The next meeting will be 10.30 am Friday, 6 February in the usual place, Javits room, library second floor. The speaker will be Paul Grannis of Physics.
Bio: Paul Grannis obtained his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 1965 and arrived at Stony Brook a year later. Until 2007 he was Distinguished Professor of Physics specialising in experimental high energy particle physics. On June 13 last a symposium was held in honor of his 70th birthday. Although now emeritus, he is still adding to his publication list, currently comprising 347 entries.
Summary: Particle physics, the study of the ultimate building blocks of matter and the forces that bind them together, is governed by a paradigm 'Standard Model' put in place over three decades ago. Although this theoretical framework has withstood thousands of experimental tests, we strongly believe that it is substantially flawed and will be replaced by a new worldview that extends our understanding of space, time, matter and energy. How these problems will be resolved is not known -- many disparate conjectures have been suggested. However, new experiments now underway should make discoveries that will reveal the new landscape. In this talk, we will outline the old picture, its major shortcomings, and possible new paradigms that will remedy them.
Karl Hartzell, who served as Chief Executive Officer of the University during its early years, first at Oyster Bay and then at Stony Brook before the appointment of President John Toll, died December 5 at the age of 102. There was a memorial service at the Caroline Church in Setauket, at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, January 11th. Karl D. Hartzell obtained his PhD from Harvard in 1934. He served as administrative officer in the office of the director of the Atomic Energy Commission at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, 1947-1950. Among other positions he held was Dean at Cornell and Bucknell and Stony Brook Dean of Arts and Sciences from September 1962-August 1965. After his retirement from Stony Brook in1971 he served as a consultant at the Institute for Advanced Study of World Religions. His book "The Empire State at War" grew out of his earlier position as historian and director of records at the New York State War Council. During his decliniing years he lived at his home on Shelter Island before finally returning to New England.
At the meeting on Friday, December 5th, David W. Krause, Distinguished Service Professor in the Departments of Anatomical Sciences and Geosciences, gave a talk entitled "Science with a Social Conscience: Digging for Dinosaurs and Helping Children in Madagascar".
He began with some basic information about this large, populous and very poor island off the coast of central east Africa, which he and his co-workers have been visiting regularly since 1993. Professor Krause went as a paleontologist to this place of distinctive fauna (such as our anthropologist colleague, Patricia Wright's now celebrated lemurs). The fossil record was poor but the discovery by the French of a few dinosaur teeth in 1895 in the Mahajanga Basin of northwestern Madagascar hinted at the existence of hidden treasures. On his first visit to Madagascar a century later Krause discovered the remains of a large, plant-eating dinosaur, Rapetosaurus. Three years later, a formidable - and probably cannibalistic—meat-eater, Majungasaurus Crenatissimus (named for its serrated teeth) came to light, and in reconstructed form its skeleton looms over the lobby of our Administration Building, where it is sometimes familiarly referred to as "Stony Bones".
A total of nine expeditions since 1993 (the latest in 2007 and the next scheduled for 2009) have been enormously fruitful, and have focused attention on the anomaly that the fauna of Madagascar, both current and historic (back to the Cretaceous era, 70-65 million years ago) are more similar to those of India and South America (sic) than nearby Africa. Professor Krause led us through the plate tectonics that might explain this curious fact.
He then turned to the second of his linked subjects: "Helping Children". Like many scientists and researchers working in remote, impoverished areas, Professor Krause and his colleagues depended on help from the native population. In colonial times, their poverty and isolation were often taken for granted. It was not understood to be the responsibility of the visiting scientists to attempt to remedy it. Professor Krause took a different tack. From 1998 he began to explore ways of bringing first elementary schools, then medical and dental clinics to his hosts, especially their children. Over the years four schools and several clinics have been built and staffed in areas where they were virtually non-existent. The Madagascar Ankizy Fund, administered through the Stony Brook Foundation, was established to collect charitable contributions to support this work. "Ankizy" means "children" in the Malagasy language. Professor Krause's expeditions to Madagascar now routinely include Stony Brook graduate, medical, and dental students, as well as hardy (given the austerities of out-back Madagascar) members of the Medical and Dental faculties. Shirley and Bob Kenny visited the project in 2007, and have donated funds for a school in memory of their son, Joel.
Since we are in transition from an administration which repeatedly compared itself to that of Churchill, from its prosecution of a war to its majestic prose, we end with this quote from Hansard, 16th August, 1945:
"What noble opportunities have the new government inherited? Let them be worthy of their fortune, which is the fortune of us all."