Keep an eye on science

Editor's note: This year, the Light has picked a handful of people to watch in the New Year. We've selected them for what they're likely to bring to our community - in this case the scientific community.

Next week we'll look at people who may play a role in the daily life and businesses in la Jolla.

Entrepreneur Larry Bock is the driving force behind the

San Diego Science Festival

  1. Billed as the largest multicultural, multigenerational, multidisciplinary celebration of science on the West Coast, this inaugural event will take place throughout the entire month of March 2009 and will feature hundreds of events in venues around San Diego County.

Bock was inspired to take on the project because San Diego is on the forefront of scientific research and development and is home to many of top scientific corporations. He took as his model science festivals in other parts of the world that currently draw crowds in the hundreds of thousands.

So far, the San Diego Science Festival has partnered with more than 100 businesses and organizations in the community, among them UCSD and the Birch Aquarium at Scripps. Bock's goal is an event that unites the community, inspires educational dialogue within participating families, and showcases the science and innovation taking place in San Diego.

Phil Bourne, a UCSD professor in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, had applied online video and social networking to the world of science. Bourne is co-founder of

SciVee

, a Web site that enables researchers (in all fields) to post online videos in which they communicate about their peer-reviewed research and meeting posters.

The goal of the so-called "YouTube of science" is to make the process of science more visible, shareable, and accessible throughout the research cycle. There's content on the site that appeals to all age groups.

SciVee partners include the National Science Foundation, UCSD's CalIt2, San Diego Supercomputer Center, and the online journal PloS (Public Library of Science).

Former Johns Hopkins University President William Brody takes over the helm at the Salk Institute for Biological Research in March. Brody brings to his new job as Salk president an impressive background in both medicine and electrical and computer engineering as well as academic leadership of one of the nation's top universities.

As an administrator Brody led Johns Hopkins for more than 12 years. During his tenure, he oversaw the completion of two major fundraising campaigns that raised $1.52 billion and $3.1 billion, respectively.

Brody's skills as a fundraiser will be called immediately into action as Salk looks to fund a $250 million expansion plan, approved in October 2008 by the San Diego City Council.

A decade ago, Del Mar resident and real estate developer Ivan Gayler sold his interest in the Del Mar Plaza to become a fulltime conservationist. He founded

Nature and Culture International (NCI)

which, to date, has developed an impressive track record in several Latin American countries including being the driving force that led UNESCO to declare 2.8 million acres of Andean cloud forests, in Ecuador, as a biosphere reserve.

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