February 2022

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KAS has been standing up for Science in Kentucky since 1914! We encourage aspiring scientists, promote science literacy, give science a voice in policymaking, and recognize those who make the future brighter through scientific discovery.


Share your news with KAS members

If you have something to share in the monthly KAS newsletter, get in touch with our Newsletter editor, Mark dela Cerna.

EPSCoR&Idea Funding, Training, & News

Check out news this month from Established Program for Stimulating Competitive Research (EPSCoR) and Institutional Development Award (IDeA), including federal funding opportunities and more!
EPSCoR & IDeA Newsletter

How to Join the KAS Listserv

KAS has set up a listserv so our members can talk to each other, to share science-related news & announcements, offers, requests, questions and answers. We are excited about fostering more conversations within our scientific community!

 Opt In to the listserv:
Log In at the KAS website (https://kyscience.org/)
In the Member Menu, go to Communication / Message Boards
Click to Opt In to the KAS Member Listserv (and choose the Daily Digest option if  you prefer)
To post to the listserv, send a message to kyscience@memberleap.com

COVID-19 and Masks

State-wide overall incidence rate remains high at 134 cases per 100,000, putting the entire Commonwealth in the Red Zone. We must continue observing safe practices including social distancing and mask-wearing.

KAS supports using sound science in policy decisions, especially in our response to the current pandemic. There is evidence that supports the case for mask mandates. Click here to read a study on the effectiveness of mask in preventing transmission and here for a CDC brief on mask-wearing. Meanwhile, vaccines remain our best tool to fight this pandemic. Find out more about this #ShotOfHope and how to get yours. To know more about resources that are available in Kentucky and specific information for local vaccinations and testing, visit the official Team Kentucky resource. You may also request your free COVID-19 home testing kits provided by the federal government. 

BenchTalkLive February 24, 7PM ET: Nanotech

Nanotechnology in Kentucky
24 February 2022, 7PM EST
This month, BenchTalkLive features two presenters who are leaders in nanotechnology in Kentucky. Find out about the National Science Foundation-funded research partnership between the University of Kentucky, the University of Louisville, and the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure. Find out how you can get access to facilities to do nanotech research!
"The KY Multiscale NSF-NNCI Node - What is it and how can it help you"
by Dr. Kevin Walsh, University of Louisville

"KY Multiscale: Helping Researchers, Educators, and Industry"
by Dr. Todd Hastings, University of Kentucky
Click here for more details about this event. As always, these sessions are free and you can register by following this linkCheck out past BenchTalk Live events and watch the recordings if you missed them. See you there!

Students from across state participate in advocacy workshops

Rob Weber

The Kentucky Academy of Science held the first of two Student Advocacy Workshops on Jan. 28 with science students from postsecondary schools throughout the state taking part in trainings on ways to give scientists a voice in public policy.

    More than 40 students registered for the online workshops, which were hosted by KAS in collaboration with University of Louisville’s Science and Policy Outreach Group and the Kentucky Advocates for Science Policy and Research at the University of Kentucky.

    In addition to tips on having an impact when state laws are made, the Jan. 28 workshop featured a panel discussion on science bills currently under consideration at the State Capitol. With KAS Education and Advocacy Committee Chair Trent Garrison moderating, the panel included representatives from Kentucky Voices for Health, the Kentucky Conservation Committee, and the Kentucky Resources Council.

    The second workshop will be held on Feb. 25. That session will include lessons from student advocates on writing effective letters to policymakers and crafting a persuasive one-page documents on policy issues. State Representative Josie Raymond of Louisville will talk to students about legislation of interest to the science community.
    Students who complete both workshops will receive a “Kentucky Science Advocate” certificate from KAS.

Calling Scientists: Do you have knowledge in THESE topic areas?

KAS is looking for scientists with knowledge in several topic areas. If you can help us please get in touch!
  • PFAS Chemicals. A bill has been introduced in the KY legislature to regulate these "forever chemicals" and we want to contribute some science to inform the debate.
  • Medical Cannabis. A bill has been introduced in the KY legislature to allow this and we want to contribute some science to inform public debate.
  • Plastics. There are multiple bills that address aspects of plastic waste and we want to contribute strong scientific background.
  • Health and Medicine. There are numerous bills, in addition to COVID-related bills, that have been introduced involving medical testing, screening, and health care coverages. We are looking for some professional help in decoding these.
  • Oceanography. The summer theme at Kentucky libraries is oceanography. Librarians have reached out to KAS to find scientists interested in speaking to a general adult or youth audience. Please interpret broadly--if you can share something about marine organisms, hurricanes and tsunamis, marine fossils, climate dynamics, night sky navigation, plate tectonics, or anything oceanography-related, we'd love your help!
To participate in any of these or if you are interested in volunteering your expertise, please get in touch. For the library programs, we are assembling a list of speakers for in-person or virtual sessions. We greatly appreciate your help in advancing our mission to bring science to everyone!

Pro Tip: If you are a Graduate or Professional member, we encourage you to update your profile with information about your areas of research, or join our Science Speakers Bureau so we can find you when we need you. We are delighted to put your expertise to use. Thank you!

