Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Association Asilomar Conference,
Asilomar 2004 February 13 - 16, 2004
ΦBKNCA 18th Annual Asilomar Conference Report
We start our retreat on Friday, February 13, and end on Monday, February 16. If you've never heard of Asilomar, or have never been there before, Asilomar is a state conference center in Pacific Grove, a small enclave between Monterey and Carmel. This year's Presidents' Day weekend will be PBK NCA's eighteenth consecutive Asilomar experience. Our retreat / conference always begins with dinner Friday evening and ends with lunch on Monday. During the long weekend, we provide a mix of interesting, thought-provoking speakers and activities, as well as ample free time to enjoy the lovely seaside atmosphere. People who work sometimes come late and leave early. It is even possible to "skip" some programs, as no one takes attendance or gives exams. And because some of you wanted to know: Dress is very casual.
The main goal of our conference is for us to enjoy ourselves in a beautiful setting, but our secondary goal is to raise money for scholarships. We use the $100 per person registration fee to cover conference costs (speakers' expenses, a.v. equipment rental, wine with Sunday dinner, postage, duplicating, office supplies, etc.). This past year's profits enabled us to fund almost three graduate scholarships.
How much does Asilomar cost? Unlike in the past when Asilomar did not have their February conference rates before our September newsletter deadline, this year we know the cost. It is $322.77 per adult, double occupancy; single occupancy, $525.09; youth (ages 3-17), $188.28. This includes three nights' lodging, and all meals, beginning with dinner on Friday and ending with lunch on Monday. Asilomar handles all room reservations.
Friday, February 13, 2004
Welcoming remarks, introductions
"Into the Wake of the Moon"
The idea to portray Eugene O’Neill in a biographical drama first occurred to Kurt while taking an O’Neill seminar 17 years ago at Tao House in Danville where O’Neill lived and worked from 1938 to 1944, writing some of his greatest plays: Long Day’s Journey into Night, Moon for the Misbegotten, and Iceman Commeth. At that conference, Kurt experienced his first full presentation on O’Neill and immediately realized that the playwright’s life was as dramatic and tragic as any of his plays. For this original dramatization, Kurt takes many of the words from O’Neill’s own letters and plays, blending and patching them to create a cohesive story. His goal is to have the audience feel as if they have experienced the soul of Eugene O’Neill.
As a professor of English and Humanities at Foothill College, Kurt heads the Stage Studies Program, leads trips to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, and edits the Faculty Association newsletter for the Foothill-DeAnza Community College District. He has performed in many Bay Area theater productions and recently won a Dean Goodman Choice Award for his portrayal of Talthybius in Trojan Women at the Foothill Studio Theatre. Kurt was recently cast in the world premier of My Antonia which will be presented by TheatreWorks at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts this April.
(A special thank-you to Phyllis and Leon Fisher who saw Kurt perform, thought he would be great for Asilomar, and passed the information on to Mary Hanel, who gave it to me.)
Saturday, February 14, 2004
"Kids’ Turn: A Program for Children of Divorce"
Ina Levin Gyemant
In a divorce, children inevitably suffer the most. In her talk this morning, Judge Gyemant will discuss the consequences of divorce on children and explain the Kids’ Turn program and the effect it has on the divorce experience. She will also relate vignettes of her own experience in Family Court which led to her founding Kids’ Turn.
We first met Ina last year when she accompanied her husband Len Shlain to Asilomar. Because of her rich legal background, not to mention her erudite dinner conversation and charming presence, many of you suggested that she speak to us this year in her own right. A graduate of Berkeley and Hastings College of the Law, she started her career as clerk to California Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Traynor. Since then she has been a Deputy Public Defender, Deputy Attorney General, and Municipal Court Judge. As a Superior Court Judge, she has been a Presiding Judge for the Family Law Department, the Juvenile Court, and currently presides over the Juvenile Drug Court, which she founded.
Saturday, February 14, 2004
"Sex, Time & Power: How Women’s Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution"
Tonight Len will speak about his latest book, an inquiry into the reasons why the human reproductive life cycle - especially that of the female - diverged so far from the bell-shaped reproductive life cycle curve of other animals. The book also explores the roots of relationships, marriage, parenting, funerals, paternity, misogyny, patriarchy, baldness, left-handedness, hunting, and the reasons why we humans are capable of loving each other deeper and longer than any other creature.
Len is the Chief of Laparoscopic Surgery at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco and is an Associate Professor of Surgery at UCSF. He is also the author of two critically acclaimed, award-winning books. Art & Physics: Parallel Visions in Space, Time, and Light, published in 1991, is presently used as a textbook in many art schools and universities. His 1998 work, The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: the Conflict between Word and Image made the national bestseller list.
Sunday, February 15, 2004
9:30 a.m. (Meet on the back steps of the building housing the registration desk.)
