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Lyceum Society February 2020


for Members

Lyceum Society February 2020

Monday, February 3, 2020

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.

For more information about the Lyceum Society, click here.


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


February 03, 2020

11:30 AM

Brown Bag Lunch

12:30 PM

Cold Fusion


Stuart Kurtz, PhD

In 1983 Martin Fleishmann and Stanley Pons at the University of Utah, using a  Palladium electrochemical cell and deuterium, claimed to have induced fusion of the deuterium to Helium.  They and the University announced, via a press conference, the discovery of a process of "Cold Fusion" that implied a new cheap energy source that would transform the world. The announcement set off a scramble to verify and exploit the process.  Within a few months the scientific community understood this to be a case study of bad science. The behavior of the participants turned out to be much more interesting than the science.

1:00 PM

Domestication of Plants in the Old World, Part 2


Joel Kirman
MS, Chemical Engineering

Flowering plants emerged ~ 150 MM years ago. Grasses, a variety of flowering plants emerged ~ 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 (~10,000 years ago), rice and millet in East Asia (~7,000 years ago), sorghum and millet in sub-Saharan Africa (~6,000 years ago) and maize (corn) in America (~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. A reduced version of Part 1 was presented at our October, 2018 meeting.