New Horizons in Science

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The Patrusky Lectures

The Patrusky Lecture prismThe Patrusky Lectures were launched in 2013 to honor Ben Patrusky, executive director of CASW for 25 years and director of the New Horizons in Science program for 30 years.

The CASW Board of Directors commemorated Patrusky's retirement that year by naming him Executive Director Emeritus and also by creating the Patrusky Fund and the annual lecture. It is to be delivered by a distinguished scientist at each year's New Horizons briefings as the centerpiece of the program. The lecturer is presented an engraved crystal prism and a certificate commemorating the lecture.

The Fourth Patrusky Lecture

Theoretical physicist Steven Weinberg, Jack S. Josey–Welch Foundation Chair in Science and Regental Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, delivered the fourth Patrusky Lecture during the New Horizons in Science briefings in San Antonio, Texas October 30, 2016. Weinberg, who shared the 1979 Nobel Prize for his early work on the unification of the weak and electromagnetic forces, told his audience of science writers that there remain fundamental and unresolved issues with quantum mechanics, despite the theory's remarkable successes in explaining fundamental aspects of nature and driving technological progress. Neither "instrumentalist" nor "realist" efforts to explain away these issues, he said, are satisfying, suggesting that there is significant work yet to be done.


The Third Patrusky Lecture

Microbiologist Jo Handelsman, a pioneer in metagenomics research and Associate Director for Science at the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy, delivered the third Patrusky Lecture during the New Horizons in Science briefings at MIT October 11, 2015. Handelsman traced the evolution of thinking about microbiomes and metagenomics, a field she pioneered as a microbiologist at the University of Wisconsin and more recently at Yale. She said an interagency committee has been formed to accelerate federal support for research on microorganisms and microbiomes, the communities of microbes that inhabit the human body and other habitats.


The Second Patrusky Lecture

Paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson delivered the second Patrusky Lecture, "The Human Evolutionary Journey," in Columbus, Ohio, on October 19, 2014, during the 52nd New Horizons in Science briefings, hosted by The Ohio State University as part of ScienceWriters2014. In a presentation celebrating the 40th anniversary of the discovery of the fossil hominid Lucy, Johanson traced the continuing shifts in our understanding of human evolution that have come about with fossil discoverings and paleogenetic analysis in recent decades.


The Inaugural Patrusky Lecture

Harvard University chemist and inventor George M. Whitesides gave the first Patrusky Lecture, "Simplicity in Science," on November 3, 2013 at the 51st New Horizons in Science Briefing, hosted by the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, as part of ScienceWriters2013. Whitesides advocated purpose-driven science with simplicity at its core. He described how his lab "stacks" simple concepts to produce useful technologies.


About CASW

The Council for the Advancement of Science Writing is committed to improving the quality and quantity of science news reaching the public. Directed and advised by distinguished journalists and scientists, CASW develops and funds programs that encourage accurate and informative writing about developments in science, technology, medicine and the environment.

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