Tag Archives: technology

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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Cybersecurity: Issues in Defending Networks and Systems from Cyberattack and Cyberespionage

Last week the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that it was a target of a cyber break-in, an attack designed to infiltrate the IMF in order to gain sensitive insider privileged information. Intrusions into secure networks of organizations such as the IMF focus the public’s attention on the subject of cybersecurity. We asked Herb Lin, Chief Scientist at NRC’s Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, for his perspective.

“The IMF incident is troubling in the same way that many other break-ins are troubling—they point to weaknesses in the cybersecurity of organizations important to national and international economies, national security, and economic prosperity. Cyberattacks destroy or damage computer systems or the information in them; cyber exploitations (or cyber espionage) obtain from computers information that should be kept confidential. These kinds of operations are the threats against which effective cybersecurity measures need to be taken by everyone, but especially by organizations that play key roles in society.”

Toward a Safer and More Secure Cyberspace discusses cybersecurity from a defensive perspective. It explores the nature of online threats and examines security vulnerabilities of the Internet and in computer systems and networks. In addition, it considers why organizations have failed to adopt measures that could make them more secure against cyberthreats.

Technology, Policy, Law, and Ethics Regarding U.S. Acquisition and Use of Cyberattack Capabilities focuses on the policy and operational dimensions of cyberattack and cyberexploitation and distinguishes between the two. This book also discusses policy and legal frameworks for the use of cyberattack as an instrument of national policy. It describes the current international and domestic legal structure as it might apply to cyberattack, and considers analogies to other domains of conflict to develop relevant insights.

Proceedings of a Workshop on Deterring Cyberattacks: Informing Strategies and Developing Options for U.S. Policy is a collection of papers by experts in the field about various aspects of cyberattack. This book is phase two of a project aimed to foster a broad, multidisciplinary examination of strategies for deterring cyberattacks on the United States and of the possible utility of these strategies for the U.S. government.

These books can inform debate and contribute to decision-making. PDFs of these and others titles from the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board are free to download.

Toward a Safer and More Secure Cyberspace
Toward a Safer and More Secure Cyberspace

Given the growing importance of cyberspace to nearly all aspects of national life, a secure cyberspace is vitally important to the nation, but cyberspace is far from secure today. The United States faces the real risk that adversaries will exploit…
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Technology, Policy, Law, and Ethics Regarding U.S. Acquisition and Use of Cyberattack Capabilities
Technology, Policy, Law, and Ethics Regarding U.S. Acquisition and Use of Cyberattack Capabilities

The United States is increasingly dependent on information and information technology for both civilian and military purposes, as are many other nations.  Although there is a substantial literature on the potential impact of a cyberattack on the societal…
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Proceedings of a Workshop on Deterring CyberAttacks
Proceedings of a Workshop on Deterring CyberAttacks: Informing Strategies and Developing Options for U.S. Policy

In a world of increasing dependence on information technology, the prevention of cyberattacks on a nation’s important computer and communications systems and networks is a problem that looms large. Given the demonstrated limitations of passive cybersecurity…
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Biometric Recognition: Status and Prospects for Security Technology

Recently biometrics has been in the news as a key to identifying the body of Osama bin Laden after the raid in Pakistan. Heightening security concerns around the world are leading to an expanded use of automated recognition technologies for individuals based on their behavioral and biological characteristics. Biometric systems are used increasingly to recognize individuals and regulate access to physical spaces, information, services, and other rights or benefits.

Because biometric systems use sensed traits to recognize individuals, privacy, legal, and sociological factors are involved in all applications. Biometrics in this sense sits at the intersection of biological, behavioral, social, legal, statistical, mathematical, and computer sciences as well as sensor physics and philosophy. It is no wonder that this complex set of technologies called biometrics has fascinated the government and the public for decades.

Biometric Recognition: Challenges and Opportunities provides a comprehensive assessment of biometric recognition that examines current capabilities, future possibilities, and the role of government in technology and system development This book addresses issues of effectiveness, design, and uncertainty surrounding broader implementation of this technology.

Who Goes There? Authentication Through the Lens of Privacy explores authentication technologies (passwords, PKI, biometrics, etc.) and their implications for the privacy of the individuals being authenticated. This book offers a comprehensive set of guidelines to ensure that an individual’s privacy is not unnecessarily compromised, whether by commercial or government organizations.

These books and others from the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board can add perspective and contribute to discussion.

