Tag Archives: science

Top Titles of 2012

“Mendel’s concept of the laws of genetics was lost to the world for a generation because his publication did not reach the few who were capable of grasping and extending it.” — Vannevar Bush

Science has the power to change the world–but only if people know about it. We want everyone in the world to have access to the scientific knowledge we have to share. To help people discover information and ideas that can make this world a better place, we decided last year to make the great majority of our reports—more than 5,000 of them–free to download from our website. This year alone, there were over 1.5 million downloads from NAP.edu. That’s twice as many as the year before!

Curious to see what grabbed our readers’ attention most in our first full year of offering PDFs free to download? What were the hottest topics for NAP.edu visitors this year? We compiled a list of the top 50 most downloaded reports throughout 2012.

 

Happy New Year!
The National Academies Press

 

A Framework for K-12 Science Education

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A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas400 pages | Paperback | Price: $35.95Science, engineering, and technology permeate nearly every facet of modern life and hold the key to solving many of humanity’s most pressing current and future challenges. The United States’ position in the global economy is declining, in part because U.S…. [more]

Best Care at Lower Cost

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Best Care at Lower Cost: The Path to Continuously Learning Health Care in America450 pages | Hardcover | Price: $71.10America’s health care system has become too complex and costly to continue business as usual. Best Care at Lower Cost explains that inefficiencies, an overwhelming amount of data, and other economic and quality barriers hinder progress in improving… [more]

Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention

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Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation462 pages | Paperback | Price: $44.10One-third of adults are now obese, and children’s obesity rates have climbed from 5 to 17 percent in the past 30 years. The causes of the nation’s obesity epidemic are multi-factorial, having much more to do with the absence of sidewalks and the limited… [more]

Education for Life and Work

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Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century256 pages | Paperback | Price: $44.95Americans have long recognized that investments in public education contribute to the common good, enhancing national prosperity and supporting stable families, neighborhoods, and communities. Education is even more critical today, in the face of economic,… [more]

Research Universities and the Future of America

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Research Universities and the Future of America: Ten Breakthrough Actions Vital to Our Nation’s Prosperity and Security250 pages | Paperback | Price: $44.10Research Universities and the Future of America presents critically important strategies for ensuring that our nation’s research universities contribute strongly to America’s prosperity, security, and national goals. Widely considered the best… [more]

Primary Care and Public Health

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Primary Care and Public Health: Exploring Integration to Improve Population Health192 pages | Paperback | Price: $40.50Ensuring that members of society are healthy and reaching their full potential requires the prevention of disease and injury; the promotion of health and well-being; the assurance of conditions in which people can be healthy; and the provision of timely,… [more]

Discipline-Based Education Research

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Discipline-Based Education Research: Understanding and Improving Learning in Undergraduate Science and Engineering263 pages | Paperback | Price: $44.10The National Science Foundation funded a synthesis study on the status, contributions, and future direction of discipline-based education research (DBER) in physics, biological sciences, geosciences, and chemistry. DBER combines knowledge of teaching and… [more]

Living Well with Chronic Illness

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Living Well with Chronic Illness: A Call for Public Health Action350 pages | Paperback | Price: $56.70In the United States, chronic diseases currently account for 70 percent of all deaths, and close to 48 million Americans report a disability related to a chronic condition. Today, about one in four Americans have multiple diseases and the prevalence and… [more]

Health IT and Patient Safety

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Health IT and Patient Safety: Building Safer Systems for Better Care211 pages | Paperback | Price: $43.20IOM’s 1999 landmark study To Err is Human estimated that between 44,000 and 98,000 lives are lost every year due to medical errors. This call to action has led to a number of efforts to reduce errors and provide safe and effective health care…. [more]

Crisis Standards of Care

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Crisis Standards of Care: A Systems Framework for Catastrophic Disaster Response516 pages | Hardcover | Price: $80.10Catastrophic disasters occurring in 2011 in the United States and worldwide–from the tornado in Joplin, Missouri, to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, to the earthquake in New Zealand–have demonstrated that even prepared communities can be overwhelmed…. [more]

For the Public's Health

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For the Public’s Health: Investing in a Healthier Future296 pages | Paperback | Price: $52.20The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation asked the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to examine three topics in relation to public health: measurement, the law, and funding. IOM prepared a three report series–one report on each topic–that contains actionable… [more]

NASA Space Technology Roadmaps and Priorities

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NASA Space Technology Roadmaps and Priorities: Restoring NASA’s Technological Edge and Paving the Way for a New Era in Space122 pages | Paperback | Price: $34.20NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT) has begun to rebuild the advanced space technology program in the agency with plans laid out in 14 draft technology roadmaps. It has been years since NASA has had a vigorous, broad-based program in advanced space… [more]

Water Reuse

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Water Reuse: Potential for Expanding the Nation’s Water Supply Through Reuse of Municipal Wastewater262 pages | Hardcover | Price: $57.60Expanding water reuse–the use of treated wastewater for beneficial purposes including irrigation, industrial uses, and drinking water augmentation–could significantly increase the nation’s total available water resources. Water Reuse presents a… [more]

Evolution of Translational Omics

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Evolution of Translational Omics: Lessons Learned and the Path Forward338 pages | Paperback | Price: $57.60Technologies collectively called omics enable simultaneous measurement of an enormous number of biomolecules; for example, genomics investigates thousands of DNA sequences, and proteomics examines large numbers of proteins. Scientists are using these… [more]

Improving Measurement of Productivity in Higher Education

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Improving Measurement of Productivity in Higher Education230 pages | Paperback | Price: $42.30Higher education is a linchpin of the American economy and society: Teaching and research at colleges and universities contribute significantly to the nation’s economic activity, both directly and through their impact on future growth; federal and state… [more]

Disaster Resilience

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Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative244 pages | Paperback | Price: $44.10No person or place is immune from disasters or disaster-related losses. Infectious disease outbreaks, acts of terrorism, social unrest, or financial disasters in addition to natural hazards can all lead to large-scale consequences for the nation and its… [more]

Measuring Progress in Obesity Prevention

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Measuring Progress in Obesity Prevention: Workshop Report158 pages | Paperback | Price: $35.10Nearly 69 percent of U.S. adults and 32 percent of children are either overweight or obese, creating an annual medical cost burden that may reach $147 billion. Researchers and policy makers are eager to identify improved measures of environmental and policy… [more]

Sea-Level Rise for the Coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington

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Sea-Level Rise for the Coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington: Past, Present, and Future201 pages | Paperback | Price: $48.60Tide gages show that global sea level has risen about 7 inches during the 20th century, and recent satellite data show that the rate of sea-level rise is accelerating. As Earth warms, sea levels are rising mainly because ocean water expands as it warms; and… [more]

Thinking Evolutionarily

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Thinking Evolutionarily: Evolution Education Across the Life Sciences: Summary of a Convocation96 pages | Paperback | Price: $32.40Evolution is the central unifying theme of biology. Yet today, more than a century and a half after Charles Darwin proposed the idea of evolution through natural selection, the topic is often relegated to a handful of chapters in textbooks and a few class… [more]

Induced Seismicity Potential in Energy Technologies

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Induced Seismicity Potential in Energy Technologies300 pages | Paperback | Price: $51.30In the past several years, some energy technologies that inject or extract fluid from the Earth, such as oil and gas development and geothermal energy development, have been found or suspected to cause seismic events, drawing heightened public… [more]

Assessing the Reliability of Complex Models

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Assessing the Reliability of Complex Models: Mathematical and Statistical Foundations of Verification, Validation, and Uncertainty Quantification131 pages | Paperback | Price: $37.80Advances in computing hardware and algorithms have dramatically improved the ability to simulate complex processes computationally. Today’s simulation capabilities offer the prospect of addressing questions that in the past could be addressed only  by… [more]

Adverse Effects of Vaccines

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Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality892 pages | Hardcover | Price: $71.95In 1900, for every 1,000 babies born in the United States, 100 would die before their first birthday, often due to infectious diseases. Today, vaccines exist for many viral and bacterial diseases. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, passed in 1986, was… [more]

Fueling Innovation and Discovery

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Fueling Innovation and Discovery: The Mathematical Sciences in the 21st Century57 pages | Paperback | Price: $17.95The mathematical sciences are part of everyday life. Modern communication, transportation, science, engineering, technology, medicine, manufacturing, security, and finance all depend on the mathematical sciences. Fueling Innovation and Discovery[more]

Ethical and Scientific Issues in Studying the Safety of Approved Drugs

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Ethical and Scientific Issues in Studying the Safety of Approved Drugs275 pages | Paperback | Price: $49.50An estimated 48 percent of the population takes at least one prescription drug in a given month. Drugs provide great benefits to society by saving or improving lives. Many drugs are also associated with side effects or adverse events, some serious and some… [more]

Optics and Photonics

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Optics and Photonics: Essential Technologies for Our Nation280 pages | Paperback | Price: $48.60Optics and photonics technologies are ubiquitous: they are responsible for the displays on smart phones and computing devices, optical fiber that carries the information in the internet, advanced precision manufacturing, enhanced defense capabilities, and a… [more]

Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Military and Veteran Populations

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Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Military and Veteran Populations: Initial Assessment396 pages | Paperback | Price: $56.70Prior to the military conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, wars and conflicts have been characterized by such injuries as infectious diseases and catastrophic gunshot wounds. However, the signature injuries sustained by United States military personnel in these… [more]

Making Sense of Ballistic Missile Defense

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Making Sense of Ballistic Missile Defense: An Assessment of Concepts and Systems for U.S. Boost-Phase Missile Defense in Comparison to Other Alternatives296 pages | Paperback | Price: $55.80The Committee on an Assessment of Concepts and Systems for U.S. Boost-Phase Missile Defense in Comparison to Other Alternatives set forth to provide an assessment of the feasibility, practicality, and affordability of U.S. boost-phase missile defense compared… [more]

A Research Strategy for Environmental, Health, and Safety Aspects of Engineered Nanomaterials

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A Research Strategy for Environmental, Health, and Safety Aspects of Engineered Nanomaterials212 pages | Paperback | Price: $51.30The nanotechnology sector, which generated about $225 billion in product sales in 2009, is predicted to expand rapidly over the next decade with the development of new technologies that have new capabilities. The increasing production and use of engineered… [more]

Challenges and Opportunities in the Hydrologic Sciences

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Challenges and Opportunities in the Hydrologic Sciences200 pages | Paperback | Price: $45.00New research opportunities to advance hydrologic sciences promise a better understanding of the role of water in the Earth system that could help improve human welfare and the health of the environment. Reaching this understanding will require both… [more]

Solar and Space Physics

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Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society454 pages | Paperback | Price: $60.30From the interior of the Sun, to the upper atmosphere and near-space environment of Earth, and outward to a region far beyond Pluto where the Sun’s influence wanes, advances during the past decade in space physics and solar physics–the disciplines NASA… [more]

Ecosystem Services

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Ecosystem Services: Charting a Path to Sustainability121 pages | Paperback | Price: $36.90Natural environments provide enormously valuable, but largely unappreciated, services that aid humans and other earthlings. It is becoming clear that these life-support systems are faltering and failing worldwide due to human actions that disrupt nature’s… [more]

Improving Adult Literacy Instruction

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Improving Adult Literacy Instruction: Options for Practice and Research504 pages | Paperback | Price: $58.50A high level of literacy in both print and digital media is required for negotiating most aspects of 21st-century life, including supporting a family, education, health, civic participation, and competitiveness in the global economy. Yet, more than 90 million… [more]

Improving the Decision Making Abilities of Small Unit Leaders

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Improving the Decision Making Abilities of Small Unit Leaders115 pages | Paperback | Price: $37.80For the past decade, the U.S. Marine Corps and its sister services have been engaged in what has been termed “hybrid warfare,” which ranges from active combat to civilian support. Hybrid warfare typically occurs in environments where all modes of war are… [more]

The Role of Obesity in Cancer Survival and Recurrence

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The Role of Obesity in Cancer Survival and Recurrence: Workshop Summary110 pages | Paperback | Price: $35.10Recent research suggests that obesity and excess weight can play a prominent role in the incidence and progression of various cancers. Obesity results from an energy imbalance – that is, energy intake that is higher than energy expenditure – could also… [more]

Frontiers of Engineering 2011

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Frontiers of Engineering 2011: Reports on Leading-Edge Engineering from the 2011 Symposium174 pages | Paperback | Price: $40.50The practice of engineering is continually changing. Engineers today must be able not only to thrive in an environment of rapid technological change and globalization, but also to work on interdisciplinary teams. Cutting-edge research is being done at the… [more]

Earth Science and Applications from Space

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Earth Science and Applications from Space: A Midterm Assessment of NASA’s Implementation of the Decadal Survey124 pages | Paperback | Price: $40.50Understanding the effects of natural and human-induced changes on the global environment and their implications requires a foundation of integrated observations of land, sea, air and space, on which to build credible information products, forecast models, and… [more]

Continuing Innovation in Information Technology

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Continuing Innovation in Information Technology42 pages | Paperback | Price: $24.30Information technology (IT) is widely understood to be the enabling technology of the 21st century. IT has transformed, and continues to transform, all aspects of our lives: commerce and finance, education, employment, energy, health care, manufacturing,… [more]

Genome-Based Diagnostics

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Genome-Based Diagnostics: Clarifying Pathways to Clinical Use: Workshop Summary83 pages | Paperback | Price: $31.50The sequencing of the human genome and the identification of associations between specific genetic variants and diseases have led to an explosion of genomic-based diagnostic tests. These tests have the potential to direct therapeutic interventions, predict… [more]

In the Light of Evolution V

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In the Light of Evolution V: Cooperation and Conflict466 pages | Hardcover | Price: $80.77Biodiversity–the genetic variety of life–is an exuberant product of the evolutionary past, a vast human-supportive resource (aesthetic, intellectual, and material) of the present, and a rich legacy to cherish and preserve for the future. Two urgent… [more]

Epilepsy Across the Spectrum

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Epilepsy Across the Spectrum: Promoting Health and Understanding537 pages | Not for SaleAlthough epilepsy is one of the nation’s most common neurological disorders, public understanding of it is limited. Many people do not know the causes of epilepsy or what they should do if they see someone having a seizure. Epilepsy is a complex spectrum of… [more]

Essential Health Benefits

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Essential Health Benefits: Balancing Coverage and Cost256 pages | Paperback | Price: $48.60In 2010, an estimated 50 million people were uninsured in the United States. A portion of the uninsured reflects unemployment rates; however, this rate is primarily a reflection of the fact that when most health plans meet an individual’s needs, most times,… [more]

Using Science as Evidence in Public Policy

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Using Science as Evidence in Public Policy110 pages | Paperback | Price: $34.20Using Science as Evidence in Public Policy encourages scientists to think differently about the use of scientific evidence in policy making. This report investigates why scientific evidence is important to policy making and argues that an extensive… [more]

Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities

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Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities: Phase I412 pages | Paperback | Price: $61.20In the late 1980s, the National Cancer Institute initiated an investigation of cancer risks in populations near 52 commercial nuclear power plants and 10 Department of Energy nuclear facilities (including research and nuclear weapons production facilities and… [more]

Exposure Science in the 21st Century

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Exposure Science in the 21st Century: A Vision and a Strategy196 pages | Paperback | Price: $42.30From the use of personal products to our consumption of food, water, and air, people are exposed to a wide array of agents each day–many with the potential to affect health. Exposure Science in the 21st Century: A Vision and A Strategy investigates… [more]

A National Strategy for Advancing Climate Modeling

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A National Strategy for Advancing Climate Modeling300 pages | Paperback | Price: $55.80As climate change has pushed climate patterns outside of historic norms, the need for detailed projections is growing across all sectors, including agriculture, insurance, and emergency preparedness planning. A National Strategy for Advancing Climate… [more]

Sustainable Development of Algal Biofuels

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Sustainable Development of Algal Biofuels246 pages | Paperback | Price: $57.60Biofuels made from algae are gaining attention as a domestic source of renewable fuel. However, with current technologies, scaling up production of algal biofuels to meet even 5 percent of U.S. transportation fuel needs could create unsustainable demands for… [more]

Deterrence and the Death Penalty

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Deterrence and the Death Penalty144 pages | Paperback | Price: $37.80Many studies during the past few decades have sought to determine whether the death penalty has any deterrent effect on homicide rates. Researchers have reached widely varying, even contradictory, conclusions. Some studies have concluded that the threat of… [more]

Rising to the Challenge

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Rising to the Challenge: U.S. Innovation Policy for Global Economy573 pages | Paperback | Price: $64.80America’s position as the source of much of the world’s global innovation has been the foundation of its economic vitality and military power in the post-war. No longer is U.S. pre-eminence assured as a place to turn laboratory discoveries into new commercial… [more]

Computing Research for Sustainability

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Computing Research for Sustainability155 pages | Paperback | Price: $43.20A broad and growing literature describes the deep and multidisciplinary nature of the sustainability challenges faced by the United States and the world. Despite the profound technical challenges involved, sustainability is not, at its root, a technical… [more]

Community Colleges in the Evolving STEM Education Landscape

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Community Colleges in the Evolving STEM Education Landscape: Summary of a Summit156 pages | Paperback | Price: $36.90The National Research Council (NRC) and National Academy of Engineering (NAE) have released a new report, Community Colleges in the Evolving STEM Education Landscape: Summary of a Summit. Based on a national summit that was supported by the National… [more]

Diversity in Higher Education: Strengthening the Science, Technology, and Engineering Workforce

For the United States to maintain global leadership and competitiveness in science and technology we must grow a strong, talented, and innovative science and technology workforce. To achieve this goal, the National Research Council, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine have published reports that focus on ensuring that we draw on the minds and talents of all Americans, including women and racial/ethnic minorities who are underrepresented in science and engineering. These reports explore diversity in higher education and make recommendations to increase the number of women and underrepresented minority scientists and engineers. All of these titles are free to download for personal use.

Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation
Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads

In order for the United States to maintain the global leadership and competitiveness in science and technology that are critical to achieving national goals, we must invest in research, encourage innovation, and grow a strong and talented science and…
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Gender Differences at Critical Transitions in the Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty
Gender Differences at Critical Transitions in the Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty

Gender Differences at Critical Transitions in the Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty presents new and surprising findings about career differences between female and male full-time, tenure-track, and tenured faculty in science,…
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Understanding Interventions That Encourage Minorities to Pursue Research Careers
Understanding Interventions That Encourage Minorities to Pursue Research Careers: Summary of a Workshop

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Biological, Social, and Organizational Components of Success for Women in Academic Science and Engineering
Biological, Social, and Organizational Components of Success for Women in Academic Science and Engineering: Workshop Report

During the last 40 years, the number of women studying science and engineering (S&E) has increased dramatically. Nevertheless, women do not hold academic faculty positions in numbers that commensurate with their increasing share of the S&E talent pool. The…
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Beyond Bias and Barriers
Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering

The United States economy relies on the productivity, entrepreneurship, and creativity of its people. To maintain its scientific and engineering leadership amid increasing economic and educational globalization, the United States must aggressively pursue the…
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Opportunities to Address Clinical Research Workforce Diversity Needs for 2010
Opportunities to Address Clinical Research Workforce Diversity Needs for 2010

Based on a 2003 workshop, this study describes current public and private programs and recommends ways to recruit and retain more women and underrepresented minorities into clinical research, especially physician-scientists and nurses. Federal sponsors should…
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To Recruit and Advance
To Recruit and Advance: Women Students and Faculty in Science and Engineering

Although more women than men participate in higher education in the
United States, the same is not true when it comes to pursuing careers in science
and engineering. To Recruit and Advance: Women Students and Faculty in
Science and Engineering identifies and…
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Take 5 for Summer Reading

So many books, so little time! Let us help you narrow down the choices with our top five picks for your summer reading list. Buy one or more of the titles below and use discount code ES2011 to save 25%.

America's Climate Choices
Paperback
$29.95 $22.46
1x1-Spacer America’s Climate Choices

America’s Climate Choices makes the case that the environmental, economic, and humanitarian risks posed by climate change indicate a pressing need for substantial action now to limit the magnitude of climate change and to prepare for adapting to its impacts…Read More

Ocean Acidification
Paperback
$32.00 $24.00
1x1-Spacer Ocean Acidification: A National Strategy to Meet the Challenges of a Changing Ocean

The ocean has absorbed a significant portion of all human-made carbon dioxide emissions. This benefits human society by moderating the rate of climate change, but also causes unprecedented changes to ocean chemistry. Ocean Acidification reviews the current knowledge on ocean acidification and considers the impact on ecosystems and society…Read More

Surrounded by Science
Paperback
$24.95 $18.71
1x1-Spacer Surrounded by Science: Learning Science in Informal Environments

Surrounded by Science makes valuable research about informal science learning accessible to those who are interested in ensuring that people of all ages, from different backgrounds and cultures, have a positive learning experience in environments such as museums, after-school programs, science and technology centers, media enterprises, libraries, aquariums, zoos, and botanical gardens…Read More

Enhancing Food Safety
Paperback
$71.00 $53.25
1x1-Spacer Enhancing Food Safety: The Role of the Food and Drug Administration

Recent outbreaks of illnesses traced to contaminated food illustrate the holes that exist in the system for monitoring problems and preventing foodborne diseases. Enhancing Food Safety explores the development and implementation of a stronger, more effective food safety system built on a risk-based approach to food safety management…Read More

Local Government Actions to Prevent Childhood Obesity
Paperback
$29.00 $21.75
1x1-Spacer Local Government Actions to Prevent Childhood Obesity

The prevalence of childhood obesity is so high in the United States that it may reduce the life expectancy of today’s generation of children. Local Government Actions to Prevent Childhood Obesity offers healthy eating and physical activity strategies for local, state, and federal governments to consider…Read More

Promoting Minority Participation in Science and Technology Careers: Keeping America Innovative and Competitive

The U.S. labor market is projected to grow faster in science and engineering than in any other sector in the coming years. Minorities are the fastest growing groups of the population but have the least amount of representation in these fields. This is especially true of underrepresented minorities—including African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans— who comprised just over 9 percent of the overall total of minority college-educated Americans in science and engineering occupations in 2006. This number would need to triple to match the share of minorities in the U.S. population. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads explores the role of diversity in the science, technology, engineering and medicine (STEM) workforce and its value in keeping America innovative and competitive. In the words of Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, chairman of the committee that authored this new report:

Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation highlights the challenges America faces in ensuring that all students, especially minorities, receive high-quality math and science education, pre-K through graduate education. The report also gives guidance to policy-makers on closing the achievement gap, reducing attrition for undergraduate STEM majors, and increasing financial and academic support. To remain globally competitive, the nation will need to increase substantially the number of Americans from diverse backgrounds who excel in STEM fields at all levels.

Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation builds on the landmark 2007 title, Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future. A 2010 follow-up to that publication, Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited: Rapidly Approaching Category 5, repeats and reinforces the message of the original book for improvement and increased diversity in science education in order to strengthen our science and technology workforce for a globally competitive America.

These reports and others from the National Research Council can inform decision-making and discussion about STEM education, from kindergarten through graduate school.

Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation  

Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads

In order for the United States to maintain the global leadership and competitiveness in science and technology that are critical to achieving national goals, we must invest in research, encourage innovation, and grow a strong and talented science and…
Details

Rising Above the Gathering Storm  

Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future

In a world where advanced knowledge is widespread and low-cost labor is readily available, U.S. advantages in the marketplace and in science and technology have begun to erode. A comprehensive and coordinated federal effort is urgently needed to bolster U.S….
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Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited  

Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited: Rapidly Approaching Category 5

In the face of so many daunting near-term challenges, U.S. government and industry are letting the crucial strategic issues of U.S. competitiveness slip below the surface. Five years ago, the National Academies prepared Rising Above the Gathering…
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Gender Differences at Critical Transitions in the Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty  

Gender Differences at Critical Transitions in the Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty

Gender Differences at Critical Transitions in the Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty presents new and surprising findings about career differences between female and male full-time, tenure-track, and tenured faculty in science,…
Details

Engaging Schools  

Engaging Schools: Fostering High School Students’ Motivation to Learn

When it comes to motivating people to learn, disadvantaged urban adolescents are usually perceived as a hard sell. Yet, in a recent MetLife survey, 89 percent of the low-income students claimed I really want to learn applied to them.

What is it about…
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Educating the Engineer of 2020  

Educating the Engineer of 2020: Adapting Engineering Education to the New Century

Phase I in the Engineer of 2020 project, Visions of Engineering in the New Century, described a set of
attributes that are expected to be necessary for engineers that will perform well in a world that is driven by rapid
technological advancement,…
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Engineering in K-12 Education  

Engineering in K-12 Education: Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects

Engineering education in K-12 classrooms is a small but growing phenomenon that may have implications for engineering and also for the other “STEM” subjects–science, technology, and mathematics. Specifically, engineering education may improve student…
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Changing the Conversation  

Changing the Conversation: Messages for Improving Public Understanding of Engineering

Can the United States continue to lead the world in innovation? The answer may hinge in part on how well the public understands engineering, a key component of the ‘innovation engine’. A related concern is how to encourage young people–particularly girls and…
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Surrounded by Science  

Surrounded by Science: Learning Science in Informal Environments

Practitioners in informal science settings–museums, after-school programs, science and technology centers, media enterprises, libraries, aquariums, zoos, and botanical gardens–are interested in finding out what learning looks like, how to measure it, and…
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Ready, Set, SCIENCE!  

Ready, Set, SCIENCE!: Putting Research to Work in K-8 Science Classrooms

What types of instructional experiences help K-8 students learn science with understanding? What do science educators teachers, teacher leaders, science specialists, professional development staff, curriculum designers, school administrators need to know to…
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Mathematics Learning in Early Childhood  

Mathematics Learning in Early Childhood: Paths Toward Excellence and Equity

Early childhood mathematics is vitally important for young children’s present and future educational success. Research has demonstrated that virtually all young children have the capability to learn and become competent in mathematics. Furthermore, young…
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How Students Learn  

How Students Learn: Mathematics in the Classroom

 

The Nation’s Science Report Card: Perspectives from the Board on Science Education

On the National Assessment of Educational Progress 2009 Science Report Card released last Tuesday, the United States received an overall grade of “needs improvement.” The test, which measures science proficiency, was administered to 4th, 8th, and 12th graders and underscores one of the major focal points of President Obama’s State of the Union address: the need to improve science education in the United States. Four in ten 12th grade students did not perform even at a basic level of science understanding, and only about a fifth were judged to be proficient in science, with just 1% performing at an advanced level. Furthermore, there is still a strong gap in the achievement of students based on ethnicity, educational attainment of parents and caregivers, and family income. The National Research Council’s Board on Science Education has produced a number of reports that discuss research and provide practical guidance to improve science education. We asked Tom Keller, Senior Program Officer with the board, for his thoughts.

