Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mar 12: Who Invented Beauty --
Madison Avenue or Charles Darwin ?

Saturday, March 12, 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

Elisabeth Cornwell, Ph.D.

Executive Director of the U.S. branch
of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for
Reason and Science (RDFRS)

A public talk. Free. (Map) (Flyer)

Is beauty created by Madison Avenue ad men (and women), or is beauty a human universal as evolutionary psychologists argue? If it is a human universal — why? What are the adaptive advantages to clear skin, a shapely figure. Are there signals specific to what women want as opposed to what men want? Why do men and women differ in what they find attractive? What do they find similarly attractive? By looking at humans through the Darwinian lens of sexual selection, you will never look at another advertisement the same way again.

Dr. R. Elisabeth ‘Liz’ Cornwell, Ph.D., is the first Executive Director of the U.S. branch of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (RDFRS). She also has years of experience as a businesswoman, working in marketing and sales in the semiconductor industry in California. She decided, in her forties, to go back to university to do a doctorate in psychology, at the University of St Andrews, in Scotland. An evolutionary psychologist, her research has examined the underlying mechanisms of human mate selection, looking at such factors as hormones, pheromones, aging, asymmetry, and facial features. More recently she has been doing research at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, exploring the relationship of various psychological traits to religious belief, across the spectrum from strong theism to strong non-theism.

This talk will be at the National Science Foundation, Room 110, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA -- one block south of the Ballston-MU Metro stop. Enter NSF from the corner of 9th N & N Stuart Streets.

Refreshments & Socializing until 3:45 pm

Everyone is welcome, members and non-members.
For more information: 301 587-3827

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Feb 12 U.S. Science Education and Global Competitiveness

Saturday, Feb 12, 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

Bruce A. Fuchs, Ph.D.

Director of the NIH Office of Science Education
A public talk. Free. (Map) (Flyer)
National Science Foundation, Room 110 
4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 

In December of last year the results of the latest Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) were released and, once again, U.S. students performed poorly in science and math compared to students from many other countries. We are going to look at some of the international student data and talk about what we can, and cannot, conclude from these types of studies. Some of the common questions addressed will be ...
  • Are these results “real”? 
  • Aren’t we comparing “all” our kids to a tiny elite in the nations that outperform us? 
  • There can’t be anything to really worry about, right? 
  • After all, if we are so dumb then why are we so rich? Oops!
Dr. Fuchs is responsible for monitoring a range of science education policy issues and providing advice to NIH leadership. He also directs the creation of a series of K-12 science education curriculum supplements that highlight the medical research findings of the NIH. The NIH Curriculum Supplement Series is designed to meet teacher’s educational goals as outlined in the National Science Education Standards and is available free to teachers across the nation. Teachers have requested the seventeen titles currently in the series more than 380,000 times. The office also actively creates innovative science and career education Web resources, such as the LifeWorks career exploration site, accessible to teachers and students across the nation. These resources are available at

Refreshments & Socializing until 3:45 pm

Ballston Metro. Enter at corner of 9th N. & N. Stuart Streets.