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Wine, Dinner, & Science: Nuclear Fuel/Waste Reprocessing

Sigma Xi (Xi is pronounced with a "Z" sound-"Zi"-as in "xylophone") was founded in 1886 to honor excellence in scientific investigation and encourage a sense of companionship and cooperation among researchers in all fields of science and engineering. The Greek letters "sigma" and "xi" form the acronym of the Society's motto, "Spoudon Xynones," which translates as "Companions in Zealous Research."


8:00 PM – “Nuclear Fuel/Waste Reprocessing.” Originally scheduled for last March 19th. Be an informed citizen armed with solid state-of-the-art/engineer-ing/science facts, not just yesterday’s hearsay. Are there means to affordably and significantly reduce the radioactive half-life of waste? The stuff exists; you can’t just wish it away. This is a hot-button subject. No matter where you stand on nuclear-power matters, you owe it to yourself, your family and your community to be informed on the issues. At this meeting you will also have the opportunity to sign up for a guided tour of the UCI research reactor.

Speaker: Mikael Nilsson, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Chemical & Biological Engineering and Materials Science, Henry Samueli School of Engineering, UCI. He received his M.Sc. in Chemical Engineering in 2000 and his Ph.D. in Nuclear Chemistry in 2005 both from Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. His research interests include actinide chemistry, solvent extraction fundamental chemistry and process development, extraction and detection equipment development, radiolysis and phase composition of organic solvents. He works with the stuff; come hear him!

Meeting: September 17th, 2013 (Meetings are always on the 3rd Tuesdays of the odd-numbered months) at the beautiful lakefront Doubletree Club Hotel Orange County Airport, 7 Hutton Centre Drive, Santa Ana, CA 92707. (Free parking for Sigma Xi meeting attendees.) 

Social ½ Hour: 6:30 PM (no host bar). Come and meet the speaker and the other attendees.

Dinner: 7:00 PM –“Aloha Chicken,” tender chicken breast marinated in pineapple juice and special ginger and soy sauce, served with wild rice and vegetables, tossed garden salad with two types of dressing, assorted dinner rolls with creamery butter, chef’s choice dessert, freshly brewed regular and decaffeinated coffee, hot herbal and iced tea. Full bar service is available.

Reservations: Send your check (made out to Sigma Xi, Orange County Chapter) by Friday, September 13th to me, Stan White, at the letterhead address above. (John and Angie are on vacation in New England, so Edda and Adriana will be staffing the registration table.) For members and their guests, $25; $30 for all others. Miss the deadline?

RSVP by the 13th so the kitchen is prepared, pay at the door by cash or check but the tab is $5 more! Dinner with no RSVP is $10 more and the entrée is whatever is available. (Surprise attendees stress both the kitchen supplies and staff!) There is no charge if you attend the lecture only, but (1) you won’t be admitted to the meeting room until 7:45 and (2) you must RSVP so we can have a chair for you! 

Who Are We? Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society (est. 1886) has had a distinguished history of service to science (the “hard-core” physical and life sciences, mathematics and engineering communities) and society for over a century. Its primary publication, The American Scientist, is a premier international scientific journal for generalists/non-specialists. Sigma Xi was established at Cornell University as a university-based scientific-research honorary organization to recognize significant contributions to original scientific research. That remains the membership criterion. One does not request to join, but is invited based on recognized scientific-research accomplishments only. There are no educational-level requirements. (Note that a doctoral dissertation/thesis alone is insufficient.) The Scientific Research Society of America (RESA), founded in 1947, was an industrial and government research-laboratory-based parallel organization. In 1974 the two organizations merged to form Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society of North America. The “of North America” was dropped from the name as the organization spread into Europe, Asia and Latin America. The combined organization today is composed of 318 active chapters found at the leading research laboratories worldwide comprising over nearly 40,000 of the top scientists and engineers. Membership has included over 200 Nobel laureates, hundreds of members of the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering, the National Institute of Medicine, the National Research Council and National Science and Technology medalists. The Orange County Sigma Xi Chapter was originally chartered as the Autonetics Branch of RESA by UCLA’s Founding Dean of Engineering, Dr. Llewellyn M. K. Boelter in one of his final acts, on April 2, 1965 at the Anaheim, CA, Research Center of the Autonetics Div. of North American Aviation, Inc. (NAA). Although NAA/North American Rockwell/ Rockwell International/Boeing North American was long ago absorbed by the Boeing Company, many of the research staff members and other like-minded engineers and scientists throughout Orange County, both members and nonmembers, gather bimonthly to continue the Sigma Xi tradition of scientific investigation, interdisciplinary education and fellowship among peers as well as extending science outreach to the public through Sigma Xi’s Orange County Chapter.