“There has not been such momentum in science education in this country since the 1960s, and in contrast to the times when the nation responded to the Sputnik shock, we now know much more about effective science learning and teaching. Foundational work has been and is underway in the National Academies’ Board on Science Education (BOSE) that summarizes the enormous progress we have made through learning and education research over the last 20 years. BOSE published two seminal studies and their derivative products in two major areas of science learning: K-8 in schools, and the whole area of out-of-school or informal science learning. The report on learning science in K-8 classrooms, Taking Science to School: Learning and Teaching Science in Grades K-8, and the associated practitioner volume Ready, Set SCIENCE!: Putting Research to Work in K-8 Science Classrooms have become important resources for classroom-based science teaching. The two reports on learning science in informal environments, Learning Science in Informal Environments: People, Places, and Pursuits, and its practitioner volume Surrounded by Science: Learning Science in Informal Environments are beginning to influence how museums, science centers, zoos and aquariums, and other institutions of informal learning think about their products for their public. Taking Science to School cites the research evidence and builds the case for the teaching and learning of more rigorous content than has been the usual. And proficiency has been defined as encompassing four strands of scientific proficiency – understanding scientific explanations, generating scientific evidence, reflecting on scientific knowledge and participating productively in science. Science is not just a body of facts; it is what you know, how you use that knowledge and how that knowledge helps you understand the world. The reports on informal learning expanded on these four strands of science proficiency by acknowledging more specifically the role of interest and motivation, and by addressing the crucial role of identity as a science learner.

“A number of factors are converging, leading to an unprecedented effort in science and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education. Just recently, the Carnegie Corporation and the Institute for Advanced Studies released the Opportunity Equation, which lays out a framework for aligning the entire science education enterprise. The Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association led the creation of the Common Core State Standards Initiative in English language arts and mathematics. The president initiated the Race to the Top education reform efforts, Educate to Innovate, and Change the Equation. The President’s Council of Advisors in Science and Technology and the National Science Board each put forth their reports on K-12 science education. The National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council is currently finalizing a framework for next generation science standards and is working in a unique partnership with AAAS, NSTA, and Achieve on the framework and standards.”

National Research Council publications can certainly inform discussions and promote science education to move us from a “needs improvement” category to “clearly outstanding,” though it will take effort throughout the entire education system to get us there.

Taking Science to School

Taking Science to School: Learning and Teaching Science in Grades K-8

What is science for a child? How do children learn about science and how to do science? Drawing on a vast array of work from neuroscience to classroom observation, Taking Science to School provides a comprehensive picture of what we know about…
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Ready, Set, SCIENCE!

Ready, Set, SCIENCE!: Putting Research to Work in K-8 Science Classrooms

What types of instructional experiences help K-8 students learn science with understanding? What do science educators teachers, teacher leaders, science specialists, professional development staff, curriculum designers, school administrators need to know to…
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Learning Science in Informal Environments

Learning Science in Informal Environments: People, Places, and Pursuits

Informal science is a burgeoning field that operates across a broad range of venues and envisages learning outcomes for individuals, schools, families, and society. The evidence base that describes informal science, its promise, and effects is informed by a…
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Surrounded by Science

Surrounded by Science: Learning Science in Informal Environments

Practitioners in informal science settings–museums, after-school programs, science and technology centers, media enterprises, libraries, aquariums, zoos, and botanical gardens–are interested in finding out what learning looks like, how to measure it, and…
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Learning Science Through Computer Games and Simulations

Learning Science Through Computer Games and Simulations

At a time when scientific and technological competence is vital to the nation’s future, the weak performance of U.S. students in science reflects the uneven quality of current science education.  Although young children come to school with innate…
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Exploring the Intersection of Science Education and 21st Century Skills

Exploring the Intersection of Science Education and 21st Century Skills: A Workshop Summary

An emerging body of research suggests that a set of broad “21st century skills”–such as adaptability, complex communication skills, and the ability to solve non-routine problems–are valuable across a wide range of jobs in the national economy. However, the…
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Nurturing and Sustaining Effective Programs in Science Education for Grades K-8

Nurturing and Sustaining Effective Programs in Science Education for Grades K-8: Building a Village in California: Summary of a Convocation

K-8 science education in California (as in many other parts of the country) is in a state of crisis. K-8 students in California spend too little time studying science, many of their teachers are not well prepared in the subject, and the support system for…
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Engineering in K-12 Education

Engineering in K-12 Education: Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects

Engineering education in K-12 classrooms is a small but growing phenomenon that may have implications for engineering and also for the other “STEM” subjects–science, technology, and mathematics. Specifically, engineering education may improve student…
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Science, Evolution, and Creationism

Science, Evolution, and Creationism

How did life evolve on Earth? The answer to this question can help us understand our past and prepare for our future. Although evolution provides credible and reliable answers, polls show that many people turn away from science, seeking other explanations with…
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America's Lab Report

America’s Lab Report: Investigations in High School Science

Laboratory experiences as a part of most U.S. high science curricula have
been taken for granted for decades, but they have rarely been carefully
examined. What do they contribute to science learning? What can they
contribute to science learning? What is the…
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How Students Learn

How Students Learn: Science in the Classroom

How Students Learn: Science in the Classroom builds on the discoveries detailed in the best-selling How People Learn. Now these findings are presented in a way that teachers can use immediately, to revitalize their work in the classroom for even…
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How People Learn

How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School: Expanded Edition

This popular trade book, originally released in hardcover in the Spring of 1999, has been newly expanded to show how the theories and insights from the original book can translate into actions and practice, now making a real connection between classroom…
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State of the Union Highlights

In Tuesday’s State of the Union address, the President touched on many important issues facing our country. To learn more about those issues, we are pleased to offer authoritative resources from the National Academies in the areas of public policy, science, engineering, and medicine.

Remarks of President Barack Obama in State of the Union Address

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:

Tonight I want to begin by congratulating the men and women of the 112th Congress, as well as your new Speaker, John Boehner. And as we mark this occasion, we are also mindful of the empty chair in this Chamber, and pray for the health of our colleague – and our friend – Gabby Giffords.

It’s no secret that those of us here tonight have had our differences over the last two years. The debates have been contentious; we have fought fiercely for our beliefs. And that’s a good thing. That’s what a robust democracy demands. That’s what helps set us apart as a nation.

But there’s a reason the tragedy in Tucson gave us pause. Amid all the noise and passions and rancor of our public debate, Tucson reminded us that no matter who we are or where we come from, each of us is a part of something greater – something more consequential than party or political preference.

We are part of the American family. We believe that in a country where every race and faith and point of view can be found, we are still bound together as one people; that we share common hopes and a common creed; that the dreams of a little girl in Tucson are not so different than those of our own children, and that they all deserve the chance to be fulfilled.

That, too, is what sets us apart as a nation.

Now, by itself, this simple recognition won’t usher in a new era of cooperation. What comes of this moment is up to us. What comes of this moment will be determined not by whether we can sit together tonight, but whether we can work together tomorrow.

I believe we can. I believe we must. That’s what the people who sent us here expect of us. With their votes, they’ve determined that governing will now be a shared responsibility between parties. New laws will only pass with support from Democrats and Republicans. We will move forward together, or not at all – for the challenges we face are bigger than party, and bigger than politics.

At stake right now is not who wins the next election – after all, we just had an election. At stake is whether new jobs and industries take root in this country, or somewhere else. It’s whether the hard work and industry of our people is rewarded. It’s whether we sustain the leadership that has made America not just a place on a map, but a light to the world.

Read about global competitiveness in…
Rising Above the Gathering Storm Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited

We are poised for progress. Two years after the worst recession most of us have ever known, the stock market has come roaring back. Corporate profits are up. The economy is growing again.

But we have never measured progress by these yardsticks alone. We measure progress by the success of our people. By the jobs they can find and the quality of life those jobs offer. By the prospects of a small business owner who dreams of turning a good idea into a thriving enterprise. By the opportunities for a better life that we pass on to our children.

That’s the project the American people want us to work on. Together.

We did that in December. Thanks to the tax cuts we passed, Americans’ paychecks are a little bigger today. Every business can write off the full cost of the new investments they make this year. These steps, taken by Democrats and Republicans, will grow the economy and add to the more than one million private sector jobs created last year.

But we have more work to do. The steps we’ve taken over the last two years may have broken the back of this recession – but to win the future, we’ll need to take on challenges that have been decades in the making.

Many people watching tonight can probably remember a time when finding a good job meant showing up at a nearby factory or a business downtown. You didn’t always need a degree, and your competition was pretty much limited to your neighbors. If you worked hard, chances are you’d have a job for life, with a decent paycheck, good benefits, and the occasional promotion. Maybe you’d even have the pride of seeing your kids work at the same company.