Asilomar Nature Walk with Ranger Roxann Jacobus
Those of you who have taken a walk with Ranger Roxann know that this is an experience not to be missed. Her extensive knowledge, buoyant sense of humor, and animated presentation make each walk special. On this morning’s walk, Ranger Roxann will talk about the problems, challenges, and opportunities facing Asilomar’s wild gardens. (Don’t forget to ask her why she propagates and plants poison oak on purpose!)
Sunday, February 15, 2004
"Luther Burbank: The Man and His Research"
Robert Hornback, Jr.
Bob developed a budding interest (no pun intended) in Luther Burbank when he was given books as a child about the great horticulturist. This interest led to Bob’s career as a horticultural historian. He does research at the Luther Burbank Experimental Farm in Sebastopol to increase his understanding of Burbank by studying his work. A former assistant curator at the Luther Burbank Gardens in Santa Rosa, Bob presently is a garden writer and lecturer, who founded his own company - Muchas Grasses – which specializes in ornamental grasses.
(Special thanks to Linda and Paul Geiger who thought Bob would be a great Asilomar speaker and brought him to my attention.)
Sunday, February 15, 2004
"A Matter of Trust: Liberal Education, Truth, and Democracy"
Many of you remember meeting John - the Secretary (Chief Executive Officer) of The Phi Beta Kappa Society - last year when he led us in a discussion on the value of a liberal arts education. This year we are again fortunate that he has traveled from his headquarters in Washington, D.C., to speak to us.
Not only did John attain Phi Beta Kappa status at Rhodes College (Southwestern at Memphis), he was also a football and track stand-out. He studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and earned his Ph.D. at Yale. His areas of scholarly expertise are in philosophy (Wittgenstein, history of philosophy) and religious studies (philosophy of religion, history of Christianity, religion and literature).
Monday, February 16, 2004
9:30 a.m. (Meet on the back steps of the building housing the registration desk.)
History and Architecture of Asilomar Walk with Ranger Roxann
Once again Ranger Roxann Jacobus will lead us through Asilomar’s Julia Morgan buildings, share the Y.W.C.A. campers’ stories and gestures, and regale us with tales of "pie rats" and "stuck-ups". This walk is a "must" for Asilomar newcomers. And we "old timers", who have done it many times, always learn something new.
Asilomar 2003 February 14 - 17, 2003
ΦBKNCA 17th Annual Asilomar Conference Report
The Way We Were…Asilomar 2003
According to the end-of-conference questionnaires the attendees filled out, if you did not join us for our President’s Day Weekend retreat at Asilomar this year, you missed a very special experience. Those who had come for many years had their usual wonderful time renewing old acquaintances in one of California’s loveliest settings. Those who came for the first time commented on the friendliness of our members and the excellence of our speakers. And everyone said that the informal conversations around the dining room tables really added to the quality of our retreat.
What did you miss? A lot of excellent presentations and good company.
Friday night, Joe Wible, the Assistant to the Director and Librarian at Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Station in Monterey spoke to us about a century of that institute’s history. This was followed on Saturday morning by PBKNCA member Carol Baier’s daughter, Molly Baier, who presented a wonderful account (in spite of unforeseen communication problems between her laptop and our LCD projector) of her experiences in living, working, and traveling in the former USSR. A free afternoon allowed the participants to enjoy the Pacific Grove area in whatever way they chose. Saturday night Len Shlain enthralled our audience with his polished presentation concerning his theories about the alphabet’s influence on our culture and the position of women. Although Sunday morning was supposed to be free, we were fortunate to snag Ranger Roxann (whose vacation plans had changed) to regale us once again with the history of Asilomar, its buildings, and its architect, Julia Morgan. This was followed by PBKNCA’s own Harold Johnston speaking to us Sunday afternoon about his secret World War II research on poison gasses. Sunday evening brought us together for a conversation led by John Churchill, the National Secretary of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, about the relevance of a liberal education. And Monday morning, Donn Downing, our Membership Chair Letitia Sanders’ husband, spoke about his collection of early printed texts.
As every year, this year’s participants stated that we should do a better job of publicizing Asilomar to our membership because some of you are still not familiar with the place and what we do there. If you've never heard of Asilomar, or have never been there before, Asilomar is a state conference center in Pacific Grove, a small enclave between Monterey and Carmel. Next year's Presidents' Day weekend will be PBKNCA's eighteenth consecutive Asilomar experience. Our retreat / conference always begins with dinner Friday evening and ends with lunch on Monday. During the long weekend, we provide a mix of interesting, thought-provoking speakers and activities, as well as ample free time to enjoy the spectacular seaside atmosphere. People who work sometimes come late and leave early. It is even possible to "skip" some programs, as no one takes attendance or gives exams. The number of participants varies from year to year; this year we had 114 attendees. And because some of you wanted to know: the dress is very casual.
