Council for the Advancement of Science Writing

New Horizons

Content within the CASW New Horizons section

ScienceWriters2012: the NC scouting report

What happens when an agrarian state stakes pretty much everything it’s got on science, technology and higher education? The answer is North Carolina’s Research Triangle, where science writers will converge in October for ScienceWriters2012.
It was my job, as organizer of this year’s New Horizons in Science briefings for CASW, to scout North Carolina for science speakers. I had lived in the Research Triangle for 30 years, working as a science writer and editor most of that time. Since moving away in 2007, I’d kept in touch with the vibrant Triangle science-writing community. When I returned to the area for the ScienceOnline un-conference in January and again to interview prospective speakers, I expected to find a familiar science landscape.
Instead I've found that the Triangle has plenty of surprises and delights, even for an old Raleigh hand like me.
First and foremost, there’s the energy, intelligence and spirit of SCONC, the Science Communicators of North Carolina. SCONC’s members collaborated to submit a powerhouse bid to host ScienceWriters2012. They’ve raised funds, negotiated with universities, federal agencies, foundations and corporations, and corralled buses, boats and venues. The result is a nonstop program of activities and entertainment that wrap around the combined conference.
 EPA facility RTP
SCONC’s red carpet rolls out from the convention center to the campuses, the labs of Research Triangle Park, Raleigh’s nightlife venues and its new Nature Research Center. It stretches east to the coast and west to the N.C. Research Campus.
Karl Leif Bates, the fearless and endlessly creative leader of SCONC’s sponsor activities, has even made arrangements to shuttle folks to and from Raleigh-Durham International Airport on the welcome and tour days (Friday and Tuesday). The social/foodie braintrust of SCONC will make sure that you laugh, smile and eat exceedingly well before you head home.
The next surprise is what’s happening on the campuses. The Research Triangle is anchored by Duke University and N.C. Central University in Durham, the University of North Carolina’s flagship campus in Chapel Hill and N.C. State University in Raleigh. Not far away are the technology hub at UNC-Charlotte and the medical powerhouse of Wake Forest University. In the middle of the Triangle are the industrial and federal laboratories, organizations such as the National Institute of Statistical Sciences and the booming contract research organization RTI International, formerly the ResearNCSU Centennial Campusch Triangle Institute. (That's the EPA's RTP facility on the right.) SCONC is drawing all of these organizations into ScienceWriters2012.
When I began talking with local scientists, I found that many of them were delighted to be working in a collaborative environment that so celebrates science. I was also struck by their determination to make their work useful to people. North Carolina is working hard to turn its research into products, technologies and jobs, and so you’ll see much applied science on the New Horizons program.
R/V Susan HudsonThe message, dear reader, is that you’re going to need to allow some serious time to savor what your fellow science writers have cooked up for Oct. 26-30. In addition to what NASW and SCONC are concocting, CASW is packing more than 20 science sessions into two days for the New Horizons briefings, and punctuating them with a trip to N.C. State (above left) for SCONC’s Lunch with a Scientist program.
The NASW workshops, on Saturday the 27th, will be followed by a sparkling awards party showing off the spiffy Nature Research Center. But to fully appreciate what SCONC has in store, you’ll want to come a day earlier for lab tours, a welcome reception, free airport and hotel transport and afterglow partying. You’ll want to bring a Halloween costume to participate properly in SCONC’s Sunday night spooktacular, and stay on past New Horizons for the selection of field trips (at right, R/V Susan Hudson plies the N.C. coast) on Tuesday the 30th.—Rosalind Reid

Raleigh 2012 - Sunday morning 8:30a

New Horizons in Science 2012

Sunday, October 28, 2012 to Monday, October 29, 2012

Triangle Universities Center for Advanced Studies, Inc.

Raleigh, NC

The 2012 New Horizons in Science briefing was hosted by the Triangle Universities Center for Advanced Studies, Inc. Sessions were held at the new Raleigh Convention Center on Sunday and Monday, Oct. 28-29, in conjunction with the annual meeting and workshops of the National Association of Science Writers and two days of tours that together made up ScienceWriters2012. The local coordinating group was SCONC, the Science Communicators of North Carolina.

Hosts & Sponsors: 

The local host for ScienceWriters2012 wasn't just one university, it was an entire region: the Research Triangle of North Carolina. Many partners came together to make the meeting happen.



TUCASI, the Triangle Universities Center for Advanced Studies, Inc., is a 120-acre campus-within-a-campus in the Research Triangle Park that was established to ensure the continued presence of the research universities in the park. TUCASI's governing board includes Duke, NC State, UNC-Chapel Hill, RTI International and the Research Triangle Park Foundation. 








New Horizon Video Fellowship Recipients


  • Maggie Pinholt, Arizona State University, multimedia journalism specializing in medical writing
  • Allie Nicodemo, Arizona State University, print journalism
  • Haley Quiner, Northern Arizona University, electronic media and film
  • Austen Lavery, Northern Arizona University, electronic media and film and physics/astronomy
  • Yfat Yossifor, Northern Arizona University, photojournalism

New Horizons Video Fellowships

In 2011, as a pilot project, the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing awarded New Horizons fellowships to five Arizona-based student videographers.   Under the mentorship of CASW board member Miles O’Brien, science correspondent for the PBS NewsHour, the fellows wrote and produced video stories keyed to presentations offered at the New Horizons in Science briefing held in October in Flagstaff, Arizona, as part of ScienceWriters2011.  
CASW used funds drawn from its operating budget to launch the video fellowship program. 


50th New Horizons slated for the Research Triangle

Midway between the Outer Banks and the Blue Ridge lies North Carolina's research nexus, the site of the 50th New Horizons in Science briefings Oct. 28 and 29. Science writers will converge on the Research Triangle Oct. 26-30 for ScienceWriters2012, which will incorporate two days of tours (including a trip to the coast!), the National Association of Science Writers annual meeting and workshops and nightly social events in addition to a full slate of New Horizons science presentations.

Rather than being hosted by a single university, this year's activities will be hosted by the Triangle Universities Center for Advanced Studies, Inc., and will incorporate activities connecting the area's three major research universities--Duke, North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill--plu federal labs and other research sites. At the center will be Research Triangle Park, home to a myriad university, government and industrial research facilities and science organizations, including labs of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and RTI International (which SCONC notes is larger than most institutions).

Sessions will be held at the Raleigh Convention Center; the City Center Marriott will serve as the conference hotel.

Our local organizers are members of the Science Communicators of North Carolina. SCONC has arranged for TUCASI to be the major hosting sponsor, with additional funds provided by universities and foundations. For more information, visit the New Horizons conference homepage.

For information about the NASW workshop program and for registration and accommodations, be sure to check the ScienceWriters2012 website.


In Focus: 

Feature image


From a distance while heading north on Route 89 from Flagstaff, Glen Canyon looks dinky. From atop the dam when you get there, the blue float boats on the Colorado River way down on the south side look dinky too. The river doesn’t look very big either. Ditto for the modest little building down there just above the dam’s base where the penstocks (immense pipes) deliver water to the turbines to turn the generators that can put more than a gigawatt of power into the high tension lines marching off every which way.


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