That world has changed. And for many, the change has been painful. I’ve seen it in the shuttered windows of once booming factories, and the vacant storefronts of once busy Main Streets. I’ve heard it in the frustrations of Americans who’ve seen their paychecks dwindle or their jobs disappear – proud men and women who feel like the rules have been changed in the middle of the game.

They’re right. The rules have changed. In a single generation, revolutions in technology have transformed the way we live, work and do business. Steel mills that once needed 1,000 workers can now do the same work with 100. Today, just about any company can set up shop, hire workers, and sell their products wherever there’s an internet connection.

Meanwhile, nations like China and India realized that with some changes of their own, they could compete in this new world. And so they started educating their children earlier and longer, with greater emphasis on math and science. They’re investing in research and new technologies. Just recently, China became home to the world’s largest private solar research facility, and the world’s fastest computer.

Read about innovation in China and India in…
The Power of Renewables: Opportunities and Challenges for China and the United States The Dragon and the Elephant: Understanding the Development of Innovation Capacity in China and India

So yes, the world has changed. The competition for jobs is real. But this shouldn’t discourage us. It should challenge us. Remember – for all the hits we’ve taken these last few years, for all the naysayers predicting our decline, America still has the largest, most prosperous economy in the world. No workers are more productive than ours. No country has more successful companies, or grants more patents to inventors and entrepreneurs. We are home to the world’s best colleges and universities, where more students come to study than any other place on Earth.

What’s more, we are the first nation to be founded for the sake of an idea – the idea that each of us deserves the chance to shape our own destiny. That is why centuries of pioneers and immigrants have risked everything to come here. It’s why our students don’t just memorize equations, but answer questions like “What do you think of that idea? What would you change about the world? What do you want to be when you grow up?”

The future is ours to win. But to get there, we can’t just stand still. As Robert Kennedy told us, “The future is not a gift. It is an achievement.” Sustaining the American Dream has never been about standing pat. It has required each generation to sacrifice, and struggle, and meet the demands of a new age.

Now it’s our turn. We know what it takes to compete for the jobs and industries of our time. We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. We have to make America the best place on Earth to do business. We need to take responsibility for our deficit, and reform our government. That’s how our people will prosper. That’s how we’ll win the future. And tonight, I’d like to talk about how we get there.

The first step in winning the future is encouraging American innovation.

Read about encouraging American innovation in…
Innovation in Global Industries
Changing the Conversation

Rebuilding a Real Economy: Unleashing Engineering Innovation

None of us can predict with certainty what the next big industry will be, or where the new jobs will come from. Thirty years ago, we couldn’t know that something called the Internet would lead to an economic revolution. What we can do – what America does better than anyone – is spark the creativity and imagination of our people. We are the nation that put cars in driveways and computers in offices; the nation of Edison and the Wright brothers; of Google and Facebook. In America, innovation doesn’t just change our lives. It’s how we make a living.

Our free enterprise system is what drives innovation. But because it’s not always profitable for companies to invest in basic research, throughout history our government has provided cutting-edge scientists and inventors with the support that they need. That’s what planted the seeds for the Internet. That’s what helped make possible things like computer chips and GPS.

Just think of all the good jobs – from manufacturing to retail – that have come from those breakthroughs.

Half a century ago, when the Soviets beat us into space with the launch of a satellite called Sputnik¸ we had no idea how we’d beat them to the moon. The science wasn’t there yet. NASA didn’t even exist. But after investing in better research and education, we didn’t just surpass the Soviets; we unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs.

Read about today’s priorities for NASA in…
New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics

This is our generation’s Sputnik moment. Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven’t seen since the height of the Space Race. In a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal. We’ll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology – an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people.

Read about investing in biomedical research, information technology, and clean energy technology in…
Funding Biomedical Research Programs
Assessing the Impacts of Changes in the Information Technology R&D Ecosystem: Retaining Leadership in an Increasingly Global Environment

Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use

Already, we are seeing the promise of renewable energy. Robert and Gary Allen are brothers who run a small Michigan roofing company. After September 11th, they volunteered their best roofers to help repair the Pentagon. But half of their factory went unused, and the recession hit them hard.

Today, with the help of a government loan, that empty space is being used to manufacture solar shingles that are being sold all across the country. In Robert’s words, “We reinvented ourselves.”

That’s what Americans have done for over two hundred years: reinvented ourselves. And to spur on more success stories like the Allen Brothers, we’ve begun to reinvent our energy policy. We’re not just handing out money. We’re issuing a challenge. We’re telling America’s scientists and engineers that if they assemble teams of the best minds in their fields, and focus on the hardest problems in clean energy, we’ll fund the Apollo Projects of our time.

Read about reinventing our energy policy in…
America’s Energy Future

At the California Institute of Technology, they’re developing a way to turn sunlight and water into fuel for our cars. At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, they’re using supercomputers to get a lot more power out of our nuclear facilities. With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.

Read about biofuels and electric vehicles in…
Liquid Transportation Fuels from Coal and Biomass Transitions to Alternative Transportation Technologies–Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles

We need to get behind this innovation. And to help pay for it, I’m asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they’re doing just fine on their own. So instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s.

Now, clean energy breakthroughs will only translate into clean energy jobs if businesses know there will be a market for what they’re selling. So tonight, I challenge you to join me in setting a new goal: by 2035, 80% of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources. Some folks want wind and solar. Others want nuclear, clean coal, and natural gas. To meet this goal, we will need them all – and I urge Democrats and Republicans to work together to make it happen.

Read about our energy options in…

Real Prospects for Energy Efficiency in the United States

Electricity from Renewable Resources

Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change

Maintaining our leadership in research and technology is crucial to America’s success. But if we want to win the future – if we want innovation to produce jobs in America and not overseas – then we also have to win the race to educate our kids.

Read about innovation in teaching in…

Surrounded by Science

Learning Science in Informal Environments

Learning Science Through Computer Games and Simulations (Prepublication)

Think about it. Over the next ten years, nearly half of all new jobs will require education that goes beyond a high school degree. And yet, as many as a quarter of our students aren’t even finishing high school. The quality of our math and science education lags behind many other nations. America has fallen to 9th in the proportion of young people with a college degree. And so the question is whether all of us – as citizens, and as parents – are willing to do what’s necessary to give every child a chance to succeed.

Read about the methods and importance of science and math education in…
Taking Science to School Ready, Set, SCIENCE!
Science Professionals: Master’s Education for a Competitive World Expanding Under-represented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads
(Prepublication)
How Students Learn Mathematics Learning in Early Childhood
Adding It Up: Helping Children Learn Mathematics

That responsibility begins not in our classrooms, but in our homes and communities. It’s family that first instills the love of learning in a child. Only parents can make sure the TV is turned off and homework gets done. We need to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair; that success is not a function of fame or PR, but of hard work and discipline.

Our schools share this responsibility. When a child walks into a classroom, it should be a place of high expectations and high performance. But too many schools don’t meet this test. That’s why instead of just pouring money into a system that’s not working, we launched a competition called Race to the Top. To all fifty states, we said, “If you show us the most innovative plans to improve teacher quality and student achievement, we’ll show you the money.”

Race to the Top is the most meaningful reform of our public schools in a generation. For less than one percent of what we spend on education each year, it has led over 40 states to raise their standards for teaching and learning. These standards were developed, not by Washington, but by Republican and Democratic governors throughout the country. And Race to the Top should be the approach we follow this year as we replace No Child Left Behind with a law that is more flexible and focused on what’s best for our kids.

You see, we know what’s possible for our children when reform isn’t just a top-down mandate, but the work of local teachers and principals; school boards and communities.

Take a school like Bruce Randolph in Denver. Three years ago, it was rated one of the worst schools in Colorado; located on turf between two rival gangs. But last May, 97% of the seniors received their diploma. Most will be the first in their family to go to college. And after the first year of the school’s transformation, the principal who made it possible wiped away tears when a student said “Thank you, Mrs. Waters, for showing… that we are smart and we can make it.”

Let’s also remember that after parents, the biggest impact on a child’s success comes from the man or woman at the front of the classroom. In South Korea, teachers are known as “nation builders.” Here in America, it’s time we treated the people who educate our children with the same level of respect. We want to reward good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones. And over the next ten years, with so many Baby Boomers retiring from our classrooms, we want to prepare 100,000 new teachers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.

Read about preparing and evaluating teachers in…
Preparing Teachers Assessing Accomplished Teaching

In fact, to every young person listening tonight who’s contemplating their career choice: If you want to make a difference in the life of our nation; if you want to make a difference in the life of a child – become a teacher. Your country needs you.

Of course, the education race doesn’t end with a high school diploma. To compete, higher education must be within reach of every American. That’s why we’ve ended the unwarranted taxpayer subsidies that went to banks, and used the savings to make college affordable for millions of students. And this year, I ask Congress to go further, and make permanent our tuition tax credit – worth $10,000 for four years of college.

