SHREVEPORT, LA -- Some 300 scientists and future scientists will gather at Centenary College Feb. 3-5 for the 74th annual meeting of the Louisiana Academy of Sciences (LAS) and the Louisiana Junior Sciences and Humanities Symposium (LaJSHS).
The Academy of Sciences, which meets on Friday, Feb. 4 only, will include discussions in 10 areas ranging from agriculture to zoology, with morning and afternoon sessions surrounding a luncheon and keynote speech by Dr. Robert Thomas of Loyola University. Thomas will speak on "The Process of Science vs. What the Public Hears: Why Scientists Hate to Talk to the Press." Sessions will be held throughout the day in Mickle Hall of Science, Bynum Commons and Kilpatrick Auditorium on the Centenary campus.
The LAS meeting marks a return to its roots for the organization, which was founded in 1927 at Centenary. This year, some 200 people will attend, with about 100 presentations and poster papers presented.
The LaJSHS, at its 27th annual event this year, will involve some 80 students and 25 teachers from high schools throughout the state. Students will be competing for $4,000 in college tuition awards at the state level and the opportunity to go to the nationals, where scholarships can be $16,000. Louisiana presenters won a first place at nationals in both 1998 and 1999.
During their three-day meeting, LaJSHS participants will present research papers in the areas of life/physical/social sciences, mathematics and engineering. They will also hear speakers such as Dr. John Daly of Louisiana Tech University, who will speak on "Apes Throwing Bones at the Sky: A Romp Through the History of Science," and participate in an awards ceremony. Most of the LaJSHS sessions will be held in the Smith Building, except for the Friday evening buffet dinner and Science Stage Show with "Dr. Sawdust" that are scheduled at SciPort Discovery Center.
During the LaJSHS welcoming session from 8:30 to 9:15 a.m. Feb. 4 in Kilpatrick Auditorium, speakers include Dr. Paul Ramsey, director of LaJSHS; Dr. John Knesel, president of the Louisiana Academy of Sciences; Dr. Kenneth L. Schwab, president of Centenary; Amy Waguespack, a Centenary student who was a 1999 LaJSHS presenter; and Col. David Lay, staff director of the 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale Air Force Base.
Saturday morning presenters include Centenary physics professor Dr. Jerry Lisantti and Centenary chemistry professor Dr. Tom Ticich, who will demonstrate "An Alloy with Memory and Some Physics Stuff."
Dr. Thomas, the LAS keynote speaker, is Loyola's chair in environmental communications. He earned a B.S. degree in zoology from the University of Southwestern Louisiana and a M.S. and Ph.D. in vertebrate zoology from Texas A&M University. He served a post-doctoral fellowship in biochemistry at Louisiana State University Medical Center.
His career has been spent in the field of environmental education. He was founding director of the Louisiana Nature Center, served as vice president for environmental policy at the Audubon Institute, and taught various biology courses at the University of New Orleans from 1979-1996. In September 1996, Dr. Thomas joined the Loyola faculty and holds the Loyola Chair in Environmental Communications. He continues as Senior Scientist at the Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species (ACRES, a facility which is part of the Audubon Institute - the local zoo, aquarium, nature center, and species survival center).
At ACRES, Dr. Thomas is part of a large research team who study migratory birds, in vitro fertilization of endangered species, and much, much more - all of which he gives access to for his Loyola students. Dr. Thomas is very active at the regional, state, and national levels, serving on a diverse array of boards, including the Council for a Better Louisiana, the Governor's Environmental Advisory Task Force, Business and Higher Education Council, and the U.S. Mineral and Management Service's Outer Continental Shelf Policy Advisory Council. He is very active on the board of the famed Asa Wright Nature Centre in Trinidad, and is and founding board member and former president of the Association of Nature Center Administrators.
LAS sessions will be held in the following areas: agriculture, forestry and wildlife; botany; chemistry; computer science and mathematics/statistics; earth science; microbiology; physics; science education (K-12 and higher education); and zoology.
For further information about the LAS meeting, contact Dr. Scott Vetter of Centenary College. For information about the LaJSHS, contact Dr. Paul Ramsey of Louisiana Tech.
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