Are you curious? Scientists are. They dedicate their lives to asking questions, and discovering answers, about the amazing universe and everything within.
Many of those curiosity-seekers are supported by the Department of Energy's (DOE's) Office of Science. The Office supports over 27,000 Ph.D.s, graduate students, undergraduates, engineers, and support staff at more than 300 institutions. It also provides 45 percent of Federal support for research in the physical sciences, and stewards 10 world-class laboratories.
Those curious about all that the Office of Science does should plan on taking a walk down “DOE Boulevard” at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which runs from Thursday February 17th to Monday February 21st at Washington D.C.'s Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The Exhibit Hall will be open to the public, with free admission, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Located in the heart of the Exhibit Hall, DOE Boulevard will feature dedicated booths from National Laboratories from across the country, as well as specialized booths for efforts such as the international ITER fusion energy project and the Nanoscale Science Research Centers. Those who head for the Boulevard will also see an expanded DOE Office of Science booth featuring interactive exhibits, historical pieces and science spinoffs, such as a “Power Puck” and the device that solved the mystery of the missing oil in the Gulf by revealing hungry microbes with unusual appetites. If they haven’t had enough walking, they’ll have an energy bike to ride. Visitors may also walk away with popular educational giveaways such as Eat-n-Learn placemats, one of which features "A Very Small Serving of Pi." And if they come on Friday, February 18th between 3:00-5:00 pm, they can be part of a special "walking reception," which includes refreshments.
Registered AAAS Annual Meeting attendees will have the opportunity to attend meetings on everything from energy and emerging science and technology to artificial molecular machines and other worlds. They'll also have the chance to enjoy presentations from scientists and policymakers such as John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Those curious about the AAAS meeting, but who don’t want to leave their kids behind (at least not until they're old enough to move back in with them) should come to AAAS' Family Science Days over the weekend (Saturday and Sunday). The free event is open to everyone – you don’t have to be a smock-stained scientist to attend. Those who come will enjoy a variety of hands-on demonstrations and family-friendly activities, including a performance of Super Cool Experiments by the Thomas Jefferson Lab’s Science Steve.
Experimentation, curiosity, these lie at the heart of the AAAS meeting, even as they lie at the heart of the DOE Office of Science's mission. Long after the AAAS event has ended, Office of Science-supported researchers will be using all of their insight and creativity to reveal our world, transforming the complex into the comprehensible and predictable. They’ll be answering our deep desire to understand our amazing universe, even as they're seeking scientific breakthroughs to help strengthen our energy security and economic competitiveness and improve our quality of life.
All of this will be on display along DOE Boulevard at the AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington D.C. . . . along with some super cool gadgets. So come on by, if you’re curious.
For more information on the DOE Office of Science, please go to: http://science.energy.gov/.
Charles Rousseaux is a Senior Writer in the Office of Science.