Because people need to be able to train for new jobs and careers in today’s fast-changing economy, we are also revitalizing America’s community colleges. Last month, I saw the promise of these schools at Forsyth Tech in North Carolina. Many of the students there used to work in the surrounding factories that have since left town. One mother of two, a woman named Kathy Proctor, had worked in the furniture industry since she was 18 years old. And she told me she’s earning her degree in biotechnology now, at 55 years old, not just because the furniture jobs are gone, but because she wants to inspire her children to pursue their dreams too. As Kathy said, “I hope it tells them to never give up.”

If we take these steps – if we raise expectations for every child, and give them the best possible chance at an education, from the day they’re born until the last job they take – we will reach the goal I set two years ago: by the end of the decade, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.

One last point about education. Today, there are hundreds of thousands of students excelling in our schools who are not American citizens. Some are the children of undocumented workers, who had nothing to do with the actions of their parents. They grew up as Americans and pledge allegiance to our flag, and yet live every day with the threat of deportation. Others come here from abroad to study in our colleges and universities. But as soon as they obtain advanced degrees, we send them back home to compete against us. It makes no sense.

Now, I strongly believe that we should take on, once and for all, the issue of illegal immigration. I am prepared to work with Republicans and Democrats to protect our borders, enforce our laws and address the millions of undocumented workers who are now living in the shadows. I know that debate will be difficult and take time. But tonight, let’s agree to make that effort. And let’s stop expelling talented, responsible young people who can staff our research labs, start new businesses, and further enrich this nation.

Read about immigrants’ role in our future prosperity in…
Multiple Origins, Uncertain Destinies: Hispanics and the American Future

The third step in winning the future is rebuilding America. To attract new businesses to our shores, we need the fastest, most reliable ways to move people, goods, and information – from high-speed rail to high-speed internet.

Our infrastructure used to be the best – but our lead has slipped. South Korean homes now have greater internet access than we do. Countries in Europe and Russia invest more in their roads and railways than we do. China is building faster trains and newer airports. Meanwhile, when our own engineers graded our nation’s infrastructure, they gave us a “D.”

Read about our nation’s infrastructure in…

Sustainable Critical Infrastructure Systems: A Framework for Meeting 21st Century Imperatives

Driving and the Built Environment

The Federal Investment in Highway Research, 2006-2009: Strengths and Weaknesses

We have to do better. America is the nation that built the transcontinental railroad, brought electricity to rural communities, and constructed the interstate highway system. The jobs created by these projects didn’t just come from laying down tracks or pavement. They came from businesses that opened near a town’s new train station or the new off-ramp.

Over the last two years, we have begun rebuilding for the 21st century, a project that has meant thousands of good jobs for the hard-hit construction industry. Tonight, I’m proposing that we redouble these efforts.

We will put more Americans to work repairing crumbling roads and bridges. We will make sure this is fully paid for, attract private investment, and pick projects based on what’s best for the economy, not politicians.

Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80% of Americans access to high-speed rail, which could allow you go places in half the time it takes to travel by car. For some trips, it will be faster than flying – without the pat-down. As we speak, routes in California and the Midwest are already underway.

Within the next five years, we will make it possible for business to deploy the next generation of high-speed wireless coverage to 98% of all Americans. This isn’t just about a faster internet and fewer dropped calls. It’s about connecting every part of America to the digital age. It’s about a rural community in Iowa or Alabama where farmers and small business owners will be able to sell their products all over the world. It’s about a firefighter who can download the design of a burning building onto a handheld device; a student who can take classes with a digital textbook; or a patient who can have face-to-face video chats with her doctor.

Read about applying technology to health care in…
Building a Better Delivery System: A New Engineering/Health Care Partnership Computational Technology for Effective Health Care

All these investments – in innovation, education, and infrastructure – will make America a better place to do business and create jobs. But to help our companies compete, we also have to knock down barriers that stand in the way of their success.

Over the years, a parade of lobbyists has rigged the tax code to benefit particular companies and industries. Those with accountants or lawyers to work the system can end up paying no taxes at all. But all the rest are hit with one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. It makes no sense, and it has to change.

So tonight, I’m asking Democrats and Republicans to simplify the system. Get rid of the loopholes. Level the playing field. And use the savings to lower the corporate tax rate for the first time in 25 years – without adding to our deficit.

To help businesses sell more products abroad, we set a goal of doubling our exports by 2014 – because the more we export, the more jobs we create at home. Already, our exports are up. Recently, we signed agreements with India and China that will support more than 250,000 jobs in the United States. And last month, we finalized a trade agreement with South Korea that will support at least 70,000 American jobs. This agreement has unprecedented support from business and labor; Democrats and Republicans, and I ask this Congress to pass it as soon as possible.

Before I took office, I made it clear that we would enforce our trade agreements, and that I would only sign deals that keep faith with American workers, and promote American jobs. That’s what we did with Korea, and that’s what I intend to do as we pursue agreements with Panama and Colombia, and continue our Asia Pacific and global trade talks.

To reduce barriers to growth and investment, I’ve ordered a review of government regulations. When we find rules that put an unnecessary burden on businesses, we will fix them. But I will not hesitate to create or enforce commonsense safeguards to protect the American people. That’s what we’ve done in this country for more than a century. It’s why our food is safe to eat, our water is safe to drink, and our air is safe to breathe. It’s why we have speed limits and child labor laws. It’s why last year, we put in place consumer protections against hidden fees and penalties by credit card companies, and new rules to prevent another financial crisis. And it’s why we passed reform that finally prevents the health insurance industry from exploiting patients.

Read about regulations for the food industry and financial industry in…
Enhancing Food Safety New Directions for Understanding Systemic Risk

Now, I’ve heard rumors that a few of you have some concerns about the new health care law. So let me be the first to say that anything can be improved. If you have ideas about how to improve this law by making care better or more affordable, I am eager to work with you. We can start right now by correcting a flaw in the legislation that has placed an unnecessary bookkeeping burden on small businesses.

What I’m not willing to do is go back to the days when insurance companies could deny someone coverage because of a pre-existing condition. I’m not willing to tell James Howard, a brain cancer patient from Texas, that his treatment might not be covered. I’m not willing to tell Jim Houser, a small business owner from Oregon, that he has to go back to paying $5,000 more to cover his employees. As we speak, this law is making prescription drugs cheaper for seniors and giving uninsured students a chance to stay on their parents’ coverage. So instead of re-fighting the battles of the last two years, let’s fix what needs fixing and move forward.

Read about health insurance in America in…
America’s Uninsured Crisis

Now, the final step – a critical step – in winning the future is to make sure we aren’t buried under a mountain of debt.

We are living with a legacy of deficit-spending that began almost a decade ago. And in the wake of the financial crisis, some of that was necessary to keep credit flowing, save jobs, and put money in people’s pockets.

But now that the worst of the recession is over, we have to confront the fact that our government spends more than it takes in. That is not sustainable. Every day, families sacrifice to live within their means. They deserve a government that does the same.

Read about our options for fiscal sustainability in…
Choosing the Nation’s Fiscal Future

So tonight, I am proposing that starting this year, we freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years. This would reduce the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade, and will bring discretionary spending to the lowest share of our economy since Dwight Eisenhower was president.

This freeze will require painful cuts. Already, we have frozen the salaries of hardworking federal employees for the next two years. I’ve proposed cuts to things I care deeply about, like community action programs. The Secretary of Defense has also agreed to cut tens of billions of dollars in spending that he and his generals believe our military can do without.

I recognize that some in this Chamber have already proposed deeper cuts, and I’m willing to eliminate whatever we can honestly afford to do without. But let’s make sure that we’re not doing it on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens. And let’s make sure what we’re cutting is really excess weight. Cutting the deficit by gutting our investments in innovation and education is like lightening an overloaded airplane by removing its engine. It may feel like you’re flying high at first, but it won’t take long before you’ll feel the impact.

Now, most of the cuts and savings I’ve proposed only address annual domestic spending, which represents a little more than 12% of our budget. To make further progress, we have to stop pretending that cutting this kind of spending alone will be enough. It won’t.

The bipartisan Fiscal Commission I created last year made this crystal clear. I don’t agree with all their proposals, but they made important progress. And their conclusion is that the only way to tackle our deficit is to cut excessive spending wherever we find it – in domestic spending, defense spending, health care spending, and spending through tax breaks and loopholes.

This means further reducing health care costs, including programs like Medicare and Medicaid, which are the single biggest contributor to our long-term deficit. Health insurance reform will slow these rising costs, which is part of why nonpartisan economists have said that repealing the health care law would add a quarter of a trillion dollars to our deficit. Still, I’m willing to look at other ideas to bring down costs, including one that Republicans suggested last year: medical malpractice reform to rein in frivolous lawsuits.

To put us on solid ground, we should also find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations. And we must do it without putting at risk current retirees, the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations; and without subjecting Americans’ guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market.

