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November 5th, 2015

KCFS Annual Membership Meeting – Nov 8th

What: Annual Membership Meeting

Date: Sunday, November 8, 2015

Time: 2:00 pm

Where: Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, 1515 SW 10th Ave

All members are invited to join us for our annual membership meeting. Light refreshments will be served. The election of officers and board members will be held. We will review the accomplishments of KCFS for the year and discuss our future plans.

It is time to renew your membership and the meeting is a great opportunity to do so, so bring your checkbook.

If you are unable to join us in Topeka, you can now join/renew/donate online at www.kcfs.org.

Please do consider making a donation. We have been trying to increase the number of teachers who can afford to attend the state science teachers convention by providing scholarships for teachers. One scholarship costs $280 to pay for a teacher’s registration, room and board for three days of professional development.

For more information contact Harry McDonald, President – biologycctrack@hotmail.com.

October 8th, 2015

Johnson County Science Café : October 13th

Linda Hall Library and the David Levy Talk

Speaker: Eric Ward, Vice President for Public Programs, Linda Hall Library

Date: October 13, 2015

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: Coach’s Bar and Grill, 9089 W. 135th Street, one block west of 135th and Antioch, south side of 135th St.

Come learn about the mission, resources and programs of the Linda Hall Library. The Linda Hall Library is the world’s foremost independent research library devoted to science, engineer-ing, and technology. After a brief introduction to Linda Hall, we will watch the talk given by David Levy. “Writing the Same Book Over Almost Sixty Years: A Record of a Nightwatch-man’s Journey Under the Night Sky.”

From the Linda Hall description of the event, “Since David H. Levy accidently happened to see a shooting star during the summer of 1956, he has kept an observing record, or log. Session num-ber one was a partial eclipse of the Sun on October 2, 1959, but the log includes earlier sessions stretching back to July 4, 1956, and forward to well over eighteen thousand sessions. His record includes the comets, eclipses, exploding suns, and especially the friendships that have come from so many years of skywatching… with slides and music, Mr. Levy will share some of these expe-riences as he prepares to hand over the observing logs to the Linda Hall Library.

David H. Levy is one of the most successful comet discoverers in history. He has discovered 22 comets, nine of them using his own backyard telescopes. With Eugene and Carolyn Shoemaker at the Palomar Observatory in California he discovered Shoemaker-Levy 9, the comet that col-lided with Jupiter in 1994…Dr. Levy is the author or editor of 35 books and other products. He won an Emmy in 1998 … As the Science Editor for Parade Magazine from 1997 to 2006, he was able to reach more than 80 million readers, almost a quarter of the population of the United States. A contributing editor for Sky and Telescope Magazine, he writes its monthly “Star Trails” column…

He has been awarded five honorary doctorates, and asteroid 3673 (Levy) was named in his honor. In 2010, David became the first person to discover comets visually, photographically, and electronically…”

Having attended this talk, I can tell you that Dr. Levy was inspirational.

For more information: biologycctrack@hotmail.com

September 9th, 2015

Johnson County Science Café : September 15th

The Real Forensic Science in Investigations

Speaker: Jason Butell, Firearm & Toolmark Examiner, Johnson County Criminalistics Laboratory
Date: September 15, 2015
Time: 6:30 pm
Location: Coach’s Bar and Grill, 9089 W. 135th Street, one block west of 135th and Antioch, south side of 135th St.

Learn about the capabilities and timeframes associated with the real science of crime investigation. Mr. Butell will run through an example of how this science is done. In 2012 the Johnson County Crimeinalistics Lab moved into a new state-of-the-art building located in Olathe, that houses nine distinct laboratory spaces (Controlled Substances, Trace Evidence, Toxicology, Biology, DNA, Latent Prints, Firearms and Tool Marks, Digital/Multimedia and Crime Scene Investigation).

Mr. Butell has a BS in Biology from K-State, and instead of continuing on to Medical School, decided to go into law enforcement for a short while, then worked as a CSI in Wichita, became a Medico-Legal Death Investigator (like a specialized CSI) for the Medical Examiner’s Office in Wichita, and in 2006 entered the Firearm & Toolmark field where I have been since, and moved to JoCo in early 2009.

For more information: biologycctrack@hotmail.com

July 12th, 2015

Johnson County Science Café – July 14th

Cool Stuff and Not So Cool Stuff Happening in Science

Speakers: Harry McDonald, President, Kansas Citizens for Science

Date: July 14, 2015

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: Coach’s Bar and Grill, 9089 W. 135th Street, one block west of 135th and Antioch, south side of 135th St.

Would you believe, all my speaker invites fell through for this month. Let’s get together anyway and have one of our casual discussions about what is going on in the world of science. No limits on what we can discuss. Bring ideas to share. Bring URLs and we will access sites you want to share. As always when we do this, I will bring pictures, ideas, websites, and videos to share. For instance, I just got referred to a new NASA interactive website on MARS. Quite cool. I, by no means, can keep up with all that is going on, so please, bring your ideas. If you can’t make it, we will meet next in September.

If you don’t know me, I taught high school biology for 32 years and have been a science education consultant for the past 11 years. I am the current president of Kansas Citizens for Science, the sponsoring organization for the science cafe. I would self-describe myself as a science edu-cation activist and all-around science geek, interested in all things science but a master of none. Join us for an evening of science conversation.

