NetSci High Student Retrospective 2012-13

June 2nd, 2013 in Uncategorized.

In preparation for our talk “NetSci High: An Infrastructure for Advancing Science Education”, a subset of participating students recorded video of their academic year research nearing conclusion. We hope you enjoy it!

This work is part of the Network Science in Education satellite conference of the NetSci Meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark on June 3, 2013.

In our talk, we present recent advances towards building a rich and sustainable infrastructure supporting network science concepts, tools and thinking in mainstream science education K-16. We discuss our experiences with “NetSci High” which provides rich year-round opportunities for high school students research teams working in partnering research labs. Our approach is to utilize network science as a critical pathway to 21st Century skills, including use and understanding of large-scale data, real-world computer programing, the vanishing barrier between science disciplines and intersection of art, music, politics, security and science. In so doing, students gain perspective on how our complex world is connected (sometimes working together and sometimes not), an important step towards cultivating awareness in young minds.

Summer 2013 Workshop & Conference

May 7th, 2013 in Uncategorized.

Planning for our Summer 2013 workshop and conference is underway.

Our workshop will be July 15 – 24, 2013 at Boston University’s Science Center (590 Commonwealth Avenue).

The broad schedule is:

  • Monday, July 15 and Tuesday July 16: Teacher Focus Workshop

  • Wednesday, July 17: Welcome, Class of 2013 Conference, Keynotes

  • Thursday, July 18 to Wednesday July 24: Workshop

More information is available at Get Involved.

Newburgh Student-Teacher Teams Visit West Point

December 6th, 2012 in Uncategorized.

Several cadets and NSC faculty members met with students, teachers, and family members from Newburgh Free Academy to share a few of the many network science (NS) projects cadets are conducting at West Point. Cadets gave presentations on research they have recently completed and also offered the students some advice based on lessons they learned in the process. Faculty members shared their insight into why a network approach can offer a new perspective to problems. This was extremely valuable because the Newburgh students are beginning their own NS research project with their teachers.

In addition to the presentation, cadets also took the visitors on a tour of the academic area. Students got a chance to see the classrooms and buildings and ask the cadets questions about what life is like at the academy. By the end of the day all of the visitors had a deeper appreciation for the academy, faculty and especially the work done by the cadets.

For the entire story and pictures, visit: The Central Node (at West Point’s Network Science Center)

Graphr: Visualizing Congressional Collaboration

November 12th, 2012 in Uncategorized.

Graphr is an interactive software which visualizes collaboration networks in the 112th US Congress. Collaborations are implied from the “signers” on congressional statements.

To launch the online software click here: Graphr Congressional Visualizer

Some questions:

  • Select 2011 colored by party. How many clusters do you see? (A cluster is a collection of highly interconnected nodes). What are the primary attributes of each cluster?
  • Select 2010 colored by party. Notice the small cluster of republicans. Try dragging them around to uncover their structure (click a node after dragging it to unpin it). What senator is represented by the most connected node in this cluster (hover over the node to see)? Look him up on wikipedia. Is there anything special you can identify about him?
  • Select 2008. Notice the pairs of isolated connected nodes. Hover over them. What property do these pairs share that is causing them to be connected?
  • Select 2011 colored by party. Are there any nodes that stand out as having unusual connections? Look them up on wikipedia. Can you explain what’s happening?
  • Select 2009 colored by gender. Does this suggest that women are more likely to work with each other in congress? Try hovering over each woman and/or coloring them by different properties. What can you tell?

We invite you to explore and find our own connections!

NetSci High Group Photo

September 13th, 2012 in Uncategorized.

Our NetSci High Workshop was a blast! Twenty high school students from New York and Boston, as well as teachers, graduate students and scientists came together for a hands-on workshop at BU from August 21-25. Students experienced an immersive introduction to network science, completed small group projects, and prepared for an academic year of research.

NetSci High Summer Workshop Nearing

August 3rd, 2012 in News.

The NetSci High Workshop at Boston University will soon be upon us! We will welcome 20 high school students, teachers and graduate students to Boston for an exciting week from August 21 through 25.

All accepted students and teachers to the program have been e-mailed the link for online Registration as well as a Parent/Guardian Permission Form and detailed program information.