KGS records ground vibrations during WKY storms

Rob Weber

Meteorologists weren’t the only scientists who recorded measurements associated with the devastating storms that hit Western Kentucky in December. Scientists with the Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS) also logged data from earthquake monitoring stations in parts of the state where storms were strong enough to shake the ground.
 KGS is part of the University of Kentucky, an enhanced affiliate of KAS.
    It’s not uncommon for the wind energy in strong storm systems to exert forces on buildings and towers that produce detectable ground vibrations. Lightning strikes can also produce vibrations that are picked up by earthquake monitoring stations. But the seismic activity associated with the December storms was unusual, said Dr. Seth Carpenter, a KGS seismologist.

    “I’m confident some of what we saw in the recordings … is from lightning itself,” Carpenter said. “…We did record something that shows very strong ground motion that is not at all like lightning … There’s an enhanced vibration that continues for minutes.”
    That recording came from a Hickman County location directly between areas where tornados were reported. Although the seismic recordings were clearly caused by storms associated with the tornadic system, there’s not enough evidence to say for certain whether a tornado passed through the monitoring site. “But it’s definitely something I have not seen before,” Carpenter said of the recordings.

    KGS data from the December storms (shown above) can be viewed at KGS Webpage

Strengthening science voices at the State Capitol

Rob Weber

Bills important to the science community are under consideration at the State Capitol and the KAS Education and Advocacy Committee is working to make sure our members have a voice as public policy decisions are made.

    Almost 200 pieces of legislation on matters important to the science community – including health, environment, and education bills – have been reviewed by the committee. Summaries of key bills of interest or concern are listed on the “Legislation 2022” portion of the KAS website. You’ll find them here: https://www.kyscience.org/legislative_issues_2022.php.

(Image from capitol.ky.gov)

    Please help promote sound public policy in Kentucky by giving your feedback to state lawmakers. To share input, call the Kentucky General Assembly’s toll-free message line at 1-800-372-7181.

The Waldron Shale Project

The Waldron Shale Project aims to provide teachers with the training and materials to implement a hands-on paleontological activity where students can learn about earth science, the fossil record, and scientific methodology using actual fossils. 

The Waldron Shale Project is an inquiry-based paleontology education project led by Dr. Kate Bulinski, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at Bellarmine University and partially supported by an Athey Science Education and Outreach Grant. Dr. Bulinski is the 2017 recipient of the KAS Excellence in Science Education & Outreach Award

Another professional development workshop is scheduled to happen in June 2022. Visit the project page for more information or click here to submit an application. The project page also features helpful resources such as lectures and lesson plans freely accessible!

Call for Science Fair Judges

Science fairs are a great way to meet the next generation of Kentuckian scientists and to celebrate the scientific creativity of students in our state. Learn more by visiting the webpage for the following ISEF-affiliated science fairs throughout Kentucky. 


2022 Bahamas Short Course

Dr. Frank Ettensohn, Professor of Geology at the University of Kentucky, will be doing a carbonate short course on San Salvador Island in the Bahamas. Follow this link for more information on topics covered and expectations for the trip. Registration form can be found at the KY-AIPG website.

Saturday Morning Science at EKU Feb 12- April 23

New Journal Articles Published in the JKAS

Volume 82 of the Journal of the Kentucky Academy of Science (JKAS) is now available, hot off the press! Members can login and access the articles here. Here's a quick view of the contents of this volume!

  • Student Retention in Quantitative STEM Majors: Science Teachers and College Students' Perceptions of Push and Pull Factors
  • The Political Implications of Southern Regional Identification in Kentucky, Missouri, and West Virginia
  • The Moderating Effect of Positively Valenced Words on Driving after Drinking Outcomes
  • Molecular Dynamics Simulation of an ι-Carrageenan Hexamer as Single and Double Helices
  • Freshwater Sponges (Porifera: Spongillidae) of the Wild and Scenic Red River, Kentucky (Preview: SEM photos of Radiospongilla crateriformis above)
  • Occurrence of Compsopogon coeruleus (red alga) on Lernaea (Copepoda) from Fishes in the Obion Creek Drainage, Hickman County, Kentucky
  • Abstracts from the Annual Meeting of the Kentucky Academy of Science 5–6 November 2021 Virtual Meeting

Please consider submitting your next manuscript to JKAS! For contribution guidelines, click here.

Science Job Postings around KY

If you're looking for a job or if you're hiring, pop over to our jobs page. Please send any job announcements to executivedirector@kyscience.org and include contact information and closing date. We have several new job postings this month that you can view by clicking here. 

Thinking about Undergraduate Research this summer?

Deadlines are in February for Summer REU (Research Experiences for Undergradutes) experiences. These are paid opportunities and are available all over the country. KAS has a link to search for research opportunities Click here to find opportunities.

If you know of any summer research opportunities that you would like to add to our list, please get in touch.

KY NSF-EPSCoR launches new website

The Kentucky National Science Foundation Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (NSF EPSCoR) has launched a new and improved website. Visit kynsfepscor.uky.edu to learn more about currently funded projects, new funding opportunities, and other updates about this initiative.
KAS Newsletter - February 2022