The Spirit of Giving Science

by Jamie Vernon | Dec 20, 2018

Sigma Xi Speaks, December 2018

Jamie L. VernonNow that the naughty and nice lists have been finalized, it’s time to take stock of our year in science and engineering. Although some are on the naughty list for imperiling scientific integrity and challenging ethical boundaries, we can be grateful that the nice list has grown exponentially faster.

This year, scientists and engineers worldwide continued to advance human knowledge and strengthen our society.

  • As part of the IceCube collaboration, researchers successfully identified a distant blazar as the likely source of a neutrino that was detected by sensors placed beneath the South Pole, launching a new era for multi-messenger astronomy.

  • Viviane Slon, a postdoc at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, and colleagues determined through genetic analysis that Neanderthals and Denisovans lived together and produced healthy offspring. This revelation will qualitatively transform our understanding of the relationships among our ancient relatives.

  • A team of scientists from the University of California, Los Angeles, and the California Institute of Technology developed a method for rapid, unambiguous structure determination of organic compounds, potentially accelerating the speed of drug discovery.

These scientific triumphs are just a sample of the 2018 achievements that we can all celebrate.

Sigma Xi members also celebrated prominent achievements this year. For example:

  • The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded half of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics to Sigma Xi member Arthur Ashkin and gave the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences to member William D. Nordhaus.

  • May Berenbaum was appointed editor-in-chief of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

  • Seven members represented half of the new cohort of professors at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute: Julia Clarke, Robert Full, Paul Barber, Elizabeth Hadly, Margaret McFall-Ngai, Robert Wayne, and Keivan Stassun.

  • And many more!

As the New Year arrives, we can expect additional science and engineering breakthroughs, many of which will be led by Sigma Xi members and covered in American Scientist magazine. Thanks to the generosity of Sigma Xi members and friends, like you, we’re thrilled to announce that we are sending free subscriptions of American Scientist  to 650 high schools across the United States. This gift of science will enrich future scientists and engineers and ensure that the nice list will be filled with the next generation of researchers for many years to come.

Happy Holidays!

Jamie L. Vernon, PhD
Executive Director and CEO
Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society
Publisher of American Scientist

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