On November 29, the Koshland Science Museum, Washington, D.C., hosted an International Polar Year (IPY) event as part of its growing program of serious science discussions geared towards adult audiences. Experts at the forefront of their fields present cutting-edge and often highly technical topics to engaged citizens in ways that are relevant to daily life. As part of the November 29 program, Dr. Robin E. Bell, U.S. representative to the International Planning Committee for IPY, described how the polar regions are changing faster than any other part of our planet. Audience members included representatives from the Climate Policy Center, the U.S. Department of Labor, George Washington University, NASA, NOAA, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and northern Virginia’s Fairfax County Public School System, among others. This diverse range of attendees created an environment rich for dialogue following Dr. Bell’s presentation.
Dr. Bell also is chair of the Polar Research Board of the National Academies, a member of the U.S. National Committee to the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, and director of the ADVANCE Program at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of the Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York. Her presentation provided an overview of the history of IPY, its goals, the research projects underway, and the challenges of working in the Arctic and Antarctic.
Other topics covered in the Koshland’s program series have included nanotechnology and infectious disease, stem cell science and policy, the global impact of malaria, the 1918 influenza epidemic, the science of music, energy technologies, and more. Attendees can explore the museum before and after the discussions. To learn about scheduled upcoming events at the Koshland, please visit the museum web site.