NSF Science & Engineering Messengers

Archive for January 2013

Do You Have What It Takes to Be America’s Next Science Idol?

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Idol Logo PictureThink you’re a pretty good science communicator?

Dreaming of becoming the next Neil DeGrasse Tyson? 

Think you can prove your speaking skills live, under pressure, before a panel of judges? 

Want the bragging rights and prizes that will follow?

Then join us on Friday, Feb.15, at 1 p.m. in the Hynes Convention Center, Room 205, at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting to compete in America’s Science Idol, co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation Office of Legislative and Public Affairs, Discover MagazinePopular Science and the Point of Inquiry Podcast (pointofinquiry.org).

Contestants will give a 3-minute presentation on a scientific topic of their choice—with a hard time limit.You can use PowerPoint slides in your presentation (running on a PC only!).

Then they’ll be judged by the audience and our distinguished panel: Corey S. Powell, editor at large of Discover (aka Simon Cowell), Indre Viskontas (filling in for Paula Abdul), neuroscientist, opera singer and co-host of the popular Point of Inquiry podcast, andJennifer Bogo (J-Bo?), articles editor at Popular Science.

The event will be hosted by Chris Mooney (aka Ryan Seacrest), science journalist and co-host of the Point of Inquiry podcast.

The winner gets: A free one-year subscription to Discover and Popular Science; a live guest appearance on the Point of Inquiry podcast on Sunday, Feb. 17—following Steven Pinker, science’s hottest warm-up act; and the Discover DVD (all 30 years of Discover in one convenient package! $149.99 value!).

Oh, and huge bragging rights.

To throw your hat in the ring, and for technical details and specs on running PowerPoint during the contest, complete the attached form and email to Cindy Holloway at cholloway@nsf.gov, by Friday, February 1, 2013.

The application form can be found here.

Once again, all the details:


Workshop at 
AAAS 2013 Annual Meeting

1-2 p.m., Friday, Feb. 15, 2013
Room 205, Hynes Convention Center – Boston, MA

See you there!


Written by nsfmessengers

January 25, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Printing the New You: The Amazing Potential of Biofabrication Research in South Carolina

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kidney_SC--rgov-800widthThis is a sample blog post drafted for the January 16, 2013 “Science: Becoming the Messenger” workshop at Clemson University in South Carolina.

Last year, some five thousand people in the U.S. died while waiting for a kidney transplant. They weren’t the lucky ones—there was no lifesaving organ, at the last minute, coming to save them.

Now imagine that we could save all of those lives, and more, by finding a vast new source of kidneys and other organs—namely, growing them from a person’s own cells. It’s actually a lot less farfetched than it sounds: Army researchers have used a modified inkjet printer to print new skin cells to treat severe burns. Tissue engineering has already been used to rebuild a 10 year old British child’s trachea by growing a new one from his own stem cells.  Both involved laying down a relatively flat layer of human cells, but constructing three dimensional masses of cells is also happening. This is a new scientific and medical frontier that’s right now opening before our eyes.

Here in South Carolina, we’re taking a lead in this amazing field, sometimes called biofabrication. The state recently received a five year, $ 20 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s EPSCoR program (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) to dive into the basic science that will someday lead to real cures in this area. And here’s the bonus: Although the science needed to rebuild your body isn’t there yet, we’ll generate a large range of new insights—and, perhaps, new jobs and industries—along the way. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by nsfmessengers

January 16, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Posted in Uncategorized