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Lyceum Society November 2021 Meeting




for Members

Lyceum Society November 2021 Meeting

Monday, November 1, 2021, 11:00 AM - 2:20 PM EDT


Presented By


Social Chat and Announcements: 11:30 am to 11:45 am

Preliminary Presentation: 11:45 am to 12:30 pm

Speaker: Joel Kirman

Topic: Johann Beckmann, The First Critical Historian of Technology

Johann (John) Beckmann coined the term “technology” to mean the science of trades. He was the first to teach it as an academic subject. He is considered the father of the history of technology. When he published his great work History of Inventions, Discoveries and Origins (1797, in German), the academic world first took notice of the subject. The Fourth Edition (published in English, 1846) is a standard reference. The presentation will cover Beckmann’s background and life’s work. He was classically educated at a time when there were no indices, when scholars benefited from good memories and critical minds. He was exceptional in both virtues, and he never accepted any notion simply because some savant of the past had stated it.

CV: Joel J. Kirman received a BS from the City College of NY, and an MS from CUNY, both in  Chemical Engineering. Professionally a Process Manager, he designed petrochemical plants, practicing a specialty in the heating and reaction of fluids at high temperatures. Through his own firm, Envirodactics Co., he was a consulting engineer.

He has served as Chair of the N.Y. Section of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and Chair of the Engineering Section of the N.Y. Academy of Sciences. He is a Fellow of AIChE; has been a member of the Society for the History of Technology; and has served as Secretary and as President of the Lyceum Society. For several years he taught a course in the History of Invention, at The New School. His hobby is to delve into the history and technology of our industrial culture. “I remain curious about how the material side of our civilization got to where it is.” He has made 20 Presentations to the Lyceum Society, including Materials and Techniques of Art (No. 1); Antoni van Leeuwenhoek: Draper, Civic Activist, Microscopist (No. 17) in January, 2019; and The Story of Iron and Steel No. 20) in December, 2020.

Important Academy Update: 12:30 pm to 1:00 pm

Speaker: Robin Stephenson (Senior Vice President, Advancement, NYAS)

Please be sure to attend this special address by Ms. Stephenson.

CV: Robin Stephenson has over 30 years of leadership experience in academic and academic medical institutions, in development, fundraising, administration, public affairs, marketing, communications, and program development.

At New York University (NYU) Langone Health, Stephenson’s fundraising supported basic sciences departments, the Neuroscience Institute and the Institute for Systems Genetics, and psychiatry and nursing programs.

At Columbia University, Stephenson served as the Chief Information Strategist in the Office of the President, where she led efforts to develop global programs. Her work at Columbia included launching a new degree program, a Masters of Arts in Global Thought.

Earlier, at the University of Michigan, Stephenson was Life Sciences Information Director, where she led a major and successful campaign to ease restrictions on embryonic stem cell research. She also served as Administrator for the Knight Wallace Journalism Fellows program, Marketing Communications Director for the University Musical Society, and Program Manager for the NSF Advance Grant to Recruit and Retain Women Scientists and Engineers.

Stephenson has worked for the United Nations School of Hanoi, Vietnam and consulted for many international non-governmental organizations, including Pathfinder, Catholic Relief Services, and Save the Children.

She is the co-author with Dr. Pamela Smock of the book, Getting and Giving Career Advice: A Guide for Junior and Senior Faculty.

Stephenson holds a BA in English from the University of Michigan, and an MS in Organizational Leadership and Administration from Concordia University.

Main Presentation: 1:00 pm to 2:20 pm

Speaker: Charles Hesdorffer

Topic: Principles of Therapy for Cancer - Part I: Chemo and Targeted Drug Therapy

Outline: This talk introduces a Lyceum Society series on cancer, covering

  • Drugs used in treatment, their mechanism of action, and problems in chemotherapy
  • How new tools for cancer treatment have been developed and are being used
  • Results and side effects of targeted drugs

CV:    Lyceum member Charles Hesdorffer has been a member of the NY Academy of Sciences since 2003. He was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he attended the University of Witwatersand and received his MBBCh degree (1978) and his Master of Medicine (1986). Postdoctoral work, including medicine and surgery, was at the Johannesburg Training Hospitals and in New York, where he had a Fellowship in Hematology/Oncology at the Department of Medicine, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University.

University appointments have included          

2004 – 2005:  Professor of Clinical Medicine (in Surgery), College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, New York, NY

2005 – 2006:  Professor of Medicine, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey

2006 – 2012:  Associate Professor of Medicine and Oncology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD

2010 – 2012:  Staff Clinician, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MD

2012 – present:  Professor of Medicine, George Washington University, Washington, DC

2016 – present:  Clinical Professor of Medicine, Armed Forces University Health Sciences, Washington, DC

2018 – present:  Special Volunteer, National Institutes of Health, NHLBI, Bethesda, MD

Numerous awards include the John J. Leonard Award for Excellence in Teaching, Armed Forces University Health Sciences (2017).

He has also served on many medical committees, including: Member, Advisory Committee, Columbia-Presbyterian Physician Network; and Member, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore MD.


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