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Carl Wieman congratulated by SPIE and other science leaders on CSSP award

11 May 2011

Ralph James, Carl Wieman, Martin Apple at CSSP

Carl Wieman (center) receives congratulations from Ralph James (left) and Martin Apple (right) on his award from the Council of Scientific Society Presidents last week.

WASHINGTON, DC, USA, and BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA -- SPIE leaders were on hand last week to congratulate Carl Wieman, Associate Director for Science in the President's Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), on receiving the 2011 Award for Education Research Leadership from the Council of Scientific Society Presidents (CSSP). The award was made 6 May at a CSSP meeting in Washington, D.C., where Wieman encouraged society leaders to help revitalize science education.

Ralph James, SPIE Immediate Past President and CSSP Chair Elect, and Eugene Arthurs, SPIE CEO, were among scientific society leaders honoring Wieman for his strong support of science education, including his "creative leadership" in establishing innovative science education programs at the Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, and the Univ. of British Columbia, and numerous other accomplishments.

Wieman shared the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physics with Eric Cornell and Wolfgang Ketterle, for work related to their creation of the Bose-Einstein condensate.

"Carl Wieman challenged us in his banquet speech at our Optics and Photonics meeting a few years ago, pointing out that we, the science and engineering community, do not use our own test-and-improve approach in science education," Arthurs said. "Carl's passion for science education and commitment to excellence have resulted in education strategies and programs that are helping address the growing problem of poor learning outcomes and the abandonment of science by many in the new generations."

Wieman encouraged all scientific societies to help invigorate science education. There was considerable discussion at the CSSP meeting about the lack of emphasis and rewards for excellence in education in research universities, and at the same time hand-wringing over the shortage of U.S. students in postgraduate engineering programs.

CSSP President Martin Apple described for attendees a "new normal" for innovation, characterized by expectations such as sustainability, renewable energy, and green nanotechnology, engineering, and chemistry.

Apple talked about how federal fund shortages are impacting research as well as education, and urged society leaders to look for the opportunities that come along with the crises of energy security, economic failure, environmental decay, and education shortcomings. The choice, he said, is to either write or to watch "the history of our future."

Read the New York Times interivew with Wieman for more on his science education initiatives.

Ralph James, Arun Majumdar

Ralph James, left, and Arun Majumdar, head of ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy) discussed sources of sustainable and renewable energy.

Christian Joergans, Ralph James

Christian Jörgans of the German Embassy, at left above, with Ralph James; Jörgans made a presentation last month to the National Academy of Sciences' Harnessing Light II committee which is working on an update to the 1998 study of the U.S. photonics industry.

Clyde Prestowitz, Eugene Arthurs

Clyde Prestowitz, left, president of the Economic Strategy Institute, and SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs discussed Prestowitz's 2010 book, The Betrayal of American Prosperity.

SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, was founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. Serving more than 180,000 constituents from 168 countries, the Society advances emerging technologies through interdisciplinary information exchange, continuing education, publications, patent precedent and career and professional growth. SPIE annually organizes and sponsors approximately 25 major technical forums, exhibitions and education programs in North America, Europe, Asia and the South Pacific, and supports scholarships, grants and other education programs around the world.


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