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James M. Gentile
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James M. Gentile, PhD., is Dean for the Natural & Applied Sciences at Hope College in Holland, MI., and the Past President of Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA), a Tucson, AZ-based foundation dedicated to science since 1912

A geneticist by training, Dr. Gentile previously served as Dean for the Natural Sciences at Hope College (the position to which he now returns) where he also held an endowed professorship. He has conducted extensive research on the role of metabolism in the conversion of natural and xenobiotic agents into mutagens and carcinogens, with funding from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the World Health Organization, among many other public and private foundations.

He received his Ph.D. from Illinois State University and undertook postdoctoral studies in the Department of Human Genetics at the Yale University School of Medicine. He is the author of more than 150 research articles, book chapters, book reviews and special reports in areas of scientific research and higher education, and he is a frequent speaker on issues involving the integration of scientific research and higher education. He is he former Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal Mutation Research and Past President of the US Environmental Mutagen Society and the International Association of Environmental Mutagen Societies. He serves on numerous Boards, including the Biosphere2 Governing Board, the Science Friday Foundation, the Cures Now Foundation, and the American Association of Colleges & Universities Project Leap Initiative.

Entries by James M. Gentile

Let's Focus on Improving Education for 'At Risk' Students

(1) Comments | Posted April 4, 2014 | 1:19 PM

Data from the National Center for Education Statistics showed just under 99,000 public schools in the U.S., with about 67,000 of those serving students at the elementary level. This surprisingly low number (at least surprising to me) results, in large part, from the fiscal necessity to consolidate smaller...

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Public Understanding of Science: The Sagan Legacy Continues

(2) Comments | Posted January 14, 2014 | 5:27 PM

"The surface of the Earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean. On this shore, we've learned most of what we know. Recently, we've waded a little way out, maybe ankle-deep, and the water seems inviting. Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long...

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Environmental Carcinogenesis -- Separating Fact From Fiction

(0) Comments | Posted October 30, 2013 | 1:22 PM

One can hardly read a newspaper, turn on the radio or a television station, or surf the Internet without finding a myriad of information concerning yet another physical, chemical, or biological agent in our environment that can 'cause cancer' or, at least, lead to some one of another of a...

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Is 'Convergence' the Next Revolution in Science?

(5) Comments | Posted October 11, 2013 | 2:58 PM

The first edition of Thomas Kuhn's "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" appeared in 1962. His vision revolutionized the way we think about science, and it has given us a new way to look at change in "science" itself. Whereas previous visions of science saw science as an accumulation of all...

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An Important STEM Experiment to Watch

(0) Comments | Posted June 28, 2013 | 4:58 PM

Education in Science, Technology, Engineer, and Mathematics (STEM) at all levels is critical to the U.S. future because of its relevance to the economy and the need for a citizenry able to make wise decisions on issues faced by modern society. Calls for improvement have become increasingly widespread and desperate,...

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A Private Sector Initiative to Bolster U.S. Science

(9) Comments | Posted May 20, 2013 | 4:30 PM

President Obama, in a speech to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences just a few weeks ago, spoke about the importance and positive added value of science to the nation. He correctly noted that science is a key to U.S. economic growth. Outcomes of scientific research provide the base for...

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Congress and Peer Review of Science

(9) Comments | Posted May 10, 2013 | 12:11 PM

The mechanism used by scientists to decide what research should be funded by public and/or private sources, and then what research is published in a reputable scientific journal is a long-standing peer review system. This process subjects science ideas, and outcomes, to independent in-depth scrutiny by other highly-qualified qualified scientific...

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Science Fairs -- A Key to Training Future Scientists

(10) Comments | Posted April 22, 2013 | 11:37 AM

Science Fairs play a crucial role in STEM education. They are not only important to student participants, they are also important to our nation's well- being and growth, which is historically built upon innovations in science, engineering and technology. In effect, Science Fairs are the early proving grounds for the...

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BRAIN Initiative: A Bold Venture Into Brain Science

(20) Comments | Posted April 5, 2013 | 7:56 PM

A top priority for science in the United States is the encouragement of high-risk, high-reward research, the kind that has the potential for transformational, rather than incremental, discoveries. In times of tight budgets, such research is typically underfunded and underappreciated, because it can too easily be ridiculed for being outlandish...

