Sigma Xi Speaks: June 2017

by User Not Found | Jun 20, 2017


In October 2015, I wrote that becoming interim executive director and CEO of Sigma Xi for six months was a singular honor. Now, some 21 months later, I was correct. It has been the single greatest honor of my long and varied career. It is no secret that the Society has had some very tough spots in recent years. My tenure has been a series of challenges and opportunities. The path I’ve traveled has been lighted by the vision, mission, and culture of our great institution. I strove to rebuild and grow where possible and to set out a series of plans and notions that your new leadership team can pursue, refine, and retool to accomplish the heights of promoting the highest ethical standard of behavior and the best attainable quality of research achievement.

In May, I reported to the Board of Directors that “the basic organizational structure and function, as well as the operational paths forward for governance, membership, communications & publications, and philanthropy are in place to achieve a bright future for Sigma Xi.” Now, I ask you to please engage with Dr. Jamie Vernon, your new leader as executive director and CEO, starting July 1. He has a fantastic grasp of who we are, where we should go, and how we can get there, but Sigma Xi is a membership- and chapter-based organization; you too must take hold and go with him. I know I will.

Finally, a great wave of scientific awareness has arisen. Primed by the March for Science, more of us recognize that this country’s research investment traditions are at peril, and people everywhere are feeling the urge to revive interest and participation in all things science. Sigma Xi is a beacon of clarity for the research enterprise…the underpinning for the human need to produce innovation and improve the common lot.

Thank you for having entrusted me with our Society.

Kids Science Reading Corner

One Minute Mysteries CoverI have a few final book recommendations for the young scientists in your life. What could be more intriguing than a mystery? Or better yet, a science mystery!

• I Wonder, by Annaka Harris, illustrated by John Rowe (ages 1 and up): A young girl poses questions about a range of natural phenomena and learns about the science behind them. Yet she also learns that mysteries—and exciting discoveries—remain.

• One Minute Mysteries: 65 Short Mysteries You Solve with Science, by Eric Yoder and Natalie Yoder (ages 8–12): Readers can solve the short mysteries in this book using scientific details within the stories themselves. (The other titles in this terrific series are One Minute Mysteries: 65 More Short Mysteries You Solve with Science and One Minute Mysteries: 65 Short Mysteries You Solve with Math.)

• The Complete Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle (teens and up): These classic tales hold up brilliantly, and their forays into Victorian-era science only make them more fascinating. Young adult fans of Mr. Holmes with an especially keen interest in science might want to check out The Scientific Sherlock Holmes and Mastermind—more here.


John C. Nemeth, PhD
Executive Director and CEO
Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society
Publisher of American Scientist

Sigma Xi Speaks is a monthly series of information that we hope you share with others.

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