November 2011 Issue • Volume 39 • Issue 8

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Science Policy

Least Segregated Metros Concentrated in Fast-Growing South and West

science policy

Black-white residential segregation declined modestly since 2000, continuing the gradual pace begun in 1980, according to 2010 U.S. Census data. Among large metropolitan areas with a total population of 500,000 or more, the least segregated metros were located in the faster-growing South and West, while the most segregated metro areas were mainly concentrated in the slower-growing Northeast and Midwest. The 10 least-segregated metro areas all grew faster than the national average of 11 percent between 2000 and 2010, with seven of them seeing increases of 20 percent or more, according to the Population Reference Bureau Reports on America: "First Results From the 2010 Census." Only one of the 10 most-segregated metros experienced growth rates that reached even half the national average. For more information, visit

Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence for Judges Is Updated

The National Research Council today released the third edition of the Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence.Developed to guide judges as they encounter scientific evidence at trials, it replaces an edition published in 2000 and includes new chapters on areas such as neuroscience, mental health, and forensic science. The new manual was developed in collaboration with the Federal Judicial Center, which produced the previous editions, and was rigorously peer-reviewed in accordance with the procedures of the National Research Council. Chapters on topics such as epidemiology, statistics, and engineering have been updated or reshaped. Each provides an overview of principles and methods of the science from which legal evidence is typically derived and examples of cases in which such evidence was presented. in. The reference manual is intended to assist judges with the management of cases involving complex scientific and technical evidence; it is not intended, however, to instruct judges on what evidence should be admissible. The introduction was written by U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer For more information, visit

The White House and National Science Foundation Announce New Workplace Flexibility Policies to Support America’s Scientists and Their Families

In late September, the White House Council on Women and Girls Executive Director, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director, and National Science Foundation (NSF) Director announced the "NSF Career-Life Balance Initiative," a 10-year plan to provide greater work-related flexibility to women and men in research careers. Among the best practices that NSF will expand Foundation-wide, are ones that will allow researchers to delay or suspend their grants for up to one year in order to care for a newborn or newly adopted child or fulfill other family obligations—maximizing current policy to facilitate scientists’ reentry into their professions with minimal loss of momentum. Related to this policy, First Lady Michelle Obama spoke at a White House event about the importance of supporting and retaining women and girls in STEM careers. At the event, the NSF discussed family-friendly policies for retaining women in STEM fields. Women today currently earn 41% of PhDs in STEM fields, but make up only 28% of tenure-track faculty in those fields. Reducing the dropout rate of women in STEM careers is especially important in the quest for gender equality because women in STEM jobs earn 33 percent more than those in non-STEM occupations and the wage gap between men and women in STEM jobs is smaller than in other fields.For more information on these new policies, see

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