News Archive

From the President: We'll Always Have Paris

August 25, 2017

Stuart CooperI welcome my new role as Sigma Xi’s president as of July 1. I have been most fortunate to have been mentored by Past President Tee Guidotti and former interim Executive Director and CEO John Nemeth for the past year. Tee and John led a turnaround for our Society that was just in time for us to prepare to meet the challenges that face researchers today. Tee attended to the details of strengthening our governance and financial infrastructure, and John led the way to bring Sigma Xi to the forefront of our peer professional societies. To maintain this momentum, we must grow our membership and increase our member retention through the actions of our local chapters and headquarters leadership. John came out of retirement to serve as our interim executive director and we are a stronger organization because of his efforts. We welcomed our new executive director, Jamie Vernon, on July 1 and have the highest expectations for what he will accomplish for the Society.  

Most researchers are disappointed to see the United States withdraw from the Paris climate accord. I write “most researchers” because Sigma Xi has a diversity of opinions in its membership, and we certainly expect the Society to remain an apolitical organization. As your president, however, I personally regret the decision to withdraw but look with some optimism at the large number of governors and mayors holding fast to the spirit of the plan as they move to implement energy-saving technologies that reduce our carbon footprint. Indeed, well before the Paris accord action I organized the Symposium on Atmospheric Chemistry, Climate, and Health that Sigma Xi will host on November 10 along with our Student Research Conference on November 11 in Raleigh, North Carolina. I picked the topic because as a chemical engineer and a researcher I could see the relevance of this theme to a broad swath of our membership and to society at large. Please register for the events as space is limited. The following world-class researchers are scheduled to speak. 

David Archer, The University of Chicago
Humanity and Global Warming: Views from the Carbon Cycle

Barbara Finlayson-Pitts, University of California, Irvine
The Past is Prologue: Lessons Learned for Science-Based Policies to Address Air Quality and Climate

C. Arden Pope III, Brigham Young University
Air Pollution and Health: Scientific and Public Policy Controversies

A. R. Ravishankara, Colorado State University
The Ozone Hole: From Discovery to Recovery

Jeffrey Shaman, Columbia University
Simulation and Forecast of Infectious Disease: Environmental Determinants and Transmission Dynamics

Stuart Cooper
Sigma Xi President