Programs and activities

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Among the many activities of the National Academies and its member organizations is the Keck Futures Initiative, a 15-year undertaking to stimulate interdisciplinary research, particularly cutting-edge research, and to increase interaction among researchers, universities, funding institutions, and the general public. The National Academies Keck Futures Initiative incorporates the following annual activities: Futures Conferences, Futures Grants, and National Academies Communication Awards. As of 2003, the National Academies annually bestow three $20,000 Communication Awards recognizing writers, journalists, and producers who have demonstrated excellence in communicating about science, engineering, and/or medicine to the general public through different media formats. In 2006, Elizabeth Kolbert, staff writer for the New Yorker, won the Newspaper/Magazine/Internet award for her three-part series "The Climate of Man." Additional 2006 finalists in the category, writing about climate change, included writer Michelle Nijhuis, "Hot Times: Global Warming in the West," High Country News, and Clayton Sandell, producer, and Bill Blakemore and Jay Lamonica, co-producers, for "Global Warming & Extinction," ABC News.

Since 1991, the NAS has addressed a broad range of contemporary scientific issues across disciplinary boundaries through the annual Arthur M. Sackler Colloquia, named in honor of the well-known scien tist, philanthropist, editor of Journal of Clinical and Experimental Psychobiology, and founder of the Medical Tribune. An average of four to six such colloquia are held, each generally two days long, global in scope, and featuring presentations by leading scientists and discussions with at least 100 researchers interested in the field. The colloquium, "Early Cities: New Perspectives on Pre-Industrial Urbanism," was held in Washington, D.C., in 2005; "Auditory Neuroscience: Development, Transduction, and Integration," in 2000 in Irvine, California; and "Carbon Dioxide and Climate Change," organized by Charles Keeling, of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, in Irvine in 1995.

The NAS also supports the Marian Koshland Science Museum, which features interactive displays about the role of science in people's daily lives and in national policymaking. The exhibit, "Global Warming Facts & Our Future," delved into issues related to global warming and its global impact on the quality of life. Questions addressed by the exhibit include: Is the Climate Warming, Are Humans Causing Climate Warming, What Effects Might Climate Warming Have, and What Should Be Done About Climate Warming. In 2004, the museum received the Bronze Galaxy Award for the exhibit, one of more than 400 entries from 14 countries to the 15th annual competition. In addition to exhibits, many of which are not permanent, the museum offers public and educational programs to stimulate discussion about science.

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Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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