April 23-24, 2012
“Irrationally held truths may be more harmful than reasoned errors.” -Thomas Huxley
Sean B. Carroll
It’s Sean B. Carroll’s paired talents that make him, according to David Quammen, “our plain-spoken emissary from the next great revolution in biology.” Carroll, the Allan Wilson Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, stands at the forefront of evolutionary developmental biology, or evo-devo, the focus of his research on the evolution of new animal forms. He is also a passionate educator, bringing his love of the adventure of discovery to the public from his post as vice president for science education at Howard Hughes Medical Institute. In 2010, Carroll won the Stephen Jay Gould Prize, given in recognition of exemplary efforts to advance public understanding of evolutionary science. Carroll is the author of six books, including “Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of Species,” a 2009 National Book Award finalist. A member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Carroll contributes the “Remarkable Creatures” feature to the New York Times’ Science Times. He has been honored for his teaching by the Society for Developmental Biology and the National Association of Biology Teachers. In 1994, he was named one of Time Magazine’s most promising leaders under age 40.
Arthur Lupia reaches into the political process to tease out the way persuasion, opinion change and decision-making under uncertainty color the information collected and used by policy-makers. His insights on voting, civic competence, legislative-bureaucratic relations and political communication have informed several books, including “Stealing the Initiative: How State Government Responds to Direct Democracy,” published in 2011. Lupia is the Hal R. Varian Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan and a research professor at the university’s Institute for Social Research. The American Association of Public Opinion Research, National Academy of Sciences and American Political Science Association have all honored him for his innovative work. Creator and leader of several initiatives to promote empirical study and collaboration in the social sciences, Lupia is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
In nominating Naomi Oreskes for 2011 Climate Change Communicator of the Year, researchers John Abraham and Ben Santer said “working climate scientists have come to view Dr. Oreskes as their champion.” Now a professor of history and science studies at the University of California, San Diego, Oreskes began her career as an exploration geologist, but took a turn in her graduate studies toward history of science and the establishment of scientific consensus and the role and character of scientific dissent. Oreskes’ 2010 book, “Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming,” written with Erik Conway, described efforts by a group of scientists to portray as debatable the established research findings on topics like smoking, climate change and ozone depletion. Her 2004 essay for the journal Science, “The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change,” was cited in the Academy Award-winning film “An Inconvenient Truth,” and Ian McEwan’s novel, “Solar.”
Gary Schwitzer is to health care journalism as Darwin was to barnacles, according to the Association of Health Care Journalists, as his “micro-level scrutiny of the industry has left him uniquely equipped to tackle the big picture stuff as well.” Schwitzer has specialized in health care reporting for nearly 40 years, 15 of them working in television news in Milwaukee, Dallas and at CNN. The founding editor-in-chief of MayoClinic.com and — for nine years — an instructor in journalism and media ethics at the University of Minnesota, Schwitzer is now publisher of HealthNewsReview.org.The website won a Mirror Award and Knight-Batten Award for Innovations in Journalism, and Schwitzer’s blog topped a best medical blog vote in 2009. His writing about the state of health journalism has been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the British Medical Journal, the American Journal of Bioethics, the Journal of Medical Internet Research, PLoS Medicine, Nieman Reports, Quill, Columbia Journalism Review, Poynter.org, The Daily Beast and The American Editor.