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August 2012



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August 2012

New Releases

Fueling-Innovation-BMSAFueling Innovation and Discovery: The Mathematical Sciences in the 21st Century

Prepared as part of the study on the Mathematical Sciences in 2025, a broad assessment of the current state of the mathematical sciences in the United States, Fueling Innovation and Discovery presents mathematical sciences advances in an engaging way. The report describes the contributions that mathematical sciences research has made to advance our understanding of the universe and the human genome. It also explores how the mathematical sciences are contributing to healthcare and national security, and the importance of mathematical knowledge and training to a range of industries, such as information technology and entertainment. Fueling Innovation and Discovery will be of use to policy makers, researchers, business leaders, students, and others interested in learning more about the deep connections between the mathematical sciences and every other aspect of the modern world. To function well in a technologically advanced society, every educated person should be familiar with multiple aspects of the mathematical sciences.

booklet-cover-imageResearch for a Future in Space

This booklet, which provides examples of enabling research and descriptions of scientific insights enabled by access to space, is based on the joint report Recapturing a Future for Space Exploration: Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era from the Space Studies Board and the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board.

innovation-it-coverContinuing Innovation in Information Technology

Information technology (IT) is widely understood to be the enabling technology of the 21st century. IT has transformed, and continues to transform, all aspects of our lives: commerce and finance, education, employment, energy, health care, manufacturing, government, national security, transportation, communications, entertainment, science, and engineering. IT and its impact on the U.S. economy-both directly (the IT sector itself) and indirectly (other sectors that are powered by advances in IT)-continue to grow in size and importance. In 1995, the National Research Council's Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB) produced the report Evolving the High Performance Computing and Communications Initiative to Support the Nation's Information Infrastructure. A graphic in that report, often called the "tire tracks" diagram because of its appearance, produced an extraordinary response by clearly linking government investments in academic and industry research to the ultimate creation of new information technology industries with more than $1 billion in annual revenue. Used in presentation to Congress and executive branch decision makers and discussed broadly in the research and innovation policy communities, the tire tracks figure dispelled the assumption that the commercially successful IT industry is self-sufficient, underscoring through long incubation periods of years and even decades. The figure was updated in 2002, 2003, and 2009 reports produced by the CSTB. With the support of the National Science Foundation, CSTB updated the tire tracks figure. Continuing Innovation in Information Technology includes the updated figure and a brief text based in large part on prior CSTB reports.

cover front
Remediation of Buried Chemical Warfare Materiel

As the result of disposal practices from the early to mid-twentieth century, approximately 250 sites in 40 states, the District of Columbia, and 3 territories are known or suspected to have buried chemical warfare materiel (CWM). Neither the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) treaty enacted in 1997, nor existing CWM domestic legislation, require recovery of buried CWM; however, pressure to take this action is becoming more intense while the cost of characterization, remedy selection, and even containment of these large buried CWM sites is likely to be significant. This report reviews the technologies currently used in the detection, excavation, packaging, storage, transportation, assessment, and destruction of buried CWM and the tools that may be needed in the future. It also examines the roles and funding of the organizations responsible for these remediation efforts.

Public Release Event and Webcast: Solar and Space Physics Decadal Survey

You are invited to attend the launch event of the upcoming release of the Solar and Space Physics Decadal Survey, which provides a prioritized research and applications strategy for the U.S. solar and space physics enterprise for the period 2013-2022. The event will be held on August 15 at the Keck Building of the National Academies, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001. Check the webpage for event updates and study details.


Lancaster Named BPA Director

We are pleased to announce that Jim Lancaster will serve as BPA director. Jim joined the NRC in June 2008 as a program officer in BPA and was appointed Associate Director of the board in July 2011.



He has a Ph.D. in Physics from Rice University and a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law. Before coming to the NRC, he served on the faculty and research staff at Rice and practiced law for more than a decade in Portland, Oregon. Don Shapero retired as director of the Board on Physics and Astronomy (BPA) on June 30, 2012 after 38 years at the National Academies.

New Booklet on the Biological and Physical Sciences in Space


Along the way to becoming a space-faring species, humanity has faced enormous challenges. Despite these many initial hurtles, however, the United States has contributed to the progress of human spaceflight by delivering the lunar landings, the space shuttle and, in partnership with other nations, the International Space Station. NASA's rich and successful history has been enabled by, and responsible for, a strong backbone of scientific and engineering research accomplishments. These milestones and future developments are made possible through ongoing advances in life and physical sciences research. The examples featured in the booklet illustrate only some of the mechanisms, uncertainties, and unique phenomena that are a part of the space environment. These are select areas that could benefit from fundamental research in the life and physical sciences, but they also provide a glimpse into the possible applications for this research both in space and for society as a whole.
Full NRC Decadal Survey
New Booklet

Nuclear Physics: Exploring the Heart of Matter

A recent Decadal Survey and pair of videos describes how techniques and instruments in nuclear science are being used to address major societal issues in a number of areas-including medicine, national security, energy technology, and climate research-and concludes by presenting a global context for the field and proposing a framework for progress though 2020 and beyond.

BPA Web Site and Videos | Report in Brief


The Heart of Matter - Long Version






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