The main goal of our conference is for us to enjoy ourselves in a beautiful setting, but our secondary goal is to raise money for scholarships. This year's $100 per person registration fee was used to cover conference costs (speakers' expenses, a.v. equipment rental, wine with Sunday dinner, postage, duplicating, office supplies, etc.), but $85.42 of the Asilomar 2003 $100 registration fee is fully tax deductible and will be used for our scholarship program.
People who haven’t attended before also need to know the cost of the conference. In addition to the $100 registration fee which goes directly to PBKNCA, Asilomar this year charged $318 per person for double occupancy of a room and three huge meals per day. Every year they increase their rates, but they do not usually let us know until September what the charges will be. The exact amount for next year will be publicized in our fall newsletter. Many of this year’s attendees have already sent in their registration fees for 2004. If you plan to attend, look for Asilomar news in the September newsletter and on the web, and get your coupon in early.
The 2003 Presidents' Day weekend was PBKNCA's seventeenth consecutive Asilomar experience. Our retreat / conference always begins with dinner Friday evening and ends with lunch on Monday. During the long weekend, we provide a mix of interesting, thought-provoking speakers and activities, as well as ample free time to enjoy the lovely seaside atmosphere. People who work sometimes come late and leave early. It is even possible to "skip" some programs, as no one takes attendance or gives exams. And because some of you have asked: Dress is very casual.
The main goal of our conference is for us to enjoy ourselves in a beautiful setting, but our secondary goal is to raise money for scholarships. The $100 per person registration fee is used to cover conference costs (speakers' expenses, a. v. equipment rental, wine with Sunday dinner, postage, duplicating, office supplies, etc.). This past year's profits enabled us to fund almost three graduate scholarships. And for those of you who attended in 2003 and have been waiting for this information: $85.42 of your registration fee is fully tax deductible.
Friday, February 14, 2003
"A Century of Marine Biology at Hopkins Marine Station " - Joe Wible
As Assistant to the Director and Librarian, Joe Wible combines his interests in computers, information retrieval, and marine biology. He works on the design and evaluation of databases in the biological sciences and the development of interfaces that allow researchers to successfully search for bibliographic information. Making information available via the Web has enhanced the research effort of scientists and also provided a way to publicize the Hopkins teaching and research programs to the general public.
Saturday, February 15, 2003
"The Fire Escape is Locked for Your Safety: On the Road in the Former Soviet Union" - Molly Baier
Daughter of PBKNCA's Carol Baier, Molly is presently a lawyer in San Francisco. Due in part to her grandmother's dream of taking her grandchildren across Russia on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, Molly longed to travel in the East Block. After law school and study in Germany, she had the opportunity to work on USAID's Commercial Law and Bankruptcy reform project in the former USSR. When that project ended, she signed on to a British government project to reorganize Stalinization's monstrous collective farms into small, private farms. In the summer of 1999 she set off from Ukraine with a backpack, a map, a little courage, a little trepidation, and a vague idea of reaching Vladivostok by the time her Russian visa expired three months later.
Saturday, February 15, 2003
"The Alphabet Versus The Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image" - Leonard Shlain
Leonard Shlain is the Chairman of laparoscopic surgery at the California Pacific medical Center in San Francisco and is an Associate Professor of Surgery at UCSF. He is also the author of two critically acclaimed, award-winning books. Art & Physics: Parallel Visions in Space, Time, and Light, published in 1991, is presently used as a textbook in many art schools and universities. His 1998 work, The Alphabet Versus The Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image made the national bestseller list. He is currently working on Sex, Time & Power: How Women's Sexuality Changed the Course of Human Evolution to be published in 2003.
Sunday, February 16, 2003
"A Bridge Not Attacked" - Harold Johnston
PBKNCA's own Harold Johnston is a chemistry professor emeritus from UC Berkeley. This evening he will be speaking about his book (to be published in 2003) which contains the true stories of highly talented civilian scientists who were carrying out research on defense against poison gases in unusual situations during World War II. He is eminently suited to tell this tale, as the focus of his professional career has been pure research on gas-phase chemical and photochemical reactions, involving the oxides of nitrogen, ozone, fluorine, chlorine, and several free radicals. Applying results of pure research to practical problems, he was in 1971 one of the founders of the concept that human activities can have a world-wife effect on atmospheric ozone.
Sunday, February 16, 2003
An Invitation to Conversation - "A Question of Relevance: The Social Value of the Liberal Arts" - John Churchill
PBKNCA is honored that John, the Secretary (Chief Executive Officer) of The Phi Beta Kappa Society has traveled from his headquarters in Washington to lead us in a discussion on the value of a liberal arts education. Not only did John attain Phi Beta Kappa status at Rhodes College (Southwestern at Memphis), he was also a football and track stand-out. He studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and earned his Ph.D. at Yale. His areas of scholarly expertise are in philosophy (Wittgenstein, history of philosophy) and religious studies (philosophy of religion, history of Christianity, religion and literature).
