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June 29, 2007

Sociology Exhibited on Capitol Hill at NSF-Focused Event


Nearly 500 attendees bask in table-top science displays and demonstrations

ASA sponsored another successful and popular science poster this summer on Capitol Hill at the 13th Annual Exhibition and Reception sponsored by the Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF), an organization of 115 science societies. City University of New York sociologist Andrew Beveridge displayed his research project, titled “Visualizing U.S. Social Change,” which makes ordinarily dry demographic information come compellingly “alive” on the computer screen. His was one among 34 science projects exhibited.

Beveridge demonstrated Social Explorer, a research tool for visualizing historical demographic data, which he developed using National Science Foundation (NSF) funding. Tapping U.S. Census data, it provides information on neighborhoods, cities, towns, and congressional districts across seven decades. Using a web-based platform, it allows users to see—through captivating and interactive graphic depictions—household income, race/ethnicity, citizenship, and other Census data represented by color changes. At the CNSF Exhibition, members of Congress and their staff as well as NSF leadership had the opportunity to explore these demographic characteristics. Congressional visitors were particularly intrigued by Social Explorer’s ability to present a visually dynamic time-series-like evolution of congressional districts and neighborhoods. (See <www.socialexplorer.com>.)

A record 493 people from congressional and science policy communities attended the two-hour early-evening event. This record attendance surpassed past CNSF exhibitions by more than 100. As always, 11 members of Congress attended, including Representatives Jason Altmire (D-PA), Brian Baird (D-WA), Lois Capps (D-CA), William “Lacy” Clay, Jr. (D-MO), Vernon J. Ehlers (R-MI), Bob Etheridge (D-NC), David Hobson (R-OH), Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), Heather Wilson (R-NM), and Joe Wilson (R-SC).

The CNSF Exhibition/Reception is held each year as one component of the scientific community’s advocacy on behalf of NSF. The Coalition for National Science Funding advocates for the future vitality of the national science, technology, mathematics, and engineering enterprises. For the complete listing of posters, see the CNSF website at <www.cnsfweb.org>.

About the American Sociological Association
The American Sociological Association (www.asanet.org), founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science and profession, and promoting the contributions to and use of sociology by society.