Sigma Xi Speaks: August 2016

by Heather Thorstensen | Aug 16, 2016

This is a guest post by Sigma Xi Executive Director and CEO John C. Nemeth. 


Dear Sigma Xi Members, 

John NemethI hope your summer has been going well. We are busy here at Sigma Xi, and I have a few new initiatives at the intersection of research and policy to share.

Research Communications Initiative

Sigma Xi recently launched the Research Communications Initiative (RCI) to help researchers and research institutions improve the way they spread the news about their work. Sigma Xi will work with its RCI partners to develop communication strategies, create content, publish the content in American Scientist  if they so choose (as a fully disclosed product of the partnership), and provide a data-driven assessment of the success of their communications. RCI content will be published under a Creative Commons license, making it free to be republished.

This new program is central to the core values of Sigma Xi: honesty, integrity, and ethics in research. Our research is only helpful to society and public policymakers if we effectively communicate it, and that’s what this program aims to do. I hope you will take advantage of this opportunity and that you spread the word. You can find more details in the program announcement.

Science Questions for Presidential Candidates

This month, Sigma Xi joined and 54 other nonpartisan organizations―including the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine―in sending 20 questions about science to U.S. presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Gary Johnson, and Jill Stein. The candidates were asked to answer the questions in writing and the media were invited to pose the questions to the candidates in televised debates. Sigma Xi members sent in their ideas for the questions, and many of their themes made it into the final questions. Thank you to those who participated. Now let’s see how the candidates respond.

Kids Science Reading Corner

George and the Unbreakable Code coverWith this issue of Sigma Xi Speaks, I’m kicking off a new feature: the Kids Science Reading Corner. Each month I'll recommend a STEM-related book geared for kids. Over time, I expect to share books that will appeal to a range of ages, from the youngest readers through teenagers and young adults. I hope you and yours find the ideas fun and educational. If we can get kids interested in science and engineering, we can help them pursue it as a career or prepare them to support research as adults.

This first time out, I am suggesting that an adventurous pair, George and his best pal Annie, from the George’s Secret Key  collection will become the dear friends of the kids in your life. Stephen Hawking and his daughter Lucy Hawking have written a marvelous series: George’s Secret Key to the Universe, George’s Cosmic Treasure Hunt, and George and the Big Bang, available through Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers. Now, the fourth in the series, George and the Unbreakable Code, is due on bookstore and library shelves in September. Happy reading and learning!


John Nemeth Signature

John C. Nemeth, PhD
Sigma Xi Executive Director, CEO, and Publisher of American Scientist

Sigma Xi Speaks is a monthly series of articles that connects research and policy. Find past articles on Sigma Xi’s blog, Keyed In.

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