WPI Dickens Collection Exhibit at Whistler House in Lowell

Anne Simon Discusses "The Real Science Behind the X-Files: Microbe, Meteorites and Mutants"

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

Worcester, MA - March 22, 2002 - Anne Simon, science advisor for the television series "The X-Files" will speak at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) on Wednesday, April 3 at the University's Campus Center, Odeum rooms at 8 p.m.

"Dr. Simon is speaking at WPI as part of our observance of Women's History month, and to focus attention on innovative women in the sciences," said Stephanie Blaisdell, Director of Diversity and Women's programs at WPI. "Women's history month is a great opportunity to honor women in a place where woman are making such significant strides," said Dr. Blaisdell. The events are just part of WPI's program to support women in science and technology.

WPI is committed to strengthening the presence of women on campus and attracting more women into the fields of science and engineering. Dr. Blaisdell, Denise Nicoletti, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and other WPI administrators, students, and faculty have implemented a variety of outreach programs targeting young women. Examples of these efforts include Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day and The Alumni Daughters program held during the school year. Summer programs such as GEMS (Girls in Engineering Math and Science), GEMS Junior, and Camp REACH, bring middle and high school girls to WPI, where they gain hands on experience in science and mathematics through interactive design projects.

"We sensed that there is a lack of understanding (among females) that all sorts of 'helping professions' benefit from engineers and scientists," commented Professor Chrysanthe Demetry, one of Camp REACH's founders. "If you want to make the world a better place, which is important to many females, you can have the most impact with a broad education that includes technical literacy."

Dr. Simon works with X-files creator Chris Carter to offer grounded, scientific explanations of the show's extra-ordinary or other-worldly phenomena. Simon says she views her consulting work with the program as a service to science - dispelling the stereotypes of scientists.

She is author of the new book "The Real Science Behind the X-Files: Microbes, Meteorites and Mutants" in which she examines the many science issues that are blended in "X-file's" stories - topics such as cloning, aging, genetic engineering and life on other planets.

But television is not Simon's only work. She is an eminent plant virologist and is editor of the international journal "Virology." She is also associate editor of "Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions."

Dr. Simon is a member of the American Society for Virology, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the International Society of Plant Molecular Biology, the American Society of Plant Physiology, and the American Phytophathology Society.

She graduated magna cum laude with a degree in biology from the University of California, San Diego, and earned a Ph.D. in genetics from Indiana University.

About WPI

WPI is a pioneer in technological higher education, and is recognized as one of the leading outcomes-oriented undergraduate programs preparing people for success in our technological world. Since its founding in 1865, WPI has broadened and perfected an influential curriculum that balances theory and practice.

This innovative and unique combination of educational methods, learning environment and a worldwide network of project centers is located in Worcester, Massachusetts, WPI supports the academic and research pursuits of over 2,500 students and 200 faculty pursuing opportunities to blend technological research and practice with societal needs, delivering meaningful real-world benefits.

For over a century, WPI has awarded advanced degrees in the sciences and engineering disciplines, as well as the management of technology and business. Our alumni include Robert Goddard, the father of modern rocketry; Harold Black, inventor of the principle of negative-feedback; Carl Clark, inventor of the first practical airbag safety system; Dean Kamen, inventor of the first wearable drug infusion pump; and many others who contribute to the transformation of our technological world.