Biometric Recognition
Biometric Recognition: Challenges and Opportunities 

Biometric recognition–the automated recognition of individuals based on their behavioral and biological characteristic–is promoted as a way to help identify terrorists, provide better control of access to physical facilities and financial accounts, and…
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Who Goes There?
Who Goes There?: Authentication Through the Lens of Privacy 

Who Goes There?: Authentication Through the Lens of Privacy explores authentication technologies (passwords, PKI, biometrics, etc.) and their implications for the privacy of the individuals being authenticated. As authentication becomes ever more…
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Summary of a Workshop on the Technology, Policy, and Cultural Dimensions of Biometric Systems
Summary of a Workshop on the Technology, Policy, and Cultural Dimensions of Biometric Systems 

Biometricsthe use of physiological and behavioral characteristics for identification purposeshas been promoted as a way to enhance security and identification efficiency. There are questions, however, about, among other issues, the effectiveness of biometric…
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Engaging Privacy and Information Technology in a Digital Age
Engaging Privacy and Information Technology in a Digital Age 

Privacy is a growing concern in the United States and around the world. The spread of the Internet and the seemingly boundaryless options for collecting, saving, sharing, and comparing information trigger consumer worries. Online practices of business and…
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Protecting Individual Privacy in the Struggle Against Terrorists
Protecting Individual Privacy in the Struggle Against Terrorists: A Framework for Program Assessment 

All U.S. agencies with counterterrorism programs that collect or “mine” personal data — such as phone records or Web sites visited — should be required to evaluate the programs’ effectiveness, lawfulness, and impacts on privacy. A framework is…
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Science and the Future of Computing: Parallel Processing to Meet Tomorrow’s Challenges

Fast, inexpensive computers are now essential for nearly all human endeavors and have been a critical factor in increasing economic productivity, enabling new defense systems, and advancing the frontiers of science. For the last half-century, computers have been doubling in performance and capacity every couple of years. For example, the raw performance of a 1970s supercomputer is now available in a typical modern cell phone. The remarkable growth in computing throughout the lifetimes of most people has resulted in the expectation that such phenomenal progress will continue well into the future. As our demand for increased technology performance shows no signs of slowing, it becomes apparent that we need to find ways to sustain increasing performance.

In their efforts to make faster computers, scientists have concentrated on reductions in transistor size, enabling more transistors to be packed onto computer chips. Current chips range from several complex processors to hundreds of simpler processors. To use chip multiprocessors, applications must use a parallel programming model, which divides a program into parts that are then executed in parallel on distinct processors. However, much software today is written according to a sequential programming model, and applications written this way cannot easily be sped up by using parallel processors. The Future of Computing Performance: Game Over or Next Level? recommends that our nation place a much greater emphasis on IT and computer-science research and development focused on improvements and innovations in parallel processing, and on making the transition to computing centered on parallelism.

This book also discusses the need for research and development on much more power-efficient computing systems at all levels of technology, including devices, hardware architecture, and software. The Future of Computing Performance makes recommendations aimed at supporting and focusing research, development, and education in parallel computing. It sets a path forward to sustain growth in computer performance so that we can enjoy the next level of benefits to society.

This book and others from the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board can inform discussion and guide decision-making.

The Future of Computing Performance The Future of Computing Performance: Game Over or Next Level?

The end of dramatic exponential growth in single-processor performance marks the end of the dominance of the single microprocessor in computing. The era of sequential computing must give way to a new era in which parallelism is at the forefront. Although…
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Wireless Technology Prospects and Policy Options Wireless Technology Prospects and Policy Options

The use of radio-frequency communication–commonly referred to as wireless communication–is becoming more pervasive as well as more economically and socially important. Technological progress over many decades has enabled the deployment of several successive…
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Transforming Combustion Research through Cyberinfrastructure Transforming Combustion Research through Cyberinfrastructure

Combustion has provided society with most of its energy needs for millennia, from igniting the fires of cave dwellers to propelling the rockets that traveled to the Moon. Even in the face of climate change and the increasing availability of alternative energy…
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Biometric Recognition Biometric Recognition: Challenges and Opportunities

Biometric recognition–the automated recognition of individuals based on their behavioral and biological characteristic–is promoted as a way to help identify terrorists, provide better control of access to physical facilities and financial accounts, and…
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Critical Code Critical Code: Software Producibility for Defense

