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Wine, Dinner, & Science: The Art of Medical Caring

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."

Meeting: January 21st, 2014 (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. Identify yourself as such to the parking attendant.) 

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

Dinner: 7:00 PM – Homemade meatloaf seasoned to perfection served with garlic mashed potatoes, Caesar salad with 2 types of dressing, assorted dinner rolls with creamery butter, chef’s choice dessert, freshly brewed regular and decaffeinated coffee, and tea. Full bar service is available.

Speaker: C. Ronald Koons, MD, FACP, did his undergraduate work at Purdue, received his MD degree at University of Maryland and completed his Master of Medical Sciences degree at Ohio State as he completed his internship and residency at the University Hospital. As a Lieutenant in the Navy he was Assistant Director of the Radioisotope Laboratory of the Department of Nuclear Medicine at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. He then did a residency in Internal Medicine and was Chief Resident at the University Hospital, Baltimore. He taught and was Staff Physician at Johns Hopkins Hospital, was Special Fellow in Radiotherapy at the M. D. Anderson Hospital & Tumor Center in Houston. He became certified in both Internal Medicine and Radiation Oncology. This then led to an interesting and service-intensive career that took him through the Mountain States Tumor Institute (Assistant Director), teaching at the University of Washington, operating his own private practice and eventually led him to UCI where he was a Clinical Professor of Radiation Oncology and Medicine for years and from which he is now “semi-retired.”  He is now Clinical Professor of Medicine (Ethics) at UCI, a member of the Medical Staff Ethics Committee at the UCI Medical Center and leads the monthly Ethics Journal Club meetings. His main activities are with the moral and ethical issues of end-of-life situations in intensive-care units and with cancer patients. This involves facilitating productive patient-physician communication. He also gives talks on the value of nutrition and exercise in reducing trouble in older age. He is a bicyclist, does fitness training and sings with several choral groups. He met a student nurse in 1955 and married her 56 years ago. They have 2 sons and one grandson.

Lecture: 8:00 PM – “The Science of Medical Care; the Art of Medical Caring … Oil and Water?” You go into the hospital when there is a significant likelihood that something is going wrong inside of you. Stressful? You bet! You clearly need good medicine, but also a generous dose of humanism that encompasses such virtues as compassion, empathy, truthfulness and benevolence. Patients are asking for more of it, but so are hospitals for a very practical reason: reimbursement is tied to it. But the Science of Medicine is taking all the front rows; the Art of Medicine has been relegated to the back rows. Using randomized control studies, the science of mind-body medicine is now demonstrating  significant benefit to the medical outcomes of the patient. Many modalities are being used, but the common denominator is reduction of the stress-hormone levels. Physicians correctly point out that this takes time which is not adequately permitted by insurance providers. We will look into this problem to see if a different approach could include the humanism principles and still keep the time constraint in perspective.

Reservations: Send your check (made out to Sigma Xi, Orange County Chapter) by Friday, January 17h to secretary/treasurer Dr. John Pinson, 5069 E. Crescent Dr., Anaheim, CA[masked]; (714)[masked]; [masked]. Paid-up members and their guests, $25; $30 for all others. Miss the deadline? The tab is $5 more, pay at the door by cash or check but 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 to John 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:
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.

Past OC Chapter Presentations: 

November 19, 2013, Virginia Trimble, Ph.D., Professor of Physics, Astronomy, History of Science andScientometrics, UCI, “Blurring the Boundaries Among Physics, Chemistry and Astronomy – The Mosely Centenary.” Physical science disciplines are a continuum.

September 17, 2013, Mikael Nilsson, Ph.D. Assist. Professor of Chemical & Biological Engineering and Materials, UCI, “Nuclear Fuel/Waste Reprocessing.”

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.” 

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  • Al R.


    January 29, 2014

  • Jim T.

    The Sigma Xi meeting is always good, and tonight was no exception. We go anytime we can.

    January 21, 2014

  • Roland A. B.

    This is a dinner meeting where you will get a chance to discuss a wide variety of subjects during dinner.

    In November, at our table, we discussed such varying subjects as the how to wind a rubber band powered model airplane when coaching middle school kids in the Science Olympiad. This is not kid stuff !! We discussed how, if you stick your finger in the prop and wind you can expect a flight of about 15 seconds, but if you use lubrication, a rubber winder. and do a professional job of winding, a flight of two minutes and 15 seconds is not out of reach. We also discussed ancient standards of measurement including an unexpected connection between the standards for gallon and bushel described in the Magna Carta of 1215 and the restoration of 3500 year old Minoan Palaces found on the island of Crete which contained numerius frescoes of beautiful topless girls. We talked of many things but being both a model airplane nut and a man, this is what I remember best.

    December 28, 2013

5 went

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