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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2014/07/18

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear friends of NCSE,

NCSE's Eugenie C. Scott is astronomically honored. And Wyoming,
unsurprisingly, takes notice of the Climate Science Students Bill of


Asteroid 249530 Eugeniescott was named in honor of NCSE's founding
executive director Eugenie C. Scott, according to the Minor Planet
Circulars for July 12, 2014. She is described there as "an American
physical anthropologist who served as the executive director of the
National Center for Science Education for more than 25 years. She
improved the teaching of science-based curricula for students
throughout the United States."

"It's a surprise, but obviously a delightful one," Scott commented.
"I'll never look up at the night sky in quite the same way again!" Amy
Mainzer, the principal investigator on the project that discovered the
asteroid, explained, "Discovering asteroids is science. Since Eugenie
Scott has done so much to help people understand how science works, it
seemed only fitting to name one after her! I'm very pleased to honor
her contributions to science education in this lasting fashion."

David Morrison, director of the Carl Sagan Center for Study of Life in
the Universe at the SETI Institute and a member of NCSE's Advisory
Council, expressed his appreciation of Mainzer's decision to honor
Scott, saying, "In her lifelong devotion to science education, Genie
has encouraged innumerable students to become scientists and
engineers. It is great that her contributions are recognized by
assigning her name to an asteroid."

Phil Plait, the astronomer and science popularizer known as "The Bad
Astronomer," added, "I'm very pleased that Genie Scott now has her
name immortalized in the asteroid belt. She is more to me than a
friend; her work defending and promoting science has made her one of
my heroes. I can't think of anyone else more deserving of this honor."
(Plait suggested the idea of honoring Scott to Mainzer, but he credits
the idea itself to Bob Blaskiewicz.)

Mainzer provided the following information about the discovery of
Asteroid Eugeniescott.


Genie Scott's asteroid was discovered by the near-Earth object hunting
portion of the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer telescope (WISE),
which orbits the Earth and senses asteroids using infrared light. With
our infrared telescope, we can sense the heat coming off asteroids as
they are warmed by the Sun, which lets us measure size and
reflectivity. Asteroid Eugeniescott orbits the Sun in the main
asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter every 5.3 years. It is about
2.9 kilometers across, and its surface is covered with a dark material
suggesting that it was formed in the cooler, outer parts of our solar

When this object was first discovered by WISE on April 18, 2010, it
was given the temporary name 2010 HX14 by the International
Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center, the only international body
with the authority to name asteroids. ... When the permanent number is
assigned, the discoverer has the right to suggest a name to the
International Astronomical Union, which then votes on the proposal.
When the asteroid was assigned the permanent designation 249540, I
submitted the proposal to name it Eugeniescott to the IAU, since I am
the principal investigator of the NEOWISE project that found it.


Mainzer also provided one of the discovery images of the asteroid,
seen on NCSE's website; the wavelengths of these images range from 3.4
to 22 microns.

For information about the asteroid from JPL, visit: 

For the Minor Planet Circulars description of the asteroid (PDF, p. 324), visit: 

And for the discovery image of the asteroid, visit: 


The Climate Science Students Bill of Rights, which articulates the
principle that all students deserve the best climate science education
available as part of a 21st-century science education, was widely
discussed in Wyoming. Launched on July 10, 2014, the bill of rights is
a joint project of NCSE, the Alliance for Climate Education, the Union
of Concerned Scientists, and Climate Parents. (The text and further
information is available on NCSE's website.)

The interest in the Climate Science Students Bill of Rights on the
part of the Wyoming media was unsurprising since, as NCSE previously
reported, in March 2014 the state legislature adopted a budget
derailing the adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards
because of concern about the NGSS's inclusion of climate change. The
decision attracted, and continues to attract, wide criticism from the
scientific and education communities.

As Marguerite Herman of Wyoming for Science Education told WyoFile
(July 10, 2014), "Thousands of people in Wyoming and elsewhere were
appalled that the deliberate, professional, thorough process of
writing quality standards for Wyoming students was stopped by
politicians who ... were willing to bar science standards that are
recognized as being the best for Wyoming schools."

Thus, the Casper Star-Tribune (July 11, 2014) observed, the new
campaign was "[m]otivated in part by Wyoming lawmakers who banned a
controversial set of K-12 science benchmarks earlier this year." John
Friedrich of Climate Parents told the newspaper, "As we see it, given
the impact of climate change that we're already seeing and what
scientists say is at stake, ... we just think it's unacceptable for
students to be denied information about this crisis."

NCSE's Mark McCaffrey explained to the Wyoming Tribune Eagle (July 14,
2014) , "[There are] overt efforts, as we've seen in Wyoming, to
deliberately block the access of students to learn about climate
science." He added, "And a lot of teachers don't have the background,
or they think teaching both sides of a phony science controversy is a
good plan." The bill of rights is intended to attract support for the
teaching of climate science in the face of such opposition.

As NCSE previously reported, the Wyoming state board of education
halted development of a new set of science standards, leaving the old
set, adopted in 2008, in force. Local school districts are apparently
free to adopt the NGSS, and about fifteen (of forty-eight) have done
so. But Marguerite Herman told the Star-Tribune that "we are
advocating for the Legislature to act as soon as it convenes to
restore the state board's ability to consider all standards."

For the text of and information about the Climate Science Students
Bill of Rights, visit: 

For the WyoFile story, visit: 

For the Casper Star-Tribune story, visit: 

For the Wyoming Tribune News story, visit: 

And for NCSE's previous coverage of events in Wyoming, visit: 


Have you been visiting NCSE's blog, The Science League of America,
recently? If not, then you've missed:

* Ann Reid explaining a new breakthrough in antibiotics: 

* Glenn Branch defining twenty-five obscure words in a book about the
Scopes trial: 

* Eugenie C. Scott telling a tale from NCSE's recent excursion to the
Grand Canyon: 

And much more besides!

For The Science League of America, visit: 

Thanks for reading. And don't forget to visit NCSE's website -- -- where you can always find the latest news on 
evolution and climate education and threats to them.


Glenn Branch
Deputy Director
National Center for Science Education, Inc.
420 40th Street, Suite 2
Oakland, CA 94609-2509
510-601-7203 x303
fax: 510-601-7204

Check out NCSE's new blog, Science League of America: 

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