Critical Code contemplates Department of Defense (DoD) needs and priorities for software research and suggests a research agenda and related actions. Building on two prior books–Summary of a Workshop on Software Intensive Systems and…
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Toward Better Usability, Security, and Privacy of Information Technology Toward Better Usability, Security, and Privacy of Information Technology: Report of a Workshop

Despite many advances, security and privacy often remain too complex for individuals or enterprises to manage effectively or to use conveniently. Security is hard for users, administrators, and developers to understand, making it all too easy to use,…
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Proceedings of a Workshop on Deterring CyberAttacks Proceedings of a Workshop on Deterring CyberAttacks: Informing Strategies and Developing Options for U.S. Policy

In a world of increasing dependence on information technology, the prevention of cyberattacks on a nation’s important computer and communications systems and networks is a problem that looms large. Given the demonstrated limitations of passive cybersecurity…
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Report of a Workshop on The Scope and Nature of Computational Thinking Report of a Workshop on The Scope and Nature of Computational Thinking

Report of a Workshop on the Scope and Nature of Computational Thinking presents a number of perspectives on the definition and applicability of computational thinking. For example, one idea expressed during the workshop is that computational thinking is a…
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Technology, Policy, Law, and Ethics Regarding U.S. Acquisition and Use of Cyberattack Capabilities Technology, Policy, Law, and Ethics Regarding U.S. Acquisition and Use of Cyberattack Capabilities

The United States is increasingly dependent on information and information technology for both civilian and military purposes, as are many other nations.  Although there is a substantial literature on the potential impact of a cyberattack on the societal…
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Advancing U.S. Science & Technology: Scouting the Global Competition

In the world of sports, teams study films of their competition and scouts attend games to get as much information as possible. Knowing how the other team trains, what their goals are, and how they perform can be a key to victory against them on the field. In any area of competition, a realistic assessment of a situation can provide the basis for successful strategy.

The United States faces increasing competition in the global marketplace in areas of research and development (R&D), innovation, and investment in technology. The explosion of access to the internet and the expansion of scientific and engineering research outside the United States have increased access to information for people and countries alike. Multinational corporations are globally locating facilities for R&D purposes in addition to traditional manufacturing and sales functions because of the available talent in the workforce, the large potential for market growth, and the high-performance spirit of opportunity in these regions. No matter what innovation policies the United States adopts, the competition for global leadership in science and technology (S&T) will only intensify. Our globally connected and rapidly changing world has resulted in a more diverse mixture of markets, talents, competitors, and contributors for the next generations of scientific discoveries, destructive technologies, and innovation environments.

S & T Strategies of Six Countries: Implications for the United States analyzes the strategies and innovation environments of Japan, Brazil, Russia, India, China, and Singapore. These countries vary in their historical and cultural contexts, in the resources on which they can depend, and in their specific S&T objectives. Thus, each country has unique priorities for investment. However, they share the common goal of strengthening their innovation environment. To varying degrees, the strategies of all the countries in this study have significant implications for U.S. national security. All six nations have concluded that their economic competitiveness is a core national security issue and seek to improve and secure their economic well-being through S&T innovation. This book provides a snapshot of these countries’ plans for successful S&T strategies, which they have employed and are currently employing, so that they may provide insight into the United States’ role in today’s competitive environment and contribute to an assessment of U.S. security within that environment.

The recommendations in S & T Strategies of Six Countries support the central call to action in Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited: Rapidly Approaching Category 5 for America to compete for jobs in the evolving global economy. The possession of quality jobs is the foundation of a high-quality life for the nation’s citizenry. Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited assesses changes in America’s competitive posture in the five years that have elapsed since the seminal report Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future was published.

The National Research Council has produced a number of reports on the subject of global innovation and competitiveness. These books and others lend perspective and contribute to discussion and decision-making.

S&T Strategies of Six Countries S&T Strategies of Six Countries: Implications for the United States

An increase in global access to goods and knowledge is transforming world-class science and technology (S&T) by bringing it within the capability of an unprecedented number of global parties who must compete for resources, markets, and talent. In…
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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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The Dragon and the Elephant The Dragon and the Elephant: Understanding the Development of Innovation Capacity in China and India: Summary of a Conference

The return of the once-dormant economies of China and India to dynamism and growth is one of the most remarkable stories in recent history. The two countries are home to nearly 40 percent of the world’s population, but until recently neither had played an…
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Assessing the Impacts of Changes in the Information Technology R&D Ecosystem Assessing the Impacts of Changes in the Information Technology R&D Ecosystem: Retaining Leadership in an Increasingly Global Environment

The U.S. information technology (IT) research and development (R&D) ecosystem was the envy of the world in 1995. However, this position of leadership is not a birthright, and it is now under pressure. In recent years, the rapid globalization of markets,…
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Understanding Research, Science and Technology Parks Understanding Research, Science and Technology Parks: Global Best Practice: Report of a Symposium

Many nations are currently adopting a variety of directed strategies to launch and support research parks, often with significant financial commitments and policy support. By better understanding how research parks of other nations operate, we can seek to…
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Innovation in Global Industries Innovation in Global Industries: U.S. Firms Competing in a New World (Collected Studies)

The debate over offshoring of production, transfer of technological capabilities, and potential loss of U.S. competitiveness is a long-running one. Prevailing thinking is that the world is flatthat is, innovative capacity is spreading uniformly; as new…
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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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Commercial Mobile Alert System: The Future of Emergency Warning Notification

In emergency situations it is critical to obtain accurate information quickly. As our technology has evolved, so have our abilities to communicate. In the 1950’s, the state of Kansas instituted a basic tornado alert system of fire station sirens to warn residents of small towns to take shelter, saving many lives. Recent emergency communication capabilities, especially in severe weather situations, have improved our access to the most current information. We are now able to track weather conditions on TV, the internet, and through text alerts on mobile devices. The Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) will take warning systems to the next level by sending emergency alerts to mobile devices such as cell phones and pagers. Scheduled to become available in 2012, CMAS will send 3 types of alerts:

  • Presidential alerts: This is any alert message issued by the President for local, regional, or national emergencies, and is the highest priority alert
  • Imminent threat alerts: These are notifications of emergency conditions, such as hurricanes or tornadoes, where there is an immediate threat to life or property and action should be taken
  • Child abduction emergency/AMBER alerts: These are alerts related to missing or endangered children due to an abduction or runaway situation

Public Response to Alerts and Warnings on Mobile Devices: Summary of a Workshop Report on Current Knowledge and Research Gaps discusses the extensive body of knowledge regarding alerts and warnings and the public response and action before, during, and after emergency situations. Additionally, this book considers the many questions that arise when considering how to apply this knowledge to CMAS and more generally to the use of mobile and other new information and communications technologies for alerts and warnings.

Improving Disaster Management: The Role of IT in Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery identifies promising applications of information and communication technology (IT) to disaster management, potential areas of research for improving the effectiveness of IT, and mechanisms that would enhance research, development, and deployment efforts. This book is intended to inform federal, state, and local policy makers and public safety and emergency management professionals about future opportunities for the application of IT to disaster management.

These books and others on the subject of communication and disaster management can inform discussion and provide information for decision-making.

Public Response to Alerts and Warnings on Mobile Devices

Public Response to Alerts and Warnings on Mobile Devices: Summary of a Workshop on Current Knowledge and Research Gaps

This book presents a summary of the Workshop on Public Response to Alerts and Warnings on Mobile Devices: Current Knowledge and Research Gaps, held April 13 and 14, 2010, in Washington, D.C., under the auspices of the National Research Council’s Committee on…
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Improving Disaster Management

Improving Disaster Management: The Role of IT in Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery

Information technology (IT) has the potential to play a critical role in managing natural and human made disasters. Damage to communications infrastructure, along with other communications problems exacerbated the difficulties in carrying out response and…
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Successful Response Starts with a Map

Successful Response Starts with a Map: Improving Geospatial Support for Disaster Management

In the past few years the United States has experienced a series of disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which have severely taxed and in many cases overwhelmed responding agencies. In all aspects of emergency management, geospatial data and tools…
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Tsunami Warning and Preparedness

Tsunami Warning and Preparedness: An Assessment of the U.S. Tsunami Program and the Nation’s Preparedness Efforts

Many coastal areas of the United States are at risk for tsunamis. After the catastrophic 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean, legislation was passed to expand U.S. tsunami warning capabilities. Since then, the nation has made progress in several related areas on…
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Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises

Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises

Worldwide, millions of people are displaced annually because of natural or industrial disasters or social upheaval. Reliable data on the numbers, characteristics, and locations of these populations can bolster humanitarian relief efforts and recovery programs. …
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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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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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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podcast-sos-image Listen to Sounds of Science podcasts on topics ranging from energy to metagenomics free-of-charge today.
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The podcasts above are based on books published by the National Academies Press. To receive a 20% discount on the print version of these titles, visit our Special Offers page.


