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Web notes & calendar

Calendar of
upcoming events

Saturday, February 10, 2007
The Implications of Evolution: Evidence and Applications — The UCMP short course features a series of talks on current research in evolutionary biology, including behavior and defense, primate evolution, and coevolution and its impact on biodiversity. Keep an eye on the short course webpage for more details.

Saturday, April 21, 2007
The Annual UCMP Open House held in conjunction with Cal Day.

Building an understanding of science
UCMP has received funding from the National Science Foundation under grant #EAR-0624436 to develop a freely accessible website that will provide an accurate portrayal of the nature of science, as well as tools for teaching associated concepts.

The motivation for this project is based on research that indicates that students and teachers at all grade levels have inadequate understandings of the nature of science, which may be traced to classrooms where the nature of science is often taught as a simple, linear, and non-generative process. This is a false and impoverished depiction of science that disengages students, discourages public support, and may help explain current indications that the US is losing its global edge in science. Even beyond the health of the US economy, many arguments support a concerted effort to raise public understanding of science. The public has a genuine need to critically assess conflicting representations of "scientific" evidence in the media and to make decisions based on their assessment of these claims. To do this, they need to understand the strengths, limitations, and basic methods of the enterprise that has produced those claims. The Understanding Science project takes an important step towards this goal by providing teachers with tools to effectively teach the nature of science.

To learn more about this two-phased project, visit understandingscience.org. We will be updating this site with our progress and hope to debut the first components of Understanding Science in August 2007.

Understanding Evolution website grows in popularity
Understanding Evolution page requests for 2006
The Understanding Evolution website has seen a steady increase in usage since its debut in 2004, based on web page requests. In 2006, successful page requests totalled 11,594,157, up almost 66% from 2005.