Editor-in-Chief of Science magazine Bruce Alberts, former president of the National Academy of Sciences, will give a free talk titled “Why the University of California Needs to Lead a Redefinition of Science Education” at Corwin Pavilion on Feb. 27 at 5 p.m.

One of President Obama’s initial three Science Envoys, Alberts is a biochemistry and biophysics Professor Emeritus at UC San Francisco and served for 12 years as the NAS president. The speech is the first annual SciTrek Lecture on Science Education and will be followed by a question and answer session.

According to Chancellor Henry T. Yang, Alberts has been one of the nation’s biggest forces in education throughout the years.

“Professor Alberts is the editor of Science Magazine and for twelve years was the President of the National Academy of Sciences.  He is one of our nation’s leading educators,” Yang said in an email. “In these roles, Professor Alberts has been advocating for significant changes in science education at all levels. He will be spending the day with UCSB science and education faculty and students, many of our outreach programs, as well as a group of local K-12 science teachers.”

Biological chemistry professor Norbert Reich, co-founder of SciTrek, said the organization shares Albert’s goal of inspiring pre-college students to creatively approach the methods and procedures of science.

“It is a science outreach bringing university students into K-12 classrooms to show both students and teachers how science is a ‘special way of learning.’ The focus is on the processes, such as critical thinking, evidence based learning, and argumentation,” Reich said in an email. “The vision is to allow the students and teachers to directly engage in this process by working with university students. We are much less about content, about any particular area of science. We want to help the future citizens understand how science gets done, its limitations, and why it is an amazingly powerful way of figuring things out.”

Communications Coordinator for the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education George Yatchisin said Alberts will discuss the ways in which we can improve the steady decline of American education in science.

“Dr. Albert’s talk will be of interest to anyone who has a stake in the future of California,” Yatchisin said. “More than one third of California’s most experienced math and science teachers will retire by the end of this year. This is happening at a time when U.S. students are falling further behind in science education internationally. Dr. Alberts will address ways we can correct these issues, starting right here at the UC.”

Yatchisin said the entire campus community can benefit from learning about the campaign to revive science education in the U.S.

“The Gevirtz School is particularly interested in this talk as one of our goals is to help improve science education,” Yatchisin said. “We are part of the statewide CalTeach program, in which UC schools of education are working on training 100 math and science educators per year. These students are getting an intensive and specialized preparation for the science classroom that will help educate a 21st century workforce capable of high-level thinking and problem solving.”

According to Yang, the lecture will address relevant education issues that should interest students as well as faculty members.

“Our country is facing a critical need in the education of science teachers, specifically in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) areas,” Yang said in an email. “It is important that our Gevirtz Graduate School of Education take the lead to redefine science education, as the undergraduate students of today will become tomorrow’s graduate students, and tomorrow’s graduate students will become the faculty and educators of the future.”