Monday, February 17, 2003
"My Little Obsession and Just Who is Walter Ong?"- Donn Downing
Donn, who collects early printed leaves with his wife Letitia Sanders (PBKNCA's Third Vice President - Membership), has been associated with some form of media since the age of sixteen. He has written for weekly and daily newspapers, the UPI wire service, Time, Bank of America corporate publications, and has engaged in freelance journalism. His presentation this morning is the story of the incunabula collection, possibly one of the largest in private hands - as opposed to book dealers and great national and international libraries or institutions. If kept intact, this collection may find a public educational instead of an academic purpose at a time when digital communications may be turning literate culture that dates from the emergence of the printing press in Europe on its head.
Asilomar 2002 February 15 - 18, 2002
ΦBKNCA 16th Annual Asilomar Conference Report
What they said...
"Restful surroundings, good company, stimulating discussions."
"Interesting agenda in a beautiful setting."
"Programs, camaraderie, location."
"I enjoyed the PBK members I met when I was inducted into membership, so I thought I would like to spend a weekend with them. I was not disappointed."
The participants also stated that we should do a better job of publicizing Asilomar to our membership because some of you are still not familiar with the place and what we do there. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the setting, Asilomar is a state conference center in Pacific Grove, a small enclave between Monterey and Carmel. This year's Presidents' Day weekend was PBK NCA's sixteenth consecutive Asilomar experience. Our retreat/conference always begins with dinner Friday evening and ends with lunch on Monday. During the long weekend, we try to provide a mix of interesting, thought-provoking speakers and activities, as well as ample free time to enjoy the lovely seaside atmosphere. People who work sometimes come late and leave early. It is even possible to "skip" some programs, as no one takes attendance or gives exams. The number of participants varies from year to year: sometimes as low as 70 and sometimes as high as 120. This year we had 102 participants. And because some of you wanted to know: the dress is very casual.
The main goal of our conference is to enjoy ourselves in a beautiful setting, but our secondary goal is to raise money for scholarships. This year's $100 per person registration fee was used to cover conference costs (speakers' expenses, a.v. equipment rental, wine with Sunday dinner, postage, duplicating, office supplies, etc.) Although all the bills are not yet in, it looks as if approximately $85 of that fee will be fully tax deductible. For those of you who participated in the bus trip, around $8 per person can be deducted. Exact figures will be available at the annual meeting in May and will be published in the September newsletter.
Participants this year had nothing but praise for our outstanding speakers. Our own Larry Lerner began our conference with a lecture about the treatment of evolution in state science curriculum standards. Kerry Mazzoni, Secretary for Education, led off Saturday with a talk on the state of education in California. This was followed in the afternoon by another presentation of our own "Greatest Generation" panel who told us what they had done in World War II. Saturday evening Susan Shillinglaw, a Steinbeck expert, treated us to a lecture and slide show about the importance of place in Steinbeck's work. For those who had signed up in advance, Sunday was a bus trip to the Pastures of Heaven, lunch at the Steinbeck House, and a visit to the Steinbeck Center in Salinas. That evening, Susan Howard, Associate Secretary of Phi Beta Kappa spoke to us about PBK's joint project with the Kettering Foundation. The conference ended with an entertaining nature walk with Asilomar's own Ranger Roxanne.
If you haven't joined us for a few years, the Asilomar experience is better than ever. Besides the breathtaking scenery, the bracing salt air, and the delicious food, there is always stimulation for the mind, provided by our speakers and our members.
Because of your many thoughtful suggestions in last year's end-of-conference questionnaire, I have developed a program which I hope will have something of interest for everyone. In the area of education, our own Larry Lerner has agreed to speak to us on the topic Evolution: Its Treatment in K-12 State Science Curriculum Standards. Kerry Mazzoni, the Secretary of Education for the state of California will talk to us about testing in the California schools. In addition, Susan Howard, who has been the interim Secretary of Phi Beta Kappa since Douglas Foard's resignation, has agreed to speak to us on the topic of The Social Value of a Liberal Education: What Does the Public Believe? Because 2002 is the Steinbeck centennial year, we also have some Steinbeck-related activities. Susan Shillinglaw from San Jose State will present a lecture and slide show on Steinbeck's Sense of Place, which segues very nicely into our Sunday bus trip. The "Greatest Generation" will be reprised with all the former members being introduced and those whose very interesting stories were cut short because of time constraints having the opportunity to speak again, along with some new members. Finally, Ranger Roxann will lead us on an Asilomar nature walk, with emphasis on the pine bark beetle problem and the dune restoration project.
