How Many Marched for Science?

Over one million scientists and science advocates around the world took to the streets on April 22 to celebrate science and bring attention to the role it plays in improving lives, solving problems, and informing evidence-based policy.

In total, there were more than 600 marches in all 66 countries, on seven continents, and in all 50 states (including a few penguin marchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium).

Get all the data and find out what states held the largest marches over on the March for Science’s blog.

And check out some of ECS’s pictures from the march on our Facebook page!

By: John C. Besley, Michigan State University; Aaron M. McCright, Michigan State University; Joseph D. Martin, University of Leeds; Kevin Elliott, Michigan State University, and Nagwan Zahry, Michigan State University

ResearchA soda company sponsoring nutrition research. An oil conglomerate helping fund a climate-related research meeting. Does the public care who’s paying for science?The Conversation
In a word, yes. When industry funds science, credibility suffers. And this does not bode well for the types of public-private research partnerships that appear to be becoming more prevalent as government funding for research and development lags.

The recurring topic of conflict of interest has made headlines in recent weeks. The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine has revised its conflict of interest guidelines following questions about whether members of a recent expert panel on GMOs had industry ties or other financial conflicts that were not disclosed in the panel’s final report.

Our own recent research speaks to how hard it may be for the public to see research as useful when produced with an industry partner, even when that company is just one of several collaborators.

What people think of funding sources

We asked our study volunteers what they thought about a proposed research partnership to study the potential risks related to either genetically modified foods or trans fats.

We randomly assigned participants to each evaluate one of 15 different research partnership arrangements – various combinations of scientists from a university, a government agency, a nongovernmental organization and a large food company.

(more…)

By: Rand Wilcox, University of Southern California – Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Scientsts collecting dataNo matter the field, if a researcher is collecting data of any kind, at some point he is going to have to analyze it. And odds are he’ll turn to statistics to figure out what the data can tell him. The Conversation

A wide range of disciplines – such as the social sciences, marketing, manufacturing, the pharmaceutical industry and physics – try to make inferences about a large population of individuals or things based on a relatively small sample. But many researchers are using antiquated statistical techniques that have a relatively high probability of steering them wrong. And that’s a problem if it means we’re misunderstanding how well a potential new drug works, or the effects of some treatment on a city’s water supply, for instance.

As a statistician who’s been following advances in the field, I know there are vastly improved methods for comparing groups of individuals or things, as well as understanding the association between two or more variables. These modern robust methods offer the opportunity to achieve a more accurate and more nuanced understanding of data. The trouble is that these better techniques have been slow to make inroads within the larger scientific community.

(more…)

ECS is proud to partner with the March for Science, a global event with almost 400 satellite marches taking place on April 22.

ECS has fully endorsed the March’s non-partisan, educational, and diversity goals and encourages its members to adhere to these values as they get involved in one of the numerous marches taking place throughout the world. You can help represent ECS at your march by using our #FreetheScience graphic on your signs.

And before you take to the streets on Earth Day, check out a few essential reads on the origins of the march and what those taking part hope to accomplish.

From the lab to the streets

Mother Jones sits down with the organizers of the march and look at the reasons behind the mobilization efforts, including pulling scientific funding, budgets cuts to science agencies, downsizing or outright eliminating science advisors in government, and roll backs of agency work based on public health research.

The organizers discuss their goals of championing more public engagement, evidence-based policies, and general science advocacy while balancing the over politicization of the field.

“I would actually argue that science is political,” Valorie Aquino, co-organizer of the march, tells Mother Jones. “Scientific integrity goes beyond one person eroding it. It hits across both sides of the aisle and people who aren’t necessarily affiliated with a political party at all.”

(more…)

By: Petr Vanýsek

Edward AchesonThe discovery of an electric arc can be tied to the use of an electrochemical energy source. Sir Humphry Davy described in 1800 an electric discharge using electrochemical cells1 that produced what we would call a spark, rather than an arc. However, in 1808, using an electrochemical battery containing 2000 plates of copper and zinc, he demonstrated an electric arc 8cm long. Davy is also credited with naming the phenomenon an arc (Fig. 1). An electric arc was also discovered independently in 1802 by Russian physicist Vasily Petrov, who also proposed various possible applications including arc welding. There was a long gap between the discovery of the electric arc and putting it to use.

Electrochemical cells were not a practical source to supply a sustained high current for an electric arc. A useful application of this low voltage and high current arc discharge became possible only once mechanical generators were constructed. Charles Francis Brush developed a dynamo, an electric generator, in 1878, that was able to supply electricity for his design of arc lights. Those were deployed first in Philadelphia and by 1881 a number of cities had electric arc public lights. Once that happened, the application and new discoveries for the use of the electric arc followed. Electric arc for illumination was certainly in the forefront. First, electric light extended greatly the human activities into the night and second, public street electric lights, attracting masses of spectators, were the source of admiration, inspiration, and no doubt, more invention.