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Television Ads for Math and Science

(11) Comments | Posted January 4, 2013 | 11:00 AM

What a welcome sight during the holidays: national television advertisements for improving America's student performance in math and science, aired during football games! In the midst of holiday shopping, who would have thought we'd be encouraged to take such action? Yet there's arguably nothing more important for America to buy...

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PCAST Report: The Future of U.S. Research

(3) Comments | Posted December 19, 2012 | 10:54 AM

The recent report of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, titled "Transformation and Opportunity: The Future of the U.S. Research Enterprise," reduces to two sentences what is perhaps the greatest challenge facing America: "As a fraction of its gross domestic product (GDP), U.S. investment in...

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Gender Bias and the Sciences

(50) Comments | Posted November 1, 2012 | 1:20 PM

Two recent studies shed important empirical light on gender bias in the sciences and should be cause for great scrutiny and reflection by America's universities and colleges. Our nation's continued preeminence in science and technology will depend on engaging the best and the brightest, regardless of gender -- or of...

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Immigration, Science and Technology

(29) Comments | Posted October 24, 2012 | 4:23 PM

Immigration has been key to America's preeminence in science and technology, and yet we're losing our competitive advantage. The loss of highly skilled immigrants is a serious threat to our global economic leadership -- and the jobs that flow from it -- and eliminating government obstacles in the way of...

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Gender Bias and America's Science Preeminence

(12) Comments | Posted October 4, 2012 | 11:35 AM

Two events in September spoke in profound ways about the role of women in science, and together they hold an important lesson for America's challenge of maintaining its global science preeminence.

On Sept. 4, Norway's King Harald presented the Kavli Prize in Astrophysics, Nanoscience and Neuroscience to seven laureates at...

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Accepting the Challenge of Continued U.S. Science Leadership

(1) Comments | Posted September 12, 2012 | 11:58 AM

Science and technology have fueled America's standing as a global superpower, and the millions of jobs that flow from that leadership. Yet the place of science in America's future is publicly debated now perhaps more than at any time since the Scopes Trial of 1925 -- the landmark legal case...

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Prizing High-Risk, High-Reward Research

(0) Comments | Posted August 20, 2012 | 5:47 PM

A top priority for science in the United States and around the world is the encouragement of high-risk, high-reward research, the kind that has the potential for transformational, rather than incremental, discoveries. In times of tight budgets, such research is typically under-funded and under-appreciated, because it can too easily be...

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The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope Reaches a Major Milestone in Space Exploration

(1) Comments | Posted July 24, 2012 | 6:55 PM

On July 18 the National Science Foundation announced a major milestone in the development of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) and, therefore, in future space exploration. It announced that "[w]ith approval from the National Science Board, the National Science Foundation (NSF) Director will advance the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope...

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Leading Scholar-Educators Address Undergraduate Science Education

(0) Comments | Posted July 19, 2012 | 10:01 AM

Award-winning scholar-educators from leading U.S. research universities convened in Tucson, AZ, from July 11th to 13th to address the challenge of improving undergraduate science education. The event was the annual conference of the Cottrell Scholars Collaborative -- an organization composed of recipients of the Cottrell Scholar Award. The Award, which...

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STEM Solutions Summit 2012: Focusing on the Gaps

(5) Comments | Posted July 6, 2012 | 10:45 PM

An extraordinary event took place from June 27 to 29 in Dallas, where the U.S. News STEM Solutions Summit 2012 brought together about 800 CEOs and other leaders concerned with improving science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in America. I had expected it to be a helpful, if familiar,...

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Norman Augustine: Science Leader Recognized for Character Education

(0) Comments | Posted June 29, 2012 | 10:14 AM

The Character Education Partnership, a national nonprofit organization led by business and educational leaders, recently announced that Norman R. Augustine has been chosen to receive its 2012 American Patriot of Character award -- to be presented in Washington, DC in November. No one deserves it more, as Norm Augustine has...

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