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It’s not rocket science

Local science club is for everyone, English degrees included

Created date

March 20th, 2012

It seems that nearly everything happening in the world today connects to science. Think medicine, climate change, energy, health, technology and each is fodder for fascinating discussions. Maris Grove s science club members plumb those and other topics at their monthly meetings. There are no dues, no set agenda, and no science degree required. We get together, and somebody brings up a topic, says Owen Webster. A popular one is medicine because there are so many recent advances.

Learning opportunities

Any Maris Grove resident can start a special interest club. Owen, an organic chemist who retired from DuPont, started the science club. Burt Anderson and Pete Clinton, fellow DuPont retirees, are among its faithful members. But all residents who have questions about or want to keep up to date on science-related developments are invited to take part in the monthly conversations. That s why Gerry Fleming attends. A retired nurse whose family tree includes DuPonters, she considers the club a tremendous learning opportunity. Gerry says the other members have much more science experience than she, but they re very good about explaining things she doesn t immediately understand. You don t have to be a chemist or engineer to get something out of this group, she says. I m very pleased to be a part of it. Retirees from companies like Sun Oil and AstraZeneca also call Maris Grove home, so it s no surprise that the campus library contains issues of Scientific American. Science club members who subscribe donate their copies for their neighbors to read, and club discussions often grow from the magazine s pages. Scientific American covers hot topics, ongoing discussions, and exciting discoveries across the science spectrum. But you needn t be a rocket scientist to understand the articles.

Scientific interpretation, lively discussion

At Maris Grove, we discuss secondary science, says Burt. Not experimental science but a summary or interpretation of new things. And members don t all agree. We ve had divergent opinions about whether global warming was manmade or cyclical in nature, says Pete. What enlivened the discussion was the issue of what you could do about the causes. Scientists by and large now agree the earth is warming, says Burt. Can we do anything about it? No. If you re up for spirited, enlightening discussions, you ll find them at science club meetings. Topics can range from La Ni a, the cause of this winter s strange weather, to the reason palm trees thrive in Southern Scotland. Come, toss out a question, members say, and you might find yourself seated next to an expert on the topic. You might also find that half the people at the meeting have the same question. When you read some intriguing bit of new scientific information maybe the latest discovery in Alzheimer s research bring it to the group. Regardless of the topic, you ll leave with interesting contributions to dinner table conversations. And you ll make new friends in the process.