The registration process this year will be the same as last year. Attendees will mail a registration fee of $100 to PBK NCA. This money is used to cover our expenses at Asilomar and any excess (which is fully tax deductible) is used for graduate scholarships. Last year we were able to fund almost two scholarships from our Conference profits. (I will let you know in the April newsletter exactly how much of this fee you may deduct.) When I receive your $100 registration fee, I will send you your housing reservation form. Asilomar handles all the room reservations, so if you have any special requests, or wish to cancel, you must contact them. The $100 fee you send to PBKNCA is not part of your Asilomar housing payment. Asilomar has set the three-day cost for lodging and meals this year at $303.17 per person, double occupancy. Single occupancy rates are higher; discounted youth rates are available.
The deadline for sending in the coupon with your registration fee was November 14, 2001; the deadline for full payment directly to Asilomar is December 14, 2001. (Those of you who made your $100 deposit last February, as well as those of you who responded to the article in the September newsletter, should have already received your Asilomar housing forms.)
ASILOMAR BUS TRIP
If you are new to our Asilomar conference (or if you have forgotten!), we usually arrange a bus tour for one of our conference days. For those who choose to participate, there is an extra charge; for those who prefer to remain at Asilomar, there are no special activities planned during the bus tour time. In other words, you will be free to explore Pacific Grove, Carmel, or Monterey on your own. (There will be information about various tourist attractions in the conference packet which you will receive on Friday, February 15.)
Our bus trip will take place on Sunday, February 17. We plan to leave Asilomar promptly at 9 a.m. for a five-and-a-half-hour tour. Carol Robles, whom many of you know from our past excursions, will be our guide again this year. Our itinerary will be familiar to those of you who took the very popular tour Mel Shattuck had arranged five years ago. We will enjoy an updated look at the Pastures of Heaven; tour and partake of a three-course lunch at the Steinbeck house in Salinas, as well as visit the gift shop there; call on the Steinbeck Center; and drive through Spreckels on the way home, time permitting. We plan to return by 3:30 p.m. The cost for the trip including lunch, all tips, taxes, fees, and donations is $50 per person.
If you plan to take part in the bus trip, please request a reservation coupon return it to me with your check made out to PBK NCA. The bus holds forty-five people; those of you who have already sent me your registration fees have priority for bus reservations. If there is enough interest, we will try to add an additional bus.
More About Our Speakers...
Lawrence S. Lerner, Physics Professor Emeritus
Larry Lerner, a member of our Association, learned how to be a physicist at the University of Chicago. Being a Hutchins product, he found his special interests expanding into unexpected areas, including the history of science and science education. He has been quite active in the latter field for about fifteen years, working on textbooks, science standards and frameworks, as well as many other curricular matters. His special interest is the defense of the public school curriculum against the encroachment of pseudoscience and antiscience, of which creationism has been a major component. His speech to us this evening will raise the issues surrounding the treatment of evolution in the public schools.
Although he has been an emeritus professor for more than two years, he doesn't seem to find the time to wind down. He tries to practice the organ, attend the opera, and play with his Newfoundland dogs.
Kerry Mazzoni, Secretary for Education in the Cabinet of California Governor Gray Davis
Prior to her appointment by Governor Davis on December 18, 2000, Ms. Mazzoni served three terms in the California State Assembly, representing Marin and Sonoma counties. As Chair of the Assembly Education Committee, she considered milestone reform legislation such as California's STAR program for academic assessment, class size reduction, California's comprehensive system of accountability, raising teacher standards, school readiness, and education technology.
In her speech this morning she will address Governor Davis' education initiatives and the move toward higher standards and accountability in California classrooms, as well as the challenges and opportunities facing public education in the year ahead.
The following panel participants are members (or spouses) of the Northern California Association of Phi Beta Kappa who served their country during World War II:
Madeleine Babin, Adjutant's General Office - Translation Branch and O.S.S.
Douglas Campbell, Army Ranger
Pegge Brandt, Army dietician
Gordon Repp, Navy electronic technician
Susan Shillinglaw, Director of the Center for Steinbeck Studies, Professor of English at San Jose State University
Besides editing the award-winning Steinbeck Studies (previously The Steinbeck Newsletter), Dr. Shillinglaw has published numerous articles on Steinbeck, as well as co-edited four books on that author. She has also edited a Centennial tribute to Steinbeck, John Steinbeck: Centennial Reflections, to be published in March 2002 and is currently completing a biography of Steinbeck's first wife, Carol Henning Steinbeck.
Professor Shillinglaw received her B.A. in Art and English from Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa; and her M.A. and Ph.D. in American literature from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She has taught at Wake Forest University, Canisius College, the Buffalo Seminary, Santa Clara University, and since 1984, San Jose State University.
Her talk and slide presentation this evening will center on Steinbeck's connection with this region's land, sea, and communities.
A recent article in the September 2019 issue of the Smithsonian discusses the salvaging and restoring of Steimbeck's ship "Western Flyer", below, in Post Townsend, WA.
Susan Wells Howard, Associate Secretary of Phi Beta Kappa
Susan Howard came to the Society after nearly twenty years in administration at the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Ph.D. in Germanic Languages and Literatures. In addition to her work at that university, Dr. Howard has extensive experience with the National Issues Forums, a deliberative discussion series fostered by the Kettering Foundation.