NetSciEd Satellite Symposium on Education

June 27th, 2012 in News.

NetSci group-photoWith a focus on preparing the next generation of network scientists and addressing the urgent need to improve STEM education overall, the first symposium to specifically address how network science will transform STEM education was held on June 18 in conjunction with the 2012 International School and Conference on Network Science (NetSci 2012) . The Satellite Symposium titled Education: Infuse Network Science into K-12 and Undergraduate Education (NetSciEd) included preeminent speakers from education practice and research as well as the network science community. The symposium was an exciting and highly successful step toward establishing this much-needed focus on Network Science Education.

For more details on the symposium, with included presentations, visit the NetSciEd Satellite Symposium on Education @ NetSci201

NetSciEd Satellite Symposium @ NetSci 2012

May 15th, 2012 in News.

In anticipation of preparing the next generation of network scientists, as well as addressing the urgent needs in improving STEM education overall, we are hosting the first symposium to specifically address how network science will transform STEM education in the coming years. The Satellite Symposium Education — Infuse Network Science into K-12 and Undergraduate Education (NetSciEd) will include preeminent speakers from education practice and research as well as the network science community, culminating in a highly interactive panel discussion to determine directions in support of research and practice in the use of network science to improve education.

Topics to be discussed include:

  • Network Science in K-16 Practice and Policy
  • Network Science in Informal Education
  • New Directions in Learning Science
  • Developing Metrics for Effective Educational Collaboration Networks

A white paper will be developed from the input of all participants to characterize the session and be used to help communicate ideas and needs of the educational community to academic and government decision- and policy-makers.

This symposium will take place on June 18th at Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, in conjunction with the 2012 International School and Conference on Network Science (NetSci 2012). The attendance to the NetSciEd symposium is free of charge for NetSci 2012 attendees.

For more information visit: NetSciEd Satellite Symposium

New Program Engages High School Students in Science Research

May 11th, 2012 in News.

Boston University’s Center for Polymer Studies and The New York Hall of Science  have been funded $1.2M by the National Science Foundation’s Information Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) Program. CAS Professor of Physics Gene Stanley (director of the Polymer Center) and Polymer Center Senior Research Scientist Paul Trunfio will head the project for BU. The project, Network Science for the Next Generation, known as “NetSci High,” will provide extensive opportunities for disadvantaged high school students to engage in year-round cutting-edge science research and industry internships.

Participants are 120 disadvantaged high school students from the Boston area and New York area, 30 science research graduate student mentors from partner laboratories, and 30 high school STEM teacher-mentors. An exciting new area of research applies network science, including cyber-infrastructures and computational and database approaches, to solve some of the most complex problems facing our society today. This shift in research with its extensive reliance on information technology tools and datasets, requires a corresponding shift in the education community that helps prepare the next generation of STEM workforce.

Highlights of this funded 3-year program include:

  • 1-week Summer Camp for all participants, introducing tools of network science and explorations of team-based research projects
  • 4-week intensive summer research experience at participating laboratories
  • Academic year research program utilizing collaborative IT tools, periodic special workshops, industry lab tours and “virtual visits”
  • ITEST NetSci Research Conference held at BU where students present the results of their work at the end of the year long experience with keynotes and an “IT Opportunity Fair” hosted by local industry partners
  • Summer IT internships with industry and academic partners

This experience is funded to repeat for three years, with 30 high school students in the first year, 40 in the second, and 50 in the third (and appropriate scaling of other participants). A challenge of this project is one of transforming the way we educate our citizens to keep pace with not only the amount of data we collect, but to appreciate how networks of data interact to identify, clarify, and solve complex 21st century challenges in the environment, medicine, agriculture, urbanization, social justice and wellbeing. This project will provide a pathway to integration of science research and IT skills for high school students who would not otherwise have opportunities provided through this project. Additionally, high school teachers and graduate student mentors (ITEST Fellows) will be key participants. For 30 ITEST Fellows, they will gain valuable experience in the issues surrounding K-12 science education and gain an appreciation for education outreach. Up to 30 high school teacher mentors will broaden their STEM understanding and, through their participation, the project aims to inform their current teaching in terms of content and practice.

For more information, contact Paul Trunfio at

See also: NetSci High 2012 Flyer