International research meeting coming to Madison this fall

An international research meeting is coming to Madison this fall, bringing researchers together to discuss the changing global environment.

The Sigma Xi Annual Meeting and Student Research Conference will be held Nov. 14-17 at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center. The meeting’s theme is “Our Changing Global Environment: Scientists and Engineers Designing Solutions for the Future.”

A 133-year-old organization that recognizes excellence in science and engineering, Sigma Xi also promotes research ethics, a strong research enterprise, and the public understanding of science.

The meeting’s Student Research Conference gives undergraduate and graduate students an opportunity to present a research poster while improving their science communication skills. Students in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines are invited to present a poster at the conference and can submit an abstract when they register for the meeting or after registering. The abstract submission deadline is Oct. 4, 2019.

Two UW–Madison faculty members will be keynote speakers for the event.

Dietram Schuefele
Dietram Schuefele
Tim Donohue
Tim Donohue

Tim Donohue, the University of Wisconsin Foundation Chairman Fetzer-Bascom Professor of Bacteriology, will give a talk, “On the Road to Sustainable Production of Fuels and Chemicals from Biomass.” Donohue currently serves as Interim Director of the Wisconsin Energy Institute.

Dietram A. Scheufele, the Taylor-Bascom Chair and Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor in the Department of Life Sciences Communication, with give a talk and moderate a panel on science communication, education, and public engagement. Scheufele’s research focuses on public attitudes and policy dynamics surrounding emerging science.

In addition, chemistry professor Bassam Z. Shakhashiri will give a presentation on advancing science to serve society focused on the need for purposeful communication regarding the critical role of science and technology in society. He will also lead a workshop on teaching climate disruption to help educators learn how they can integrate climate science concepts into their courses. At UW–Madison, Shakhashiri directs the Wisconsin Initiative for Science Literacy (WISL), including the WISL Award for Communicating PhD Research for the Public, which supports PhD candidates at UW–Madison to include a chapter in their thesis written for a general audience.

Scheufele and William J. Karpus, Dean of the Graduate School and professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, serve on the meeting’s program committee. Karpus is also president of UW–Madison’s Sigma Xi chapter, which is 112 years old.

UW–Madison sponsors of the meeting include the Department of Life Sciences Communication, the Neuroscience Training Program, Science is Fun In the Lab of Shakhashiri, the Endocrinology & Reproductive Physiology Training Program, and the Molecular and Environmental Toxicology Center at UW–Madison.

This year, the Sigma Xi annual meeting also coincides with the organization’s first Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Art and Film Festival, happening Nov. 17 from 9 am to 4 pm at the Monona Terrace. The festival, which is open to the public, will feature a screening and panel discussion of the documentary, Chasing Coral. Shakhashiri will lead hands-on science activities.