And if we truly care about our deficit, we simply cannot afford a permanent extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Before we take money away from our schools, or scholarships away from our students, we should ask millionaires to give up their tax break.

It’s not a matter of punishing their success. It’s about promoting America’s success.

In fact, the best thing we could do on taxes for all Americans is to simplify the individual tax code. This will be a tough job, but members of both parties have expressed interest in doing this, and I am prepared to join them.

So now is the time to act. Now is the time for both sides and both houses of Congress – Democrats and Republicans – to forge a principled compromise that gets the job done. If we make the hard choices now to rein in our deficits, we can make the investments we need to win the future.

Let me take this one step further. We shouldn’t just give our people a government that’s more affordable. We should give them a government that’s more competent and efficient. We cannot win the future with a government of the past.

We live and do business in the information age, but the last major reorganization of the government happened in the age of black and white TV. There are twelve different agencies that deal with exports. There are at least five different entities that deal with housing policy. Then there’s my favorite example: the Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they’re in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them in when they’re in saltwater. And I hear it gets even more complicated once they’re smoked.

Now, we have made great strides over the last two years in using technology and getting rid of waste. Veterans can now download their electronic medical records with a click of the mouse. We’re selling acres of federal office space that hasn’t been used in years, and we will cut through red tape to get rid of more. But we need to think bigger. In the coming months, my administration will develop a proposal to merge, consolidate, and reorganize the federal government in a way that best serves the goal of a more competitive America. I will submit that proposal to Congress for a vote – and we will push to get it passed.

Read about improving government efficiency in…

Strengthening the National Institute of Justice

Improving the Social Security Representative Payee Program

Evaluating Research Efficiency in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Principles and Practices for a Federal Statistical Agency: Fourth Edition

In the coming year, we will also work to rebuild people’s faith in the institution of government. Because you deserve to know exactly how and where your tax dollars are being spent, you will be able to go to a website and get that information for the very first time in history. Because you deserve to know when your elected officials are meeting with lobbyists, I ask Congress to do what the White House has already done: put that information online. And because the American people deserve to know that special interests aren’t larding up legislation with pet projects, both parties in Congress should know this: if a bill comes to my desk with earmarks inside, I will veto it.

A 21st century government that’s open and competent. A government that lives within its means. An economy that’s driven by new skills and ideas. Our success in this new and changing world will require reform, responsibility, and innovation. It will also require us to approach that world with a new level of engagement in our foreign affairs.

Just as jobs and businesses can now race across borders, so can new threats and new challenges. No single wall separates East and West; no one rival superpower is aligned against us.

And so we must defeat determined enemies wherever they are, and build coalitions that cut across lines of region and race and religion. America’s moral example must always shine for all who yearn for freedom, justice, and dignity. And because we have begun this work, tonight we can say that American leadership has been renewed and America’s standing has been restored.

Look to Iraq, where nearly 100,000 of our brave men and women have left with their heads held high; where American combat patrols have ended; violence has come down; and a new government has been formed. This year, our civilians will forge a lasting partnership with the Iraqi people, while we finish the job of bringing our troops out of Iraq. America’s commitment has been kept; the Iraq War is coming to an end.

Of course, as we speak, al Qaeda and their affiliates continue to plan attacks against us. Thanks to our intelligence and law enforcement professionals, we are disrupting plots and securing our cities and skies. And as extremists try to inspire acts of violence within our borders, we are responding with the strength of our communities, with respect for the rule of law, and with the conviction that American Muslims are a part of our American family.

We have also taken the fight to al Qaeda and their allies abroad. In Afghanistan, our troops have taken Taliban strongholds and trained Afghan Security Forces. Our purpose is clear – by preventing the Taliban from reestablishing a stranglehold over the Afghan people, we will deny al Qaeda the safe-haven that served as a launching pad for 9/11.

Thanks to our heroic troops and civilians, fewer Afghans are under the control of the insurgency. There will be tough fighting ahead, and the Afghan government will need to deliver better governance. But we are strengthening the capacity of the Afghan people and building an enduring partnership with them. This year, we will work with nearly 50 countries to begin a transition to an Afghan lead. And this July, we will begin to bring our troops home.

Read about returning troops in…
Returning Home from Iraq and Afghanistan

In Pakistan, al Qaeda’s leadership is under more pressure than at any point since 2001. Their leaders and operatives are being removed from the battlefield. Their safe-havens are shrinking. And we have sent a message from the Afghan border to the Arabian Peninsula to all parts of the globe: we will not relent, we will not waver, and we will defeat you.

American leadership can also be seen in the effort to secure the worst weapons of war. Because Republicans and Democrats approved the New START Treaty, far fewer nuclear weapons and launchers will be deployed. Because we rallied the world, nuclear materials are being locked down on every continent so they never fall into the hands of terrorists.

Read about global cooperation for arms control in…
Strengthening U.S-Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Nonproliferation
Protection, Control, and Accounting of Nuclear Materials:
International Challenges and National Programs

Understanding Biosecurity: Protecting Against the Misuse of Science in Today’s World

Because of a diplomatic effort to insist that Iran meet its obligations, the Iranian government now faces tougher and tighter sanctions than ever before. And on the Korean peninsula, we stand with our ally South Korea, and insist that North Korea keeps its commitment to abandon nuclear weapons.

This is just a part of how we are shaping a world that favors peace and prosperity. With our European allies, we revitalized NATO, and increased our cooperation on everything from counter-terrorism to missile defense. We have reset our relationship with Russia, strengthened Asian alliances, and built new partnerships with nations like India. This March, I will travel to Brazil, Chile, and El Salvador to forge new alliances for progress in the Americas. Around the globe, we are standing with those who take responsibility – helping farmers grow more food; supporting doctors who care for the sick; and combating the corruption that can rot a society and rob people of opportunity.

Read about our global health and nutrition policies in…
The U.S. Commitment to Global Health Mitigating the Nutritional Impacts of the Global Food Price Crisis

Recent events have shown us that what sets us apart must not just be our power – it must be the purpose behind it. In South Sudan – with our assistance – the people were finally able to vote for independence after years of war. Thousands lined up before dawn. People danced in the streets. One man who lost four of his brothers at war summed up the scene around him: “This was a battlefield for most of my life. Now we want to be free.”

We saw that same desire to be free in Tunisia, where the will of the people proved more powerful than the writ of a dictator. And tonight, let us be clear: the United States of America stands with the people of Tunisia, and supports the democratic aspirations of all people.

We must never forget that the things we’ve struggled for, and fought for, live in the hearts of people everywhere. And we must always remember that the Americans who have borne the greatest burden in this struggle are the men and women who serve our country.

Tonight, let us speak with one voice in reaffirming that our nation is united in support of our troops and their families. Let us serve them as well as they have served us – by giving them the equipment they need; by providing them with the care and benefits they have earned; and by enlisting our veterans in the great task of building our own nation.

Our troops come from every corner of this country – they are black, white, Latino, Asian and Native American. They are Christian and Hindu, Jewish and Muslim. And, yes, we know that some of them are gay. Starting this year, no American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love. And with that change, I call on all of our college campuses to open their doors to our military recruiters and the ROTC. It is time to leave behind the divisive battles of the past. It is time to move forward as one nation.

We should have no illusions about the work ahead of us. Reforming our schools; changing the way we use energy; reducing our deficit – none of this is easy. All of it will take time. And it will be harder because we will argue about everything. The cost. The details. The letter of every law.

Read about the path to American prosperity in…

Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited

America’s Energy Future

Taking Science to School

Choosing the Nation’s Fiscal Future

Of course, some countries don’t have this problem. If the central government wants a railroad, they get a railroad – no matter how many homes are bulldozed. If they don’t want a bad story in the newspaper, it doesn’t get written.

And yet, as contentious and frustrating and messy as our democracy can sometimes be, I know there isn’t a person here who would trade places with any other nation on Earth.

We may have differences in policy, but we all believe in the rights enshrined in our Constitution. We may have different opinions, but we believe in the same promise that says this is a place where you can make it if you try. We may have different backgrounds, but we believe in the same dream that says this is a country where anything’s possible. No matter who you are. No matter where you come from.

That dream is why I can stand here before you tonight. That dream is why a working class kid from Scranton can stand behind me. That dream is why someone who began by sweeping the floors of his father’s Cincinnati bar can preside as Speaker of the House in the greatest nation on Earth.

That dream – that American Dream – is what drove the Allen Brothers to reinvent their roofing company for a new era. It’s what drove those students at Forsyth Tech to learn a new skill and work towards the future. And that dream is the story of a small business owner named Brandon Fisher.

Brandon started a company in Berlin, Pennsylvania that specializes in a new kind of drilling technology. One day last summer, he saw the news that halfway across the world, 33 men were trapped in a Chilean mine, and no one knew how to save them.

But Brandon thought his company could help. And so he designed a rescue that would come to be known as Plan B. His employees worked around the clock to manufacture the necessary drilling equipment. And Brandon left for Chile.

