Summer Short Courses

Next summer (2011) we have some major academic plans on the table. We’re going to be offering summer short courses at the Fairfax Campus of George Mason. The topics are still in flux, but they will bring top-flight faculty from around the world to Mason’s brand new Hotel and Conference Center, the Mason Inn. Generally we’ll be teaching week long short courses in our areas of expertise: social complexity, neuroethics and policy, and possibly agent based modeling. The courses will leverage the newly expanded Institute Facility (by next summer we’ll be around 60,000 square feet) and the University’s close proximity to the Nation’s capital. Stay tuned!

Reading the tea leaves

There’s an awful lot going on at the same time this week as far as science funding is concerned. Besides the Recovery Act, there’s the Omnibus Bill for the FY09 budget and then the blueprint for the FY10 budget–it’s all hitting at the same time and so this is not the time for drawing conclusions.

But it’s certainly the time to be preparing our faculty to move rapidly in terms of new opportunities for sponsored federal funding. Accordingly, just as we are retrenching in response to the economic crisis, we’re simultaneously brainstorming about the new science that might be possible with proper federal investment.
To my mind, science investment, is a major driver of the economy. In the current unprecedented conditions (at least in my lifetime), it’s the commonsense way to drive forward towards new technologies that will open up new opportunities, while at the same time educating our citizens to compete in an increasingly dynamic world. I hope the Obama Administration agrees.

Networked Science

Diana Rhoten’s very perceptive piece in today’s Chronicle of Higher Education (on-line) really has it spot on about changes in the way science is being done here.

Money quote:

But Networked Science takes that idea a step further, using cyberinfrastructure to create a virtual hallway in which the doorways — wide enough to accommodate all the scientists who want to pass through — lead to labs and offices containing every discipline under the sun. By providing that space, unachievable in the physical world, being virtual can actually surpass being there.