For the fourth time in its history, CASW's New Horizons in Science briefing will be held in the Boston area in 2015. The 53rd annual presentation of emerging research and science issues will be hosted by the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as part of ScienceWriters2015.
Registration closed at more than 800 for the ScienceWriters2015 conference, which includes a full day of workshops organized by the National Association of Science Writers, the CASW New Horizons in Science program and field trips, tours and other activities organized by our hosts.
The return to Cambridge is historic for CASW's flagship program, which was launched with an event at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1963. In a celebration of CASW's 50th anniversary at Yale University in 2010 (video), longtime Executive Director Ben Patrusky told the story of the remarkable first event, held in cooperation with both Harvard and MIT:
"It offered an extraordinarily eclectic mix of topics, setting the tone and template for all briefings to come. It featured talks, 18 in all, on subjects ranging from molecular biology and electron microscopy to earth, space and atmospheric science, to human evolution and the role of biology in culture, to biophysics and the brain, to the growing interdependency between science and engineering—the "new engineering," as it was then called.
"... You may recognize some of the names of some of those (the eminences) who briefed: [evolutionary biologist] Ernst Mayr, [astronomer] Fred Whipple, [astrophysicist] Thomas Gold, [geophysicist and oceanographer] Athelstan Spilhaus, [biophysicist] Bert Vallee, [biochemist] Howard Shachman, [anthropologist] William Howells and, dare I say it, [physicist] Fred Singer. There were tours, too, including a memorable visit with B. F. Skinner in his lab at MIT."
(The full program may be downloaded here.)
Patrusky, who took over the New Horizons program in 1974 and directed it for three decades, noted that the early New Horizons briefings were invitation-only affairs: 56 journalists attended the first year, after which the invitation list was limited to 40 for several years until CASW decided to issue an open invitation to science writers. Attendance leapt again after the New Horizons program was joined with the professional development workshops of the National Association of Science Writers, and some 600 writers are expected to attend ScienceWriters2015. The NASW workshops will be held at the conference hotel, the Hyatt Regency Cambridge, after which the New Horizons briefings will be presented on the MIT campus. Special "Science + Science Writing" New Horizons sessions, first introduced at the 2013 meeting, will bring scientists and science writers to the stage together.
October 2015 will mark the first time the combined meeting is held in the Boston area. Patrusky brought New Horizons back to the Boston area twice: in 1982, when Harvard University hosted the 20th annual event, and in 1998, when the 36th New Horizons in Science briefing was hosted by Boston University. The Hyatt in Cambridge also served as the conference hotel in 1998.