From the President: A Call to Action

August 05, 2019

Geraldine RichmondEach day brings news of how our climate and our environment are historically changing, and research shows that human activities and population growth are the leading factors. With these changes comes an urgency to find solutions to ameliorate the impact of the rising temperatures that are causing extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and the alteration of plant and animal habitats.

From farmlands to forests, the effects of drought and raging forest fires are rising. Chemical and biological changes are happening in the oceans, soil, and atmosphere. It is indeed a call to action for all of us, especially those with science and technical training, to play a role in finding solutions to the complexity of environmental challenges today and into the future.

If you share these concerns, join us at the 2019 Sigma Xi Annual Meeting and Student Research Conference on November 14–17 in Madison, Wisconsin. With the theme “Our Changing Global Environment: Scientists and Engineers Designing Solutions for the Future,” the meeting will feature talks from researchers on the forefront of addressing the changing environment. It also is an ideal venue for students and other researchers to share research results and ideas about moving forward.  

One of the three scientific symposia themes is on water resource issues. This topic is of high interest, given the critical role that this little triatomic molecule plays in everything from keeping our bodies at a near constant temperature to nourishing nearly every living thing on this planet. Yet we know that access to drinkable water is increasingly threatened in many parts of the world. Sessions will include emerging research solutions in water science and technology. Water is also the special focus of the upcoming September–October issue of American Scientist.  

How we produce, consume, and store energy is another meeting track that features sessions on the effectiveness of new technologies to power the planet with far less environmental impact than our past practices. A Life and Health track will address how we will be affected and how we will respond. Interwoven into these three tracks are discussions of the political, economic, and societal issues that arise when seeking solutions to environmental challenges. Three additional tracks will focus on STEM professional development, science communication, and research ethics. 

The Annual Meeting will conclude on Sunday, November 17, with the first ever Sigma Xi STEM Art and Film Festival, which explores science through visual arts. The festival is free and open to the public so come one and all.

I look forward to seeing you in Madison in November!

Geraldine Richmond
Sigma Xi President

More About Sigma Xi: Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society is the world’s largest multidisciplinary honor society for scientists and engineers. Its mission is to enhance the health of the research enterprise, foster integrity in science and engineering, and promote the public understanding of science for the purpose of improving the human condition. Sigma Xi chapters can be found at colleges and universities, government laboratories, and industry research centers around the world. More than 200 Nobel Prize winners have been members. The Society is based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. On Twitter: @SigmaXiSociety