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.
evolution res Evolution Resources
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.

Take 5: Top 5 Books on Science and Technology

The scientists and engineers on your list may not always be the easiest people to shop for during the holidays. It should come as no surprise that we have recommendations. Take five and finish your holiday shopping with our most-recommended books for the scientifically-minded.

Ensuring the Integrity, Accessibility, and Stewardship of Research Data in the Digital Age Ensuring the Integrity, Accessibility, and Stewardship of Research Data in the Digital Age

As digital technologies are expanding the power and reach of research, they are also raising complex issues. These include complications in ensuring the validity of research data; standards that do not keep pace with the high rate of innovation; restrictions…
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Science and Decisions Science and Decisions: Advancing Risk Assessment

Risk assessment has become a dominant public policy tool for making choices, based on limited resources, to protect public health and the environment. It has been instrumental to the mission of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as other…
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Technology, Policy, Law, and Ethics Regarding U.S. Acquisition and Use of Cyberattack Capabilities Technology, Policy, Law, and Ethics Regarding U.S. Acquisition and Use of Cyberattack Capabilities

The United States is increasingly dependent on information and information technology for both civilian and military purposes, as are many other nations.  Although there is a substantial literature on the potential impact of a cyberattack on the societal…
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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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Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward

Scores of talented and dedicated people serve the forensic science community, performing vitally important work. However, they are often…
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Herb Lin Speaks About Cyberattack and Stuxnet

Stuxnet is a quickly mutating computer worm that has been infiltrating computers in Iran. Discovered in June, Stuxnet has been found in over 45,000 computers in various countries, but the vast majority of infected systems are in Iran.

The 2009 title Technology, Policy, Law and Ethics Regarding U.S. Acquisition and Use of Cyberattack Capabilities provides insight and a context with which to view the Stuxnet situation. We asked Herb Lin, the Study Director and one of the editors of the book, for his perspective.

“Stuxnet is the first reported incident of malware aimed at computerized industrial control systems that (allegedly) seeks to cause actual damage to these systems, rather than just extracting information from them. That is, it appears to be an instrument of cyberATTACK and not just one of cyberEXPLOITATION. (The difference between cyberattack and cyberexploitation is addressed in the 2009 report on cyberattack.)

The 2009 report also provides the necessary background to understand many aspects of the Stuxnet incident, including the difficulty of attributing the source of a cyberattack, the intelligence support needed for a successful cyberattack to occur, the significance of nation state involvement, and the potential utility of cyberattack as an instrument of clandestine national policy.”

Technology, Policy, Law, and Ethics Regarding U.S. Acquisition and Use of Cyberattack Capabilities is available to download at no charge online at the NAP website. Links to this title and other National Academies reports that may also interest you are listed below.

Technology, Policy, Law, and Ethics Regarding U.S. Acquisition and Use of Cyberattack Capabilities Technology, Policy, Law, and Ethics Regarding U.S. Acquisition and Use of Cyberattack Capabilities

The United States is increasingly dependent on information and information technology for both civilian and military purposes, as are many other nations.  Although there is a substantial literature on the potential impact of a cyberattack on the societal…

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Proceedings of a Workshop on Deterring CyberAttacks Proceedings of a Workshop on Deterring CyberAttacks: Informing Strategies and Developing Options for U.S. Policy

In a world of increasing dependence on information technology, the prevention of cyberattacks on a nation’s important computer and communications systems and networks is a problem that looms large. Given the demonstrated limitations of passive cybersecurity…

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Toward Better Usability, Security, and Privacy of Information Technology Toward Better Usability, Security, and Privacy of Information Technology: Report of a Workshop

Despite many advances, security and privacy often remain too complex for individuals or enterprises to manage effectively or to use conveniently. Security is hard for users, administrators, and developers to understand, making it all too easy to use,…

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Toward a Safer and More Secure Cyberspace Toward a Safer and More Secure Cyberspace

Given the growing importance of cyberspace to nearly all aspects of national life, a secure cyberspace is vitally important to the nation, but cyberspace is far from secure today. The United States faces the real risk that adversaries will exploit…

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