Along with others, he began drilling a 2,000 foot hole into the ground, working three or four days at a time with no sleep. Thirty-seven days later, Plan B succeeded, and the miners were rescued. But because he didn’t want all of the attention, Brandon wasn’t there when the miners emerged. He had already gone home, back to work on his next project.

Later, one of his employees said of the rescue, “We proved that Center Rock is a little company, but we do big things.”

We do big things.

From the earliest days of our founding, America has been the story of ordinary people who dare to dream. That’s how we win the future.

We are a nation that says, “I might not have a lot of money, but I have this great idea for a new company. I might not come from a family of college graduates, but I will be the first to get my degree. I might not know those people in trouble, but I think I can help them, and I need to try. I’m not sure how we’ll reach that better place beyond the horizon, but I know we’ll get there. I know we will.”

We do big things.

The idea of America endures. Our destiny remains our choice. And tonight, more than two centuries later, it is because of our people that our future is hopeful, our journey goes forward, and the state of our union is strong.

Thank you, God Bless You, and may God Bless the United States of America.

Free PDF Downloads, Audio, Video and More for January 2011

As we begin a new year, the National Academies Press offers you the following selection of books, videos, and podcasts free of charge. Start collecting free resources for your personal STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) library today.

Implementing the New Biology Implementing the New Biology: Decadal Challenges Linking Food, Energy, and the Environment: Summary of a Workshop, June 3-4, 2010
As the second decade of the 21st century begins, the challenge of how to feed a growing world population and provide sustainable, affordable energy to fulfill daily needs, while also improving human health and protecting the environment, is clear and urgent…
Details
The Science of Adolescent Risk-Taking The Science of Adolescent Risk-Taking: Workshop Report (Prepublication Available)
Adolescence is a time when youth make decisions, both good and bad, that have consequences for the rest of their lives. Some of these decisions put them at risk of lifelong health problems, injury, or death. The Institute of Medicine held three public workshops between 2008…
Details
Challenges and Opportunities for Education About Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences Challenges and Opportunities for Education About Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences
The Challenges and Opportunities for Education About Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences workshop was held to engage the life sciences community on the particular security issues related to research with dual use potential. More than 60 participants from…
Details
Report of the Panel on Implementing Recommendations from the New Worlds, New Horizons Decadal Survey Report of the Panel on Implementing Recommendations from the New Worlds, New Horizons Decadal Survey
(Prepublication Available)
The 2010 Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey report, New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics (NWNH), outlines a scientifically exciting and programmatically integrated plan for both ground- and space-based astronomy and astrophysics in…
Details
Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing: Summary of a Workshop
Today, scores of companies, primarily in the United States and Europe, are offering whole genome scanning services directly to the public. The proliferation of these companies and the services they offer demonstrate a public appetite for this information and…
Details
Avoiding Technology Surprise for Tomorrow's Warfighter--Symposium 2010 Avoiding Technology Surprise for Tomorrow’s Warfighter–Symposium 2010
The Symposium on Avoiding Technology Surprise for Tomorrow’s Warfighter is a forum for consumers and producers of scientific and technical intelligence to exchange perspectives on the potential sources of emerging or disruptive technologies and behaviors…
Details
Evaluation of U.S. Air Force Preacquisition Technology Development Evaluation of U.S. Air Force Preacquisition Technology Development
(Prepublication Available)
From the days of biplanes and open cockpits, the air forces of the United States have relied on the mastery of technology. From design to operation, a project can stretch to 20 years and more, with continuous increases in cost. Much of the delay and cost…
Details
The Prevention and Treatment of Missing Data in Clinical Trials The Prevention and Treatment of Missing Data in Clinical Trials
Randomized clinical trials are the primary tool for evaluating new medical interventions. Randomization provides for a fair comparison between treatment and control groups, balancing out, on average, distributions of known and unknown factors among the…
Details
Sex Differences and Implications for Translational Neuroscience Research Sex Differences and Implications for Translational Neuroscience Research: Workshop Summary (Prepublication Available)
Biological differences between the sexes influence not only individual health but also public health, biomedical research, and health care. The Institute of Medicine held a workshop March 8-9, 2010, to discuss sex differences and their implications for…
Details
State Assessment Systems State Assessment Systems: Exploring Best Practices and Innovations: Summary of Two Workshops
Educators and policy makers in the United States have relied on tests to measure educational progress for more than 150 years, and have used the results for many purposes. They have tried minimum competency testing; portfolios; multiple-choice items, brief…
Details
Preparing for the Future of HIV/AIDS in Africa Preparing for the Future of HIV/AIDS in Africa: A Shared Responsibility
(Prepublication Available)
HIV/AIDS is a catastrophe globally but nowhere more so than in sub-Saharan Africa, which in 2008 accounted for 67 percent of cases worldwide and 91 percent of new infections. The Institute of Medicine recommends that the United States and African nations move toward a strategy…
Details
Measuring the Group Quarters Population in the American Community Survey Measuring the Group Quarters Population in the American Community Survey: Interim Report
Following several years of testing and evaluation, the American Community Survey (ACS) was launched in 2005 as a replacement for the census “long form,” used to collect detailed social, economic, and housing data from a sample of the U.S. population as part…
Details

FREE VIDEO

lights at night Lights at Night
Explore images of Earth at night and compare images from 1993, 1997 and 2003 to infer changes in population, energy consumption, energy efficiency and economic activity. 
 
landscapes on the edge Landscapes on the Edge: New Horizons for Research on Earth’s Surface
Chemical, physical, biotic, and human processes constantly reshape Earth’s surface from particles to continents, over timescales from nanoseconds to millions of years. In this video, Dr. Dorothy Merritts describes the research agenda laid out in this recent National Research Council book.
 
Adolescent Health Services Adolescent Health Services: Missing Opportunities
Adolescence is a time when youth establish health habits, both good and bad, that often last a lifetime, yet the U.S. health care system today is not designed to help young people develop healthy routines, behaviors, and relationships to prepare them for adulthood. Learn more in this video.
 
bone detective The Bone Detective
Diane France loves bones. Why? Because they talk to her. Every skeleton she meets whispers secrets about the life and death of its owner. Diane France can hear those secrets because she’s a forensic anthropologist, a bone detective. Watch this video to learn about the work of this world-renowned bone detective.

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MORE FREE RESOURCES

Understanding Biosecurity Understanding Biosecurity: Protecting Against the Misuse of Science in Today’s World
Drawing on the work of the National Academies, this booklet introduces some of the issues at the intersection of science and security. The life sciences offer tremendous promise for meeting many 21st century challenges. Read more
 
What You Need to Know About Infectious Disease What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease
This publication from the Institute of Medicine examines the relationship between humans and microbes. The booklet discusses how infection works, identifies disease threats, and explores global challenges. Learn more
Engineer Your Life Engineer Your Life
This web site, designed for high school girls, promotes engineering as a career choice.  It features tips on preparing for an engineering career and includes profiles of women engineers, as well as resources for teachers and counselors.
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The Evolution Resources web site explains the methods of science, documents the overwhelming evidence in support of biological evolution, and evaluates the alternative perspectives offered by advocates of various kinds of creationism, including “intelligent design.” The site includes reports, publications, and resources for teaching evolution.

New Books This Week on NAP

Friday brings us once again to the end of the work week and a roundup of the books that were new to nap.edu this week. Almost all of our books can be read online for free, and many have free PDFs to download, so check under each book’s title in this post for links to read online or if a free PDF is available.

Assessing and Improving Value in Cancer Care: Workshop Summary (final)

Unlike many other areas in health care, the practice of oncology presents unique challenges that make assessing and improving value especially complex. First, patients and professionals feel a well-justified sense of urgency to treat for cure, and if cure is not possible, to extend life and reduce the burden of disease. Second, treatments are often both life sparing and highly toxic. Third, distinctive payment structures for cancer medicines are intertwined with practice. Fourth, providers often face tremendous pressure to apply the newest technologies to patients who fail to respond to established treatments, even when the evidence supporting those technologies is incomplete or uncertain, and providers may be reluctant to stop toxic treatments and move to palliation, even at the end of life. Finally, the newest and most novel treatments in oncology are among the most costly in medicine.

This volume summarizes the results of a workshop that addressed these issues from multiple perspectives, including those of patients and patient advocates, providers, insurers, health care researchers, federal agencies, and industry. Its broad goal was to describe value in oncology in a complete and nuanced way, to better inform decisions regarding developing, evaluating, prescribing, and paying for cancer therapeutics.

Interacademy Programs Between the United States and Eastern Europe 1967-2009: The Changing Landscape (final)

Improving the Measurement of Late-Life Disability in Population Surveys: Beyond ADLs and IADLs: Summary of a Workshop (final)

Integrative Medicine and the Health of the Public: A Summary of the February 2009 Summit (final)

Spectrum Management for Science in the 21st Century (prepublication)

Nurturing and Sustaining Effective Programs in Science Education for Grades K-8: Building a Village in California: Summary of a Convocation (final)