(more…)

Get the ECS Mobile App

ECS appECS now has an app for your mobile device. Follow the latest research published in ECS journals, the newest Redcat blog posts, and get instant access to the ECS podcasts and videos all in one place. It also includes the meeting scheduler for the upcoming ECS biannual meeting.

Go to the App Store or Google Play and search “ECS Mobile.”

An interview with Isamu Akasaki

Isamu AkasakiOn June 8, 2016, Yue Kuo, an ECS fellow and vice president of The Electrochemical Society, traveled to the Akasaki Institute at Nagoya University in Japan to talk with Isamu Akasaki, a Nobel Prize winner and ECS life member.

Professor Akasaki is a materials scientist specializing in semiconductor science and technology. He is a pioneer of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which have enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources. He shares the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics with Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura for this work. Prior to their groundbreaking work, scientists had produced LEDs that emitted red or yellow-green light, but not blue. Blue had been thought impossible or impractical to make. Blue LEDs became commercially available in 1994.

The new combination of blue, green, and red LEDs produces white light, and blue LEDs coated with YAG:Ce yellow phosphor appear white to the eye and can be developed for much less energy than that from incandescent and fluorescent lamps, which contain toxic mercury. Prof. Akasaki’s work helped lead to the development of blue semiconductor lasers, which proved useful for high-capacity optical-media devices such as Blu-ray disc players.

What follows is an edited transcript of the conversation between Yue Kuo and Isamu Akasaki, which they had in English.

(more…)

By: Roque Calvo, ECS Executive Director

ECS at 115In April 1902, upon the conclusion of the Society’s first meeting in Philadelphia, the Society’s first president wrote the column below, which was printed in the Society’s first publication, explaining the rationale to form the American Electrochemical Society.

Evidence accumulates on every hand that the analogue of the specialist in science is the society which specializes. Whether for good or ill, whether some of its influences are narrowing in some directions or not, the society which specializes is the necessary corollary of the scientific specialist; the latter came perforce into existence, has made the whole world his debtor, and is recognized as the present factor for progress; the former is coming perforce into existence, will soon make the world its immeasurable debtor, and will be a wonderfully potent factor in future scientific progress.

Such is the force, the necessary condition, which has brought into existence The American Electrochemical Society. … Its functions should be those of bringing electrochemists into personal contact with each other; of disseminating among them all the information known to, and which can be spared by, their co-workers; to stimulate original thought in these lines by
mutual interchange of experience, and by papers and discussions; to stimulate electrochemical work all over the world. …

Such a society … being, therefore, a necessity, a pressing need, its formation was inevitable. It came. … The results have justified the insight of the projectors of the society, the first meeting has been an enthusiastic success, the organization now exists, its future is one of assured usefulness. With confidence we stand out to sea.

(more…)

Every four years since 1987, scientists and engineers have been gathering in Honolulu, HI for the Pacific Rim Meeting on Electrochemical and Solid State Science, better known as PRiME. ECS has been committed to holding PRiME in Hawaii since its establishment to provide a central location for researchers from around the world, from the U.S. to Japan, to gather and discuss that latest scientific developments.

Because of his extensive experience in organizing PRiME and various other meetings across Latin American and Europe, ECS Executive Director Roque Calvo was invited to speak at the East Meets West Spring Education Tour, which is a meeting of executive directors, CEOs, and meeting planners, both of nonprofit and for profit companies, to discuss holding international conferences.

Hawaii’s talk show, Think Tech, reached out to Calvo during his most recent trip to Hawaii for the East Meets West Spring Education Tour to discuss electrochemistry, the clean energy movement, and open science. Watch the interview below.

ECS Mourns the Loss of Bill Brown

Bill BrownWilliam (Bill) David Brown, age 73, passed away on Thursday, March 30, 2017 in Fayetteville, AR.

As an advocate of education, Brown spent many years working as a professor. He started his career in academia at the University of New Mexico (1975-1977), followed by the University of Arkansas (1977-2008), where he served as Distinguished Professor, Head of the Electrical Engineering Department, and Associate Dean for Research in the College of Engineering.

Brown joined The Electrochemical Society in 1983. Throughout his life, he dedicated himself to ECS, serving as the Society’s president (2010-2011), vice president (2007-2010), and treasurer (1998-2000). Additionally, he served as the secretary, vice chair, and chair of the ECS Dielectric Science and Technology Division; and chaired the Society’s Education Committee (1994-2002), where he was instrumental in the initiation of the highly successful Student Poster Session held at each ECS meeting.

“Bill Brown was one of the Society’s finest leaders and a great teacher and mentor to me, and to many scientists and engineers in his field,” says Roque Calvo, ECS executive director. “He held an incredible number of top leadership positions in ECS but his work involving the Society’s Centennial and Free the Science fundraising campaigns could be his most notable contributions. He will be remembered for his contributions to our science and technology but more so for the character, integrity, and camaraderie that he brought to the Society.”

Brown also served on ECS’s Technical Affairs Committed (2007-2009), Ways and Means Committee (2007-2010), Finance Committee (1998-2002), Financial Policy Advisory Committee (1998-2007), and the Audit Subcommittee (2006-2007).

(more…)