For more information: biologycctrack@hotmail.com

June 4th, 2015

Johnson County Science Café – June 9th

The Physics of Time Travel

Speaker: Prof. Philip Baringer, Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Kansas

Date: June 9, 2015

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: Coach’s Bar and Grill, 9089 W. 135th Street, one block west of 135th and Antioch, south side of 135th St.

Time travel has been used in many works of fantasy and science fiction, ranging from H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine” to the TV series “Doctor Who.” But is time travel possible? And if it is possible, what are the implications? Come join us to explore these “timely” issues.

Philip Baringer is a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Kansas and is a Faculty Fellow in KU’s Honors Program. His research area is experimental particle physics. He is a member of a large international collaboration that operates one of the experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider and he uses data from that experiment to study the production of particles such as the top quark and the Higgs boson. He teaches physics at both the introductory and advanced levels and team teaches a course on science and technology with faculty from the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction. This Spring semester he taught an Honors seminar on the topic of time.

For more information: biologycctrack@hotmail.com

May 8th, 2015

Johnson County Science Café : May 12th

Vaccines: How they work and the controversy they inspire

Speaker: Elizabeth Lawlor, Epidemiologist, Johnson County Department of Health and Environment

Date: May 12, 2015

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: Coach’s Bar and Grill, 9089 W. 135th Street, one block west of 135th and Antioch, south side of 135th St.

Elizabeth will provide a brief background on vaccines and vaccine preventable diseases. She will then talk about vaccine-hesitancy/anti-vaxers, and some recent vaccine preventable disease outbreaks.

Elizabeth received her professional preparation at George Washington University and the University of Toledo.

For more information: biologycctrack@hotmail.com

April 20th, 2015

Announcing the Raspberry Pi Innovation Contest Winner

Kansas Citizens for Science sponsored a Raspberry Pi Innovation Contest this school year. The motivation was to increase opportunities for students in coding and engineering. Contestants were to program a Raspberry Pi to run a piece of machinery.

The contest winners were a team from Manhattan High School. They all played ultimate frisbee and decided to build a frisbee launcher. They designed the machine, built it, programmed its controls all with very little teacher input. The team is to be complemented on their excellent work and on appropriate documentation of the development process. You can inspect the team’s work on their website, http://tecnoa.ninja/. The site contains a description of the project, as well as a condensed video that documents the project and a video of the frisbee launcher at work.

Kansas Citizens for Science provided a Raspberry Pi and $150 grant for materials. Congratulations to the winning team from Manhattan High School for their excellent work.

April 10th, 2015

Johnson County Science Café : April 14th

Musings on Environmental Challenges Observed in My Travels

Speakers: Harry McDonald, President, Kansas Citizens for Science

Date: April 14, 2015

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: Coach’s Bar and Grill, 9089 W. 135th Street, one block west of 135th and Antioch, south side of 135th St.

Travels to south Florida, the central Mexican highlands where monarchs overwinter, and to Syria have produced some interesting perspectives on environmental challenges. Harry will share these and looks forward to considerable discussion. Harry encourages everyone to bring their own observations and experiences to discuss.

Harry is a retired biology teacher remains fascinated by all of science and enjoys a chance to talk science with anyone interested.

For more information: biologycctrack@hotmail.com

March 10th, 2015

KCFS Board of Directors 2015


Harry McDonald – President
Science Education Consultant
Olathe, KS

Cheryl Shepherd-Adams – Vice-President
Teacher – High School Physics
Hays, KS

Charlotte McDonald – Secretary
Science Education Consultant
Olathe, KS

Jackie Beucher -Treasurer
Sales Representative
Overland Park, KS

Board of Directors

Phil Baringer
Professor of Physics and Astronomy University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS

Liz Craig
Roeland Park, KS

Gordon Elliott
Computer and Electronics Consultant Computer Signal & Image Systems Corp.
Overland Park, KS

Gene Garman
Pittsburg, KS

Harry Gregory
Retired Teacher
Wichita, KS

Christopher Haufler
Chair, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS

Mike Herman
Division of Biology Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS

Martha Hodgesmith
University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS

Crystal Kerr
Biology Teacher
Wichita, KS

Jack Krebs
High School Teacher and Technology Director
Lawrence, KS

Mark Mayfield
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS

Keith Miller
Department of Geology Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS

Rev. Douglas Phenix
Retired Minister
Topeka, KS

Patrick Ross
Southwestern College
Winfield, KS

Max Vandament
Feedlot Consultant
Salina, KS

Mark Weiss
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS

KCFS Webmaster

Jeremy Mohn
High School Biology Teacher
Olathe, KS

March 6th, 2015

Johnson County Science Café : March 10th

Using Genomics to Forage in Biology

Speakers: Dr. Chris Siedel, Genomic Scientist at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research

Date: March 10, 2015

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: Coach’s Bar and Grill, 9089 W. 135th Street, one block west of 135th and Antioch, south side of 135th St.

A genome is the composition of the DNA in each cell of an individual. Dr. Siedel will introduce genomics and describe how it has transformed biology. He will discuss how newer genomic technology enables experiments in novel organisms such as studying stem cells in flatworms, and enables personalized medicine to become a reality.

Chris Seidel is a Genomic Scientist at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research. He grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and earned his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from UC Berkeley. He worked at a small company designing genomic reagents to enable studies in a range of model organisms such as yeast and mouse to pathogens such as malaria and tuberculosis. In 2003 he moved to Kansas City to work at the Stowers Institute to develop and apply genomic methods to basic biological research problems.

For more information: biologycctrack@hotmail.com