Tuesday, November 24, 2009

UW's Science Posse gets big NSF grant

Phil Noble at the Cowboy State Free Press reported two science-related stories on 11/23. The first was about the new supercomputer being built west of Cheyenne. Great news for Wyoming's science footprint and also economic development -- the kind that actually has a huge impact on the economy and education. Sure, credit card call centers are keen, and Wal-Mart distribution centers even keener, but this NCAR-supported supercomputer will be a research hub and employ a highly educated work force. Not a huge work force, but one with clout. UW Trustee Dr. Taylor Haynes of Cheyenne says that this project “will be the first true diversification of Wyoming’s economy.”

The more intriguing story was about the University of Wyoming Science Posse. Here's the story:

A nearly $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation will help the Science Posse, a group of University of Wyoming graduate students whose primary goal is to raise awareness and understanding of science, expand its offerings to schoolchildren across the state.

The five-year grant — awarded to Don Roth, the Science Posse’s principal investigator and a UW professor of molecular biology and pharmacy — will allow the Science Posse to add education on the complexities between water and energy to its already expansive list of offerings.

The NSF grant will continue through 2013 at $575,463 per year, contingent upon the availability of funds and the project’s scientific progress.

The Science Posse has worked with about 70 teachers and 2,500 students in 12 Wyoming counties and 34 schools since its creation in 2006. The group’s goals are to increase public appreciation and awareness of science, improve students’ understanding of science, inspire students to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and develop and enhance partnerships between UW and the Wyoming energy industry.

Go to the Science Posse web site at http://www.scienceposse.org/.

This is not about a billion-dollar computer. It's about some faculty and graduate students getting together to spread the word about science. Maybe you could call them techie community organizers. I will.

No comments: