To: Science writers, editors, and broadcasters
We invite your coverage of the 44th Annual NEW HORIZONS IN
Saturday, Oct. 28, through Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2006
Organized by the Council for the Advancement of Science
Writing Hosted by The Johns Hopkins University
The Tremont Plaza Hotel
CASW has a great lineup planned for this year's New
Horizons in Science, with briefings on new findings in
particle physics, epigenomics, climate change, archeology,
neuroscience, environmental health, and the sociology of
political advertising, among others. For the second year,
New Horizons will be held jointly with the annual workshops
of the National Association of Science Writers.
New Horizons has several aims. First, we want to give you
stories to file, to help you cover your costs. We also want
to give you a heads-up on research likely to make news in
the coming months. And in the course of presenting the
news, we want to give you background that will help you
recognize important new developments. We've arranged the
schedule to leave time for informal interaction and
interviews with our presenters, some of whom will come from
Johns Hopkins and the rest from research institutions
across the country. There is no fee, and some meals will be
Schedule New Horizons begins Saturday, Oct. 28, with a
joint NASW/CASW lunch-with-scientists. The briefings begin
after lunch and continue until noon, Tuesday, Oct. 31.
Campus lab tours are scheduled for Monday afternoon, Oct.
30; you can select your preferred tours when you register.
(For more tour information, see
www.jhu.edu/newhorizons/.) On Tuesday afternoon, we
have a special half-day bus trip to NASA's nearby Goddard
Space Flight Center.
The joint CASW/NASW banquet will be held Sunday night, Oct.
29, at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. The banquet will
feature the presentation of NASW's Science-in-Society
awards, CASW's Victor Cohn Prize for Excellence in Medical
Science Reporting, and the Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award for
young science journalists. Tickets for the banquet are
The NASW workshops will immediately precede New Horizons,
beginning at noon on Friday, Oct. 27, and ending Saturday,
the 28th, after lunch.
Registration We expect a record-setting crowd, so it will
be important to make hotel and meeting reservations early.
Register for New Horizons (and the NASW workshops) at this
Hotel reservations New Horizons and the NASW workshops will
take place at the Tremont Plaza Hotel in downtown
Baltimore, six blocks from the Inner Harbor. Discounted
rooms are available at $139 per night, plus tax.
Reservations cannot be made online. You must call the
Tremont Plaza Hotel — not the Tremont Park, which is
also in Baltimore — to make reservations. Here's the
Tremont Plaza Hotel 222 St. Paul Place Baltimore, Md. 21202
Call 1-410-727-2222 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern Time,
Monday through Friday. Ask for in-house reservations, and
be sure to mention science writers.
Questions For questions about meeting logistics, contact
CASW's administrative secretary, Diane McGurgan, at email@example.com.
For information about the program, contact New Horizons
Program Director Paul Raeburn at
And to learn more about CASW, contact CASW's Executive
Director, Ben Patrusky at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preliminary Program The full schedule of New Horizons
presentations will be mailed to NASW members and online
registrants in early September. Here is a quick look at
some of the presentations we've lined up so far:
RITUALS IN ANCIENT EGYPT. The Egyptian New Kingdom, from
1567 B.C.E. to 1085 B.C.E., has not normally been known as
the cultural forerunner of Janis Joplin or the Grateful
Dead. New evidence being unearthed from a temple in Luxor,
however, is leading to surprising findings about Egyptians'
concept of the divine and how they celebrated it.
Archaeologists have unearthed paintings rich in sexual
symbolism, aphrodisiacs and music. Or, as they're being
forced to conclude: sex, drugs, and rock & roll.
HORMONE NEUROTRANSMITTERS. For a century, biologists have
divided hormones and neurotransmitters into separate
categories. Both are used for communication, but in
different ways. New findings suggest that estrogen, in
addition to its hormonal functions, may also function as a
rapid-acting neurotransmitter. If that's true, it could
broaden researchers' understanding of the brain — and
maybe even shed some light on the accusations against Barry
Bonds and Floyd Landis.
VOTER PSYCHOLOGY. In some of the first studies to look at
the role of emotions in voters' decisions, researchers are
doing psychological experiments to examine not only how
voters respond to emotional ads, but exactly how
politicians exploit voters' emotions to sway their choices.
They are also looking at contentious issues outside
elections, such as immigration. Which elements of that
issue are most likely to trigger anxiety, and why? We'll
also learn about a new, unpublished analysis of the use of
emotion in ads from the 2000 campaign.
PARTICLE COSMOLOGY. Late next year, the Large Hadron
Collider at CERN , the European Center for Nuclear
Research, will be turned on, offering a new window into the
smallest physics (particles) and the largest (cosmology).
Testing is being completed now, and substantial quantities
of data are expected by 2008. What will the LHC tell us?
And we'll get an advance look at an ambitious experimental
program aimed at answering questions about dark energy,
something that would have seemed impossible only a short
FOSSIL FORESTS. Researchers would like to know more about
the teeming plants and animals that flourished in conifer
forests that covered an ice-free Siberia, Greenland and
Arctic Canada during the Eocene, about 45 million years
ago. How did these plant communities live through three
months of total darkness? What was the status of the
greenhouse effect in the atmosphere at that time? The
discovery of a fabulous wealth of exquisitely preserved
fossils on a remote northern Canadian island is allowing
researchers to answer those questions.
ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS. Certain hand soaps contain the
antimicrobial agent triclocarban, or TCC, even though the
chemical has no clear benefit. Sewage systems carry that
triclocarban, which is toxic when ingested, to wastewater
treatment plants, which, researchers have found, are very
effective at removing it. But the agent persists in the
sludge removed from wastewater treatment and that sludge is
often recycled as a fertilizer and soil conditioner.
Researchers will report where else they've found TCC , and
what the health consequences might be.
LAB VISITS. On Monday afternoon, we'll break up the meeting
with visits to a variety of Johns Hopkins laboratories.
Among the things you will see on the tours: A 43,000-gallon
tank with an undersea robot being developed for the Woods
Hole Oceanographic Institution. A simulation of hurricane
damage to seacoasts in a 60-foot-long wave tank. The
control room of the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer.
Stem cells that have been engineered to grow into cartilage
that one day might be used to shore up your battered
runner's knee. The Johns Hopkins child development lab,
where infants and toddlers are scrutinized to see how they
learn about the world. (Lunch will be provided.)
AND MORE. Check the Web site for further updates as we add