Table of Contents
Education Environmental Issues Health and Medicine Engineering National Security Events and Open Meetings


National Academies Unveil Evolution Web Page

The National Academies have designed a new Web page to allow easy access to books, position statements, and additional resources on evolution education and research. Evolution is one of science's most robust theories, and the National Academies have long supported the position that evolution should be taught as a central element in any science education program. Over the past several years, there has been a growing movement around the country to include non-scientifically based "alternatives" in science courses. Currently there are challenges to the teaching of evolution in some 40 states or local school districts.

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Environmental Issues

Science Academies Issue Statement on Climate Change

The US National Academy of Sciences joined 10 other national science academies today in calling on world leaders, particularly those of the G-8 countries meeting next month in Scotland, to acknowledge that the threat of climate change is clear and increasing, to address its causes, and to prepare for its consequences. Sufficient scientific understanding of climate change exists for all nations to identify cost-effective steps that can be taken now to contribute to substantial and long-term reductions in net global greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. The statement echoes the findings and recommendations of several previous reports by the US National Academies.


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Health and Medicine

Confronting the Nation's Health Disparities

"Confronting the Nation's Health Disparities" is the topic of the Spring 2005 Institute of Medicine (IOM) Newsletter, which is now also available to read online.

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Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation May Cause Harm

A preponderance of scientific evidence shows that even low doses of ionizing radiation, such as gamma rays and X-rays, are likely to pose some risk of adverse health effects, says a new report from the National Research Council. In living organisms, such radiation can cause DNA damage that could eventually lead to cancers. The report provides a comprehensive assessment of these risks based on a review of the scientific literature from the past 15 years. It is the seventh in a series of assessments from the Research Council called the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation.

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Engineers of Tomorrow Need Broader Training Today

Today's engineering students may not be adequately educated to meet the demands that will be made of their profession in 2020, says a new report from the National Academy of Engineering. The undergraduate engineering experience needs to be reshaped to attract students to the profession, prepare them to compete in the global marketplace, and ensure that America's pre-eminence in engineering is not lost.

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National Security

Public Buildings Should Prepare for Biological Attack

Facility managers of government offices, airports, and other high-profile public buildings should form operations working groups to develop plans for responding to a biological attack, says a new report from the National Research Council. The groups should include all relevant stakeholders, including employees who work in the buildings, and the public should participate in decisions about when to reopen a facility after an attack.

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Academies' Presidents Comment on US Commerce Dept. Proposal

Recommended changes in export policy from the Office of the Inspector General of the US Department of Commerce would weaken both national security and economic competitiveness, says a statement from the National Academies' presidents. American innovation and research in science, engineering, and health care could be dramatically impeded. Proposed changes must be further clarified before any actions are taken, the statement says.

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PNAS Publishes Article on Protecting the Milk Supply

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) announces publication of "Analyzing a Bioterror Attack on the Food Supply: The Case of Botulinum Toxin in Milk," an article by Lawrence M. Wein and Yifan Liu of Stanford University that describes a mathematical model of the use of botulinum toxin in a terrorist attack on the US milk supply. It also considers the potential consequences of such an attack. This article and an accompanying editorial by National Academy of Sciences President Bruce Alberts are available online. Both will appear in the July 12, 2005, print edition of PNAS.

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Events and Open Meetings

MEETING: Assessment of the US Drug Safety System

The meeting will be held July 19-21 at the National Academy of Sciences Building, 2100 C St. NW in Washington. The meeting will be open to the public July 19th 3:00pm-6:00pm and July 20th 1:00pm-5:30pm. The first open session will be devoted to hearing public statements, which may help the committee in its assessment of the current system for evaluating and ensuring drug safety post-marketing and in formulating recommendations to improve risk assessment, surveillance, and the safe use of drugs. Information about speaker sign-ups and about nonpresenters' attendance is included at the attached link.

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MEETING: Workshop on Disability in America

The Committee on Disability in America: A New Look will hold a workshop to consider continuing gaps in disability science and the evidence base for public and private actions to reduce the impact of disability and related conditions on individuals and society in the United States. The workshop will take place August 1-2 at the Academies' Keck Center in Washington. A draft agenda is posted at the accompanying link. If you would like to attend the sessions of this meeting that are open to the public or need more information please contact Ayanna N. Vest, by e-mail at <> or by telephone at 202 334 2360.

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