She will speak on Phi Beta Kappa's role in American public life and introduce us to the Society's current cooperative project with the Kettering Foundation: a national deliberation on the social value of liberal learning.
Ranger Roxann Jacobus, State Park Coordinator, Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds
With over ten years of experience at Asilomar, Ranger Roxann is an expert on its history, as those of us who have participated in her walking tours of Asilomar can verify. This year she will tell us about the present state of Asilomar's wild gardens and what we can expect to see in the future.
Tax Information for 2002
The main goal of our conference is for us to enjoy ourselves in a beautiful setting, but our secondary goal is to raise money for scholarships. The $100 per person registration fee is used to cover conference costs (speakers' expenses, AV equipment rental, wine with Sunday dinner, postage, duplicating, office supplies, etc.). This past year's profits enabled us to fund almost three graduate scholarships. (And for those of you who attended in 2002 and have been waiting for this information: $83.41 of your registration fee is fully tax deductible. If you participated in the bus trip, $8.13 of your fee can be deducted.)
Jean James , Asilomar Chair
ΦBKNCA 15th Annual Asilomar Conference Report
"And a good time was had by all..."
At least that seemed to be the sentiment of the eighty participants at Asilomar 2001 according to the questionnaires they filled out. In case you missed it, or know nothing about Asilomar, our Association has had for a number of years an annual retreat over President's Day Weekend at the beautiful California state conference center - Asilomar - located between Monterey and Carmel. This year we were fortunate enough to enjoy not only good weather (it rained only at night!), but also wonderful speakers. One participant commented that when he first saw the program, he was not very enthusiastic. After all, he was a serious scientist, so how interesting could Monarch butterflies be? However, he admitted that he was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the speakers and their subjects. Ro Vaccaro treated us to an informative evening about the Monarchs, including their amazing migration and fascinating sex lives. Because of her presentation, many attendees visited the over-wintering insects at their sanctuary in Pacific Grove.
Col. Butler of the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center at the Presidio in Monterey enlightened us concerning the training of language specialists for the armed forces. William Ladusaw and Deanna Shemak, two professors from UC Santa Cruz, discussed their institution's grading policies. The highlight for many was our own PBK "Greatest Generation" panel who vividly shared their WWII experiences with us. Peggy Lemaux of UC Berkeley presented valuable information about genetically engineered plants. Carol Robles led us in a bus tour of the Presidio and the Defense Language Institute; the former Fort Ord; and the historic Del Monte Hotel, now a part of the Naval Post Graduate School. We even had a short stop at the butterfly sanctuary. Marine mammals were the topic of the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Steven Webster, who made his usual excellent presentation. The weekend ended with Ranger Roxann Jacobs delighting us with her enthusiastic and knowledgeable walking tour of the Asilomar grounds.
If you attended this year, we hope you will mark your calendars and join us for next year's Asilomar conference. We also hope you will tell others what a good time you had. And if you haven't ever been, be sure to ask those who have about their experience. Finally, don't be afraid to come because you don't know anyone. Over and over, attendees commented that what really makes our conference special is the extremely interesting and very friendly members themselves.
Important Tax Information For Asilomar 2001 Attendees
Of the $100 registration fee you paid to PBK NCA, we used only $18.55 for expenses; thus $81.45 of that fee is tax deductible, since no goods or services were received for that amount. The $7042.35 profit from the registration fees will be used to fund two graduate scholarships. In addition, if you paid $25 for the bus trip, $7.34 of that fee is tax deductible, also, since our expenses were $17.66 per participant.
Jean James Asilomar Chair
Asilomar 2000 - WAVES AND WONDER:
SCIENCE AND MONTEREY BAY
ΦBKNCA 14th Annual Asilomar Conference Report
Presidents' Day weekend, February 18-21, 2000 at the Julia Morgan designed Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, near Monterey. There'll be plenty of fresh salt air and serenity among the pines, but plenty of stimulating conversation, as well.
The keynote speaker is Dr. Thomas Layton, a professor of anthropology at San Jose State University. Why do shipwrecks so capture the imagination? Learn about one of the most-studied of such events from the author of The Voyage of the Frolic: New England Merchants and the Opium Trade (1997, Stanford University Press). Dr. Layton, a Harvard PhD, received the 1998 Governor's Award for Historic Preservation, after more than fourteen years of research into the shipwreck of the clipper The Frolic, which foundered off the Mendocino Coast in 1850. His project inspired a fourth grade curriculum and teachers' guide published by the Oakland Museum; it also inspired three books, four museum exhibits, a historical dramatization, a TV program on the Learning Channel and even a beer Frolic Shipwreck Ale, by the Mendocino Brewing Company!
