Support The World's Smartest Network

Help the New York Academy of Sciences bring late-breaking scientific information about the COVID-19 pandemic to global audiences. Please make a tax-deductible gift today.

This site uses cookies.
Learn more.


This website uses cookies. Some of the cookies we use are essential for parts of the website to operate while others offer you a better browsing experience. You give us your permission to use cookies, by continuing to use our website after you have received the cookie notification. To find out more about cookies on this website and how to change your cookie settings, see our Privacy policy and Terms of Use.

We encourage you to learn more about cookies on our site in our Privacy policy and Terms of Use.

Lyceum Society October 2018


for Members

Lyceum Society October 2018

Monday, October 1, 2018

The New York Academy of Sciences, 7 World Trade Center, 250 Greenwich St Fl 40, New York

Presented By


Established in 1993, The Lyceum Society is comprised of the Academy’s retired and semi-retired Members. These Members are from diverse backgrounds, have different areas of scientific interest and expertise, and have practiced many professions. Their disciplines include Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Chemical and Physical Sciences, Mathematics and Information Sciences, Social Sciences, Engineering, Medicine, Dentistry, and many others.

The Society hosts convivial monthly meetings at the Academy. These meetings feature lectures and discussions with scientists from around the world, and also provide participating Members with the opportunity to give self-directed presentations and seminars based on their own specialties or new research interests. All Academy Members are welcome.

All Lyceum meetings (except December) are Brown Bag lunches.


Nonmember Student, Undergrad, Grad, Fellow
Member Student, Post-Doc, Fellow


David Haas, PhD, Biophysics
Joel Kirman, M. Ch. E., Chemical Process Engineer
Ron Russell, Epic Theatre Ensemble
Asif Azam Siddiqi, PhD, Fordham University


October 01, 2018

11:30 AM

Brown Bag Lunch

12:30 PM

American Citizenship & Our New “De facto National Identity Card”


David Haas, PhD, Biophysics

Before 1900, almost no one in the world had any personal identification documents, but today they are absolutely essential for citizenship. Under the auspices of ASIS International (formerly American Society for Industrial Security), I initially began a book to show who invented the photo ID (card/badge), but it became the history of IDs like passports, ID credentials, photo driver’s licenses, birth certificates, etc. In most developed countries other than the United States and the United Kingdom, personal ID numbers (known as Personal Numbers) are issued to every citizen. We will discuss why the United States has the poorest personal identification system in the world along with the only country to have millions of identity theft events each year (15 million for the year 2016). All new driver’s licenses are now in compliance with the Real ID Act of 2005, and their numbers will replace people’s social security numbers for identification purposes.

1:00 PM

Domestication of Plants in the Old World, Part 1


Joel Kirman, M. Ch. E., Chemical Process Engineer

Flowering plants emerged approximately 150 MM years ago. Grasses, a variety of flowering plants, emerged approximately 100 MM years ago and colonized vast areas of the temperate and nearby zones. Then, a few grasses became domesticated and served as the founding crops of the settled existence that made civilized life possible: wheat and barley around the fertile crescent (approx. 10,000 years ago), rice and millet in East Asia (approx. 7,000 years ago), sorghum and millet in sub-Saharan Africa (approx. 6,000 years ago), and maize (corn) in America (approx. 5,000 years ago). Thereafter, a host of crops (some grasses, e.g., rye, oats) and other crops (e.g., peas, lentils, chickpeas) became domesticated, and entered the granary of civilization. The combined presentation will be a survey of the genetics, technology, geography, and other factors that played out in the process of domestication. Part 1 will cover background material; Part 2 (November) will cover the basics of domestication.

1:30 PM

Wernher von Braun and the relationship between ethics and politics


Introduction by Ron Russell from Epic Theatre Ensemble; Q&A with Asif Azam Siddiqi, PhD, Fordham University

At the request of the Academy, The Lyceum Society will gladly provide a forum for a 15-20 minute dramatic presentation of one or two scenes from the play, which is based on the life of Wernher von Braun, Chief Rocket Engineer for the Third Reich and one of the fathers of the United States space program. The play explores the hidden compromises behind America’s 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing and asks challenging questions about the ethics around technological innovation. The dramatic presentation will be accompanied by a Q&A session with Asif Siddiqi, who is familiar with the details of the Cold War, the space race, and the background of von Braun. Due to Dr. Sadiqqi’s teaching schedule, the Q&A session will precede rather than follow the presentation. Following the performance, comments will be solicited from our membership.

This short performance will be a prelude to the World Premiere of the play in later October on 42nd St. It is planned to bring some 1200 high school students to see the show and afterwards work in their classrooms on contemporary ethical issues.