 Coming Attractions:

November 19th, 2013, Virginia Trimble, Ph.D., Professor of Astronomy, History of Science and Scientometrics; “Blurring the Boundaries of Physics, Chemistry and Astronomy; The Mosely Centenary.”

January 21st, 2014, C. Ronald Koons, M.D., FACP, UCI Clinical Professor of Medicine and member of Ethics Committee, “The Science of Medicine and the Art of Medicine.”

March 18th, 2014, the redoubtable Virginia Trimble returns to present the controversial, “Anybody but Hubble.” Don’t miss it; she has never disappointed a scientific audience.

May 20th, 2014, TBA

Recent OC Chapter Presentations: 

May 21st, 2013, James Randerson, Ph.D., UCI Chancellor’s Professor of Earth System Science and Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, “Climate Change and Forest Fires.” There are complex feedback mechanisms at work that accelerate the process.

March 19th, 2013, A.J. Shaka, Ph.D., UCI Professor of Chemistry, licensed Senior Reactor Operator for the UCI TRIGA, Director of the UCI Nuclear Facility; “Future Power.” There is probably a thorium-fueled liquid-sodium reactor in your future.

January 15th, 2013, Kerry Burnight, Ph.D., UCI Geriatric Medicine Faculty, Clinical Professor of Family Medicine, Forensic Center Director, “Aging Brilliantly.” How to ‘live long and prosper.’ We engineers and scientists live longer than the general population! Good self-discipline and a vigorous intellectual life are major contributors.

November 20th, 2012, Kenneth J. Shea, Ph.D., Regents Faculty Fellow and Professor of Chemistry, UCI, “What Can Synthetic Chemistry Do For Us? From Plastic Antibodies to Fuels, From Biomass to Pest Control.” Both the potential and laboratory test results of the successes of the artificial antibodies are significant and encouraging. 

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  • Roland A. B.

    I am a member of Sigma Xi so would have attended anyway

    Betsy Parker joined the speaker and I at a table with a number or regulars. The talk was very informative, Nuclear power can be safe and affordable if we would only process our waste. France , Britain, and Russia are doing this but we are not.

    Russia is now selling 40 nuclear reactors a year and fueling them with decommissioned weapons material. meanwhile since the days of Jimmy Carter we are wasting ours.

    1 · September 20, 2013

  • Dr. Brian H.

    Kathleen and Milinda, that's okay. Just go left as you get in the front door, through their bar/cafe area to the room in the back with an open double-door.

    1 · September 16, 2013

  • Michelle Deets H.

    Brian, I'm so sorry but I have a schedule conflict and am unable to attend tomorrow's event. I changed my RSVP and hope someone else has time to register.

    September 16, 2013

  • Milinda S.

    I will not be able to get thee until 7:30. This is also my first meeting but I have been to Cosmos mestings.

    September 16, 2013

  • Kathleen A.

    I'm planning to attend the talk only, not the dinner, so I'll arrive at the Doubletree at 7:45 pm. This will be my first meeting.

    September 12, 2013

    • Dr. Brian H.

      Thanks for joining us, Kathleen! I am sure you will have a wonderful time. Please do send the link­ to your email circle and invite them to sign on, as well!

      September 12, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Everything Kathleen said applies to me as well.

      September 12, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    This sounds awesome, but I already have something scheduled :( Hope it goes well!

    September 12, 2013

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