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Exploring new horizons

Science, technology series showcases best of American pioneering spirit

Created date

August 24th, 2009

This summer, the world celebrated the 40th anniversary of the famous Apollo 10, 11, and 12 missions. Each mission signified America s determination to explore new frontiers. For many living at Riderwood, the Apollo missions came at the pinnacle of their careers. Since that time, they ve dedicated themselves to remaining on the cutting edge of science and technology. This quest for knowledge led to the creation of a worldclass science and technology lecture series that has included two Nobel laureates and numerous leaders in scientific thought.

Starting with a bang

After moving to Riderwood almost five years ago, I quickly discovered that there were plenty of people living here who would be interested in a science and technology lecture series, says Riderwood community member George Bain. It was my hope to draw upon the resources in the area including universities, think-tanks, consultants, et cetera. Having determined that Riderwood was a great market for the series, Bain called a meeting of people interested in helping to get the group up and running. He was determined to start with a full schedule of speakers and looked to his neighbors for suggestions. At that initial meeting, I was given the names of several prominent speakers. With their e-mails and phone numbers, I lined up the first group of speakers, he says. The first speaker, Dr.William Hooke, senior policy fellow and director of the American Meteorological Society, spoke on natural disasters. Fortunately, there were none that evening, Bain jokes about disasters, but I quickly realized that there was a lot of preparatory work needed to host these lectures.

Continuing to evolve

The success of the series was evident. Each lecture, presented on the first Thursday of the month from September through May, continually brought in as many as 250 interested community members. And for those who could not attend, Bain arranged to have each discussion videotaped and rebroadcasted on Riderwood s in-house cable TV station. Last year, after four productive years at the helm, Bain resigned as leader of the group, turning the reins over to the Science and Technology Lecture Series Committee, currently chaired by Julie Snell and including residents David Atlas, Don Ferguson, Alan Hedin, Richard Hendler, Joe Sucher, and John Wachtman. I like bringing scientists to Riderwood to inform its residents about what they re doing, says Snell. It s important and also interesting for the public to know. With the world of science and technology changing each day, Riderwood residents remain at the forefront of new ideas, challenging experiments, and inquisitive thought. This summer, the committee met to determine the next six months of lectures. And the upcoming series is sure to continue in the tradition of sharing knowledge and thought-provoking ideas.