The closing Speaker is Dr. Steven Webster, Senior biologist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Dr. Webster earned his PhD at Stanford and has been a diving instructor and underwater photographer for thirty five years. According to his bio, he "has been involved with the aquarium since the word 'aquarium' was first muttered by someone at a gathering in Big Sur in 1976." Currently the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee for the city of Monterey's Ed Ricketts Underwater Park, Dr. Webster is familiar to some of us for his talk at Asilomar several years ago about the journey John Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts took to the Sea of Cortez. His slides were captivating then, but this year they will, arguably, be even more so. He will treat us to slides of recent underwater explorations.
Other speakers are:
Dr. Quentin Williams, 1999 recipient of a PBK NCA Teaching Excellence Award. The engaging Dr. Williams, a professor in the Earth Sciences department at UC Santa Cruz, will speak on coastal geology and seismology.
Zad Leavy is Executive Director and General Counsel for The Big Sur Land Trust, which acquires and preserves open space and parkland along the Big Sur Coast, in Carmel Valley and on the Monterey Peninsula
Bruce Weaver, Ph.D., Monterey Institute for Research in Astronomy (MIRA). Dr. Weaver founded MIRA in 1971 and continues as its director. He is co-developer of a new stellar classification system in the near infrared and has designed and constructed a variety of astronomical instruments.
Bios of the speakers, from the handout at the Conference
Zad Leavy, Executive Director Big Sur Land Trust
Zad Leavy is Executive Director and General Counsel for The Big Sur Land Trust, which acquires and preserves open space and parkland along the Big Sur Coast, in Carmel Valley and on the Monterey Peninsula. Since he founded the Land Trust in 1978, it has completed 92 transactions and preserved nearly 18,000 acres in Big Sur, Carmel Valley and elsewhere in western Monterey County. He is also one of five elected Board members of the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District, having served on the Board for the past 19 years. He is also a practicing attorney in Carmel for the past 25 years. His prior public service includes three years as a Deputy District Attorney in Los Angeles County, service as a U.S. Navy officer in Korea, and four and a half years as a Commissioner on the California Coastal Commission (1976-81).
Thomas N. Layton, Ph.D.
Department of Anthropology, SJSU
Dr. Layton is the author of The Voyage of the Frolic: New England Merchants and the Opium Trade (1997, Stanford University Press). A professor of anthropology at San Jose State University, this Harvard Ph.D. received the 1998 Governor's Award for Historic Preservation, alter more than fourteen years of research into the shipwreck of the clipper The Frolic, which floundered off the Mendocino Coast in 1850. His project inspired a fourth-grade curriculum and teachers' guide published by the Oakland Museum; it also inspired three books, four museum exhibits, a historical dramatization, a TV program on the Learning Channel and even a beer--Frolic Shipwreck Ale, by the Mendocino Brewing Company!
Quentin Williams, Ph.D.
Department of Earth Sciences, UCSC
Best known to PBK-NCA as a 1999 recipient of our Teaching Excellence Award, the engaging Dr. Williams, a professor in the Earth Sciences department at UC Santa Cruz, will speak on coastal geology and seismology. He received his Bachelor's degree in chemistry from Princeton University in 1983 and his Ph.D. in Geology from the University of California at Berkeley in 1988. Much of his research centers on recreating the high pressure and temperature conditions of Earth's interior in the laboratory. Among his scientific achievements have been providing the first experimentally derived constraint on the temperature at Earth's center and being co-formulator of a new paradigm for how basalt, the most abundant magma type on the planet, is produced and transported to Earth's surface. His recent interests include probing archaeological ceramics with mineralogic and chemical tools to reconstruct ancient trade routes. He has received a Presidential Faculty Fellow Award (1993), awarded by the National Science Foundation and White House and the Mineralogical Society of America Award for the year 2000.
Bruce Weaver, Ph.D.
Monterey Institute for Research in Astronomy
Dr. Weaver founded MIRA in 1971 and continues as its director. He has published his research on star formation, stellar atmospheres, flare stars, artificial neural networks, spectral classification, computer simulations of battalion-level armored combat(!). He received his BS in Astrophysics from the University of Arizona, with minors in Physics and Oriental Studies. He went on to get his MS at Case Institute of Technology and his Ph.D. in Astrophysics at Case Western Reserve University. He is co-developer of a new stellar classification system in the near infrared and has designed and constructed a variety of astronomical instruments. He is currently developing a full non-thermodynamic equilibrium stochastic simulation of radiative transfer in stellar atmospheres--and if, like me, you have no idea what that means, come to the lecture and we'll find out together. Either that, or we'll ask him to tell us about his orchids, which he painstakingly raises!
