Kicking off the Year of Science

By Carl Zimmer | December 19, 2008 8:35 am

good-copus-banner.jpgAttention, lovers of science: clear your 2009 calendar.

The Coalition On The Public Understanding of Science (COPUS), a grassroots network, is putting together a massive celebration of science stretching across all 12 months of the year. Museums, scientific societies, and other groups will be presenting lectures, science cafes, special blogs,  exhibits, and the occasional Banana Slug String Band concert. Every month will have a theme, from evolution (February, the month of Darwin’s birthday) to astronomy (July, in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the summer Galileo first trained his telescope to the sky). And if you want to join the happening, COPUS wants to hear from you.

I’ll be helping to kick off the festivities in January. That month’s theme will be the nature of science, and I’ll be guest-blogging each week on the subject.

I’ll also be participating in the Year of Science’s big launch at the beginning of January. At the 2009 meeting of the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology in Boston, there will be a series of talks. If you belong to a group registered with COPUS, you can register at the meeting for all the COPUS events for $25.

Here’s the schedule–

JANUARY 3, 2009 7:00 p.m. – Ira Flatow, host of NPR’s Talk Of The Nation: Science Friday, opens the meeting with a plenary presentation emphasizing the importance of public understanding of science. Grand Ballroom, Concourse Level, Westin Boston Waterfront

JANUARY 5, 2009

12:00 to 12:45 p.m. – Launch of the Understanding Science Web site with Ken Miller and Natalie Kuldell. In concert with the Jan. 6th launch actvities, the new Understanding Science web site will be unveiled to the scientific community, introducing an exciting new paradigm for explaining the process and nature of science. Lewis Room, Westin Boston Waterfront

1:00 to 3:00 p.m. – “Communicating Science in Year of Science 2009: Science Blogging, Science Cafés, and Science Festivals.” Lewis Room, Westin Boston Waterfront (three sessions are as follows:)

1:00 p.m. “Off the Page: Blogging About Science” led by Carl Zimmer, Science Writer, The New York Times
1:40 p.m. “A Scientist Walks Into a Bar: Reaching New Audiences with Science Cafes,” led by Ben Wiehe, Outreach Project Director, WGBH Educa tional Foundation
2:20 p.m. “Celebrating science and technology in the community: the Cambridge Science Festival” led by John Durant, Director, MIT Museum, Executive Director, Cambridge Science Festival

6:30 to 8:30 p.m. – YoS09 Launch Science Café and Celebration: join COPUS leadership, hub members, and scientists for food, drink, and fun as we celebrate together! We’ll recap the kick-off events and make plans for the great themes coming up in the next few months: Evolution in February and Physics and Technology in March…some big anniversaries and birthdays to engage! Location: “Cambridge, 1. Fenway” at 1381 Boylston Street,

JANUARY 6, 2009

6:30 to 7:30 p.m. – “Into The Jungle: Great Adventures in the Search for Evolution and What Students Can Learn From Them,” Sean Carroll, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Harbor Ballroom, Westin Boston Waterfront


Comments (7)

  1. Carl – thanks for the info on this. I’ve just launched, and I think that there might be a role for us in the big “celebration.”


  2. Carl,

    Thank you for helping bring attention to the January events relating to the Year of Science. I’m excited to have you participating in the Blog For Darwin blogswarm, too ( On the Blog For Darwin site there is a list of various events and websites relating specifically to 2009 being the bicentenary year of Darwin’s birth.


    (P.S. I regret I missed your recent talk in NYC. I had to stay late in the office that night, alas. Hope there will be another opportunity soon.)

  3. Don

    Carl: Explanations of science need to be given to those outside the centers of wealth and culture. Could we have this operation go to small towns in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Alaska, inter alia.
    regards, Don

  4. Chipo

    “JANUARY 6, 20009”

    But none of us will be alive in 18.000 years!

  5. Oh, Chipo, don’t you know that science will make us all live forever? But, for now, I will acknowledge our mortality and fix the dates…


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The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.


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