November 20, 2009
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
Thank you for your many efforts to promote science and reignite the spark of scientific discovery in our nation's youth.
I draw to your attention the Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS), a successful informal science education and engagement program. This initiative was initially cultivated by a coalition of scientific societies and science educators, with funding and staff support provided by the American Institute of Biological Sciences, Geological Society of America, National Science Teachers Association, and the University of California Museum of Paleontology. Now, COPUS has grown to include a membership of universities, government agencies, professional societies, individual classrooms, and small non-profits that use the arts to promote science. Since its formation roughly two years ago, COPUS has grown to include more than 900 participants from all 50 states, 21 regional hubs, and 60 international colleagues -- from Algeria to Macedonia.
A major goal of the COPUS project is to increase public appreciation of science. COPUS has sought to help people understand science as a way of knowing. In other words, how do we know what we know? Thus, Understanding Science (www.understandingscience.org), a resource for classroom teachers, was developed through collaborations between scientists and educators.
The Year of Science 2009 is another COPUS project. During this year-long celebration of science, a unique theme from different scientific disciplines has been showcased each month. Participants in COPUS have collaborated to produce a website (www.yearofscience2009.org) which showcases the great contributions of science to our lives, with new content being added each month. Website content has been contributed by 89 organizations from across the scientific spectrum, 53 individual scientists, and 13 science bloggers.
Once again, thank you for your efforts on behalf of science and science education. If you or any member of your administration would like additional information about these programs, please visit www.copusproject.org or contact AIBS director of public policy Dr. Robert Gropp at 202-628-1500 x 250.
Richard T. O'Grady, Ph.D.