Steven Webster, Ph.D.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Senior biologist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Dr. Webster earned his Ph.D. at Stanford and has been a diving instructor and underwater photographer for thirty-five years. According to his bio, he "has been involved with the aquarium since the word 'aquarium' was first muttered by someone at a gathering in Big Sur in 1976." Currently the chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee for the city of Monterey's Ed Ricketts Underwater Park, Dr. Webster is familiar to some of us for his talk at Asilomar several years ago about the journey John Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts took to the Sea of Cortez; his slides then were captivating, but this year they will, arguably, be even more so: he will treat us to slides of recent underwater explorations.
Jacqueline Dever Celenza Asilomar Chair
ΦBKNCA 13th Annual Asilomar Conference Report
Presidents' Day Week-end, February 12-15: relaxation in Pacific Grove's peerless sea-side setting graced by renowned Julia Morgan-designed conference buildings. Adding mental stimulation to the mix is a program tied to the statehood period of Monterey, particularly relevant in light of California's upcoming sesquicentennial.
Some program highlights:
- Dr. Kevin Starr... California State Librarian, Chairman of the Sesquicentennial Commission, and author, in his California history series, of "Americans and the California Dream: 1850-1915", which we recommend as pre-conference reading.
- Pat Hathaway... Monterey historic photo archivist. He will show and discuss slides from his own massive trove of images dating from the 1850s.
- Kent Seavey...art historian. He will share his special knowledge of artists whose creativity flourished in old Monterey.
- Sunday Bus Tour, led by Carol Robles. Monterey destinations: historic adobes, qardens, and exhibits of old California art. In Salinas: the sleek new Steinbeck Center (not yet built at the time of our '97 Steinbeck conference).
- Talks. readings and discussions related to literary figures, such as Robert Louis Stevenson and Robinson Jeffers, who are linked to our theme period and place.
Mel Shattuck, Asilomar Chair
ΦBKNCA 12th Annual Asilomar Conference Report
Millennium was the message at Asilomar '98 February 13-16, 1998. Fact, philosophy, informed speculation, and a dash of the fictional were on the program menu at our Presidents' Day weekend at the beautiful Julia Morgan designed Asilomar State Conference Center.
"The speakers, topics and viewpoints couldn't have been more eclectic", according to M. B. Shattuck, Chair of the Conference. Speakers were:
Dr. Jill Cornell Tarter, an astronomer whose renown greatly increased with release of the movie "Contact" - a fictionalized view of her highly intriguing experiments aimed at achieving communication with other planets and life-forms. In "What Links Lie Ahead?", she described her current work and considered what the 21st century may offer in furthering her scientific goals. She is director of Project Phoenix with the SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) Institute, Mountain View.
Laurie R. King, an award-winning mystery writer with nine novels published since 1987 by St Martin's and Bantam including A Monstrous Regiment of Women, A Letter of Mary and The Moor. Her views and impressive authorial products are augmented by the studies which earned her a bachelor's degree in religious studies from UC Santa Cruz and an MA from the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley; and an honorary doctorate. She spoke on "Mystery and the Millennium", an incredible historical background for our obsession with the coming year 2000.
Alexander Rose provided an imagination-grabbing description of a project aimed at "increasing the cultural attention span". It's a monument-sized 10,000-year clock and a novel storage library; the brain-child of The Long Now Foundation, San Francisco. Rose is the non-profit organization's executive director, and has an honors degree in industrial design from the Carnegie Mellon Institute.
James M. Spitze is a well known technology consultant specializing in information systems planning and strategy. His talk - "Tripping Lightly Through Millennium Technology Topics" - included hot subjects such as the computer bug reputedly poised to strike at the Year 2000 roll-over. He is managing partner, Systems Consulting Consortium, Orinda.
Dr. Peter Lyman, University Librarian at UC Berkeley, researches and writes within a wide range of areas of personal and academic interest, including the metamorphosis of the library in an information society. In "The Once and Future Library", he looked beyond date stamps and tattered withdrawal cards to the digital library. He spoke of the vast changes to libraries in the cyberspace era, and why he still makes hard copies of all valuable documents! Before joining UC Berkeley in 1994, Dr. Lyman was University Librarian and Dean of the University Libraries at the University of Southern California.
Bob Baronian, Wendy Shattuck, Marijane Osborn and Chris Olson enlightened us with reviews of millennium books, including: "Release 2.0" by Ester Dyson; Questioning the Millennium" by Stephen Jay Gould; "The New World Border: Prophecies, Poems and Loqueras for the End of the Century" by Guillermo Gomez-Peña; and "Century's End: An Orientation Manual Toward the Year 2000" by Hillel Schwartz.
But it wasn't all lectures and discussions. The 92 attendees enjoyed pleasant meals, a tour of two area wineries, a beautiful hike along the beach south of the Carmel River (The sun actually was shining! A beautiful day!). Some sea otters were spotted frolicking in the waves, and many deer were seen wandering the Asilomar grounds.
We also thank the Asilomar participants for the part of their payment that qualifies as a tax deductible donation to the Association. If you were a participant, see the April Newsletter, or contact the Association for information.