The Best of Our Knowledge
2:35 pm
Mon December 26, 2005

TBOOK # 797

Albany, NY – NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION SERIES
POWERFUL SIGNALS: TRANSFORMING THE ROLE OF
WOMEN AND GIRLS IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING
SMITH COLLEGE SUMMER SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING
PROGRAM FOR HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS: GIRLS ON THE
TRAIL OF BIODIVERSITY -
Despite advances made by women over the past three decades,
studies show the world of science remains male dominated. But
many educators and institutions are working to change that. Enter
Smith College's Summer Science and Engineering Program for High
School Girls. The Northampton, Massachusetts college is no
johnny-come-lately. Since this innovative program started in 1990,
more than 1,000 high school girls from across America and abroad
have participated. According to Smith College, 75% of the program's
graduates say it increased their interest in science and their confidence.
Each summer girls spend a full month in research courses as varied as: Designing Intelligent Robots; Telescopes and Astronomical Imaging;
and, Genetics and Ecology. Some of the guests featured in this story
include: Gail Scordilis, Director, Summer Science Program, Smith
College, Northampton, Massachusetts; Chris Davis, Biologist; Fred
Morrison, Naturalist and Teacher; Laurie Sanders, Naturalist and
Teacher; Jo Handelsman, Microbiology Teacher, University of
Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin; Andrea Minei, graduate student,
Wesleyan University; Meghan Parker, student, Redmond, Washington;
Jujet Benjamin, high school student.
Nancy Cohen reports from Massachusetts. (10:05)

The preceding material is supported by the National Science
Foundation, under grant HRD-0436130. Any opinions, findings,
conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this story are
those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect those of the
National Science Foundation.

**(Attention Program Directors. For parents or educators listening
who would like to learn more about the Smith College Summer
Science and Engineering Program, their website is: .

Also, if listeners would like more information about the many other
stories in this exclusive radio series, go to: .)**

EDUCATION HEADLINES AND UPDATES -
* Last week we brought you the story of Loyola University in New
Orleans. Its president revealed to us that in the wake of Hurricane
Katrina, one option they were considering was down sizing the school
to save money. Well, Tulane University has just announced it's following
that path. University officials plan to layoff 233 faculty, eliminate 14 doctoral programs and 5 undergraduate majors, and suspend 8 athletic teams.

* In related news, former Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton,
have announced grants of 30-million dollars for Gulf Coast higher
education institutions damaged by recent hurricanes.

* Then in our Intelligent Design update, a proposed University of Kansas
course on the mythology of Intelligent Design was cancelled a few days
ago by the professor who had planned to offer it. He felt the controversy surrounding the issue would make the course impossible to teach. In a
very strange turn of events, five days later, that same professor was
beaten by two men who he said referred to the creationism course.
And then two days after that, he resigned as Chairman of the
Department of Religious Studies.

* And finally, and perhaps to no one's surprise, according to an annual
survey just out, 41-percent of this year's bowl-bound college football
teams in the U.S. fall below the NCAA's new academic benchmark,
and almost half of them lacked a 50-percent graduation rate.
Dr. Karen Hitchcock reports. (1:45)

ORIGINS OF LIFE/SCIENCE RESEARCH IN EDUCATION SERIES
NEAR INFRARED OBSERVATIONS OF SATURN'S RINGS WITH
CASSINI - Scientists keep stretching the boundaries of outer space.
Currently, the Cassini spacecraft continues orbiting the planet Saturn.
So...why go to Saturn? With its stunning rings and dozens of moons,
Saturn is an intriguing planet for many reasons. The giant planet has
a complex magnetic environment, and a stormy atmosphere with winds
clocked at 18-hundred kilometers per hour near its equator. Many
astronomers call Saturn the jewel of the solar system.' Its rings are
what set Saturn apart from other planets. For centuries Saturn and its
rings puzzled observers. Now, its hundreds of individual rings are
believed to be made of pieces of shattered moons, comets and asteroids. TBOOK speaks with Dr. Phillip Nicholson, a member of the Visual Infrared Mapping Spectrometer Science Team on the Cassini mission. He's also a Professor of Astronomy at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.
Glenn Busby reports. (6:26)

The preceding material is supported by the National Aeronautics
and Space Administration.

**(Attention Program Directors. For listeners interested in more
information about this story, or any of the other more than 120
stories featured in this exclusive radio series, or would like to hear
them again via their computer, the website mentioned at the
conclusion of the above segment is then
click on Seminar Program.)**

 

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