Contact: Ligeia Polidora (415) 338-1665

San Francisco State to host major regional science meeting

SFSU faculty discuss bioethics, holistic healing, evolution and SFSU astronomer Geoff Marcy to discuss life beyond our solar system

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, June 15, 1999 -- The Pacific Division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science will hold its 80th annual meeting at San Francisco State University from June 19-23, 1999. More than two dozen scientific symposia on topics ranging from life in extreme environments to alternative medicine and bioethics to the art of science will convene during the weeklong meeting. Other sessions will highlight recent advances in the studies of human emotion and evolution; and the scientist’s role in elementary science education. A special two-day symposium will focus on the biology and conservation of the Galapagos Islands.

Reporters interested in attending the symposia should check in at the registration desk at the Creative Arts Building, Room 224. It will be open Sunday, Monday and Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Wednesday from 8 a.m. to noon. The registration center’s phone number is (415) 406-5999. Reporters with media credentials can receive a copy of the meeting program and abstracts.

Sessions include:

Avian Ecology and Evolution: A Symposium in Honor of Dr. Robert Bowman
Sunday, June 20, 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. at Guest Center, Sunset Room, organized by Thomas Smith, Department of Biology, SFSU

This symposium honors SFSU emeritus professor Robert Bowman, an ornithologist who conducted pioneering research on Galapagos finches, the birds which helped to shape Charles Darwin’s ideas about evolution. Papers by SFSU graduate students and researchers feature current research into the behavior and genetics of hornbills, warblers, and other birds in Africa and the Americas.

Bowman, who joined the SFSU faculty in 1955, has conducted 15 research trips to the Galapagos Islands. Bowman’s efforts have earned him Ecuador’s Medal of Honor. His current research focuses on the evolution of song in Darwin’s finches.

Galapagos: Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation in Darwin’s Islands
Tuesday, June 22, 8:00-11:45 a.m., and 2:15-5:15 p.m. at Knuth Hall, CA 141 and Wednesday, June 23, 8:00 a.m.-noon, and 1:30-5:30 p.m. at Knuth Hall, CA 141

The symposium will address the ecology, evolutionary relationships, and conservation of a wide diversity of organisms from the Galapagos Islands. Other presentations will cover Galapagos history, including Charles Darwin’s visit in 1835. Robert Bowman will provide a description of the beginnings of modern scientific research in the Galapagos Archipelago, with special emphasis on the 1964 Galapagos International Scientific Project.

Recent Advances in Culture and Emotion
Monday, June 21, 1:30-5:00 p.m. at Creative Arts, Room 236. Organized by David Matsumoto, Department of Psychology, SFSU

Leading researchers on culture and emotion from the U.S., Japan, and South Korea examine the dual influence of nature and nurture in the shaping of human emotion and expression.

Bioethics: Issues in Science and Medicine
Tuesday, June 22, 1:30-5:00 p.m. at Creative Arts, Room 203 and Wednesday, June 23, 8:30-noon; 1:30-5:00 p.m. at Creative Arts, Room 203. Organized by Anita Silvers, Department of Philosophy, SFSU

In the wake of the National Institute of Health’s approval of a "pre-protocol" for fetal gene therapy trials, this session looks at the risks and implications of germ-line alterations that could lead to genetic changes being transmitted to offspring. Gene therapy and other cutting-edge technology will alter the ethics and economics of medicine in the coming century, and this symposium also considers the implications of such changes for health care. Participants will also discuss the lack of confidence that Americans have in the health care system.

Alternative Medicine: Helping the Other 80 Percent
Wednesday, June 23, 8:30 a.m.-noon at Creative Arts, Room 209

Organized by Eric Peper and Adam Burke, Institute for Holistic Healing Studies, Department of Health Education, SFSU

The vast majority of common health problems affecting Americans cannot be cured by conventional medical treatments. According to a recent JAMA report, 34 million Americans currently use some form of alternative medicine. This symposium covers the promise of certain alternative medical treatments, the prospects for teaching self-care, and training tomorrow’s health care providers.

The Biology of Organisms in Extreme Environments
Wednesday, June 23, 8:30 a.m.-noon, and 1:30-5:00 p.m. at Little Theatre, CA 107. Organized by David Julian, Center for Environmental Studies, Romberg Tiburon Center, SFSU

From deserts to the deep sea, organisms from microbes to marine mammals learn to live and even thrive under extremes of temperature, pressure, altitude and toxicity. This symposium explores how they manage to do it, and a concluding talk by SFSU astronomer Geoffrey Marcy will consider what it would take to survive on planets beyond our solar system.

Public Lectures:

Monday, June 21, Noon-1:00 p.m., Henry Oman on "New Discoveries in Science Make Electric Cars Practical" at the Guest Center, Presidio

Monday, June 21, 7:00-8:00 p.m., Kevin Padian on "The Origin of Birds Controversy" at the Guest Center, Presidio

Tuesday, June 22, Noon-1:00 p.m., Al Seckel on "You Won’t Believe Your Eyes: How Illusions Can Be a Window into Perception" at Knuth Hall, CA 141


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