Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Association 20th Asilomar Conference,
Friday, February 17 – Monday, February 20, 2006
The rain we received at the opening of our anniversary celebration in no way dampened the spirits of the 106 Phi Betes and their guests who joined us for our Association’s twentieth annual retreat at the Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove this past February 17 – 20, 2006. The clouds and rain, mingled with occasional glints of sunshine, only added to the beauty of the venue. (If you were not able to attend and would like to know what we did, Ray Hendess has posted the program – complete with pictures taken by our members ). Although this year’s participants on their after-conference questionnaires enthusiastically praised the quality of the speakers and the beauty of the venue, what our members valued most was the opportunity to meet and mingle with each other. We are truly an organization made up of outstanding, interesting, unique individuals.
In addition to the intellectual and social aspects of the conference, Asilomar is also important to our Association because it is a major fund-raiser for our scholarship program. Our profits this year were almost $9000 – more than enough to fund two of our $4000 graduate scholarships. This money comes from the $100 per person registration fee; the part that isn’t used for expenses is totally tax-deductible. Although all the official bills are not yet in, it looks right now as if this year $84.17 of the $100 registration fee you made in 2005 for Asilomar 2006 is tax-deductible. (Please check the September newsletter for any correction to this sum.) And for those of you who were not able to attend and graciously donated your registration fees, the entire $100 per person registration fee may be deducted.
As many of you already know, after having been in charge of Asilomar for five years, I have “passed the torch” to others. We are very lucky that Jae and Pat Emenhiser, along with the Baronians, have agreed to take on the challenge of planning Asilomar 2007. Since our most successful presentations have been the direct result of your recommendations, I have forwarded this year’s post-conference questionnaires to them with your suggestions for next year’s programs and speakers. If you think of anything else, please contact the . And since I will be working closely with Jae and Pat, you can always contact me, too.
This year we were very fortunate to attract more first-time participants than ever before. To assure the continued success of our Asilomar conference, please pass the word along to others who might want to participate in this unique experience. Our best advertisement is “word of mouth” and the best place to pass the word is at our many Association activities. When you attend these events, please tell others of your positive Asilomar experience and encourage them to join us. Each individual who comes directly supports our scholarship program.
Friday, February 17, 2006
“The Ten Worst Things That Ever Happened to the Best Place on Earth”
After forty years of researching, writing and teaching the region’s history, Sandy Lydon has assembled his top ten list of calamitous events, their impact, and how the residents of the Monterey Bay Region overcame them - or didn’t. Although one might suppose that the Monterey Bay Region has enjoyed an orderly history marked by progress and civility, Sandy has – on the contrary – discovered that long before it was founded in 1850, the area we now call Monterey County was rife with tragedy and bad judgment. And once it was officially formed on February 18, 1850, Monterey County and its residents staggered through history running into things, tripping and falling, and acting foolishly.
In addition to corruption, malfeasance, and stupid decisions made by both public officials and private citizens, this extraordinarily beautiful area has also been the victim of nature. The April 18, 1906, earthquake that everyone associates with San Francisco, also claimed its victims in Monterey. And, although Monterey Bay’s natural beauty and salubrious climate lull us into believing that we are safe and secure, this area’s history is filled with floods, fires, earthquakes, droughts, storms, lightning strikes, shipwrecks, train wrecks, traffic accidents, gunfights, lynchings, and mass murders.
A graduate of Hollister High School, UC Davis, and the East-West Center in Honolulu, Sandy Lydon is historian emeritus at Cabrillo College, Aptos, where he has taught for 38 years. He has written and lectured widely on the history of the Monterey Bay Region and was the founding weather anchor at KCBA Fox 35. Twice selected by the readers of a local newspaper as Monterey County’s College Teacher of the Year, his lecture style has sometimes been described as “manic” and “scary.” These days he continues to lead people back and forth across the Pacific and is co-directing an international abalone festival to be held in Monterey at the end of April. His classes and trips can be found on his website: www.sandylydon.com.
Saturday, February 18, 2006
“Magnificent Monterey: From the Sea to the Vine”
Doug Meador of Ventana Winery
If you are familiar only with Napa and Sonoma as great wine producing counties, you are about to add to your wine education. Doug will speak about Monterey as an emerging wine district, his research and influence throughout the area, Ventana’s history and involvement, and the future for amazing quality wines in this “other wine region”.
J. Douglas (Doug) Meador is a Washington State transplant—arriving in the California wine industry in early 1972. Raised in an agricultural family in Washington, he was well indoctrinated in cattle, wheat, and—most specifically—apples and other tree fruits during a time of radical change in the world tree-fruit industry. His formal education was at the University of Washington in mathematics and econometrics. His next nearly seven years were spent as a naval officer and aviator, drawing two combat tours in Vietnam flying from aircraft carriers and exchange flying with the Marines and Air Force.
In early 1972, Mr. Meador was headed home to be "an apple baron" but was induced first to install about 2,500 acres of vineyards in Monterey County - and then "go home." He quickly became fascinated with the industry - primarily with the problems of cold climate viticulture and winemaking - and never left. He shortly thereafter acquired the property known since as "Ventana" and embarked on an over 30-year journey of research and exploration affecting world viticultural thought and practices in the process. Among the many areas of Mr. Meador's pioneering work are
* varietal identification and clonal isolation
* vine physiology with operational theory
* basal leaf removal
* vineyard design—close vine spacing and the vertical shoot system, as well as split-canopy trellising
* root-stock studies and "own roots" study
* low and no sulfur dioxide use in winemaking
* introduction of malo-lactic fermentation in white wines to American winemaking
* planting of America's first plantation of French barrel oak trees
Doug works with both American and foreign winegrowers in pursuit of viticulture excellence.
Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
“A Changing Sea of Cortez? – Visions of Steinbeck and Ricketts”
In 2004, Dr. William Gilly served as Director and Chief Scientist of the Sea of Cortez Expedition and Education Project, an 8-week journey throughout Mexico's Sea of Cortez that retraced the legendary 1940 trip made by writer John Steinbeck and marine biologist Ed Ricketts. As the 1940 team wrote, "We wanted to see everything our eyes would accommodate." By visiting the same sites at the same time of year, the 2004 team's goal was to see today's Sea of Cortez through their own eyes, as well as those of Steinbeck and Ricketts, and to document changes in this mythical place.
Dr. William Gilly has been at Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station since 1980. He unintentionally began his scientific training as a child, when he started getting off his school bus at random stops and exploring novel ways home. He continued more formally in Electrical Engineering at Princeton but wandered into sensory physiology and the nervous system during his junior year. That new interest led to graduate study in Physiology and Biophysics at Washington University (St. Louis) and Yale University. Although this training was carried out in medical schools, Gilly discovered the advantages of marine stations and invertebrates during summer courses at Friday Harbor Labs in Puget Sound and at the Marine Biological Laboratory on Cape Cod. During the latter he survived on a diet of squid-stuffed zucchini, which affected him deeply and led to his return to Woods Hole as a postdoctoral fellow (University of Pennsylvania) to study ion channel biophysics using the squid giant axon preparation.
Not surprisingly, Gilly came to Stanford largely because of the availability of squid. Monterey Bay has been the site of commercial squid fishing since the late 19th century, and that industry continues today with fishing boats operating within a few hundred yards of his lab at Hopkins Marine Station. But Hopkins has also been home to invertebrate zoologists and ecologists for an equally long time, and the presence of these local species turned out to be equally important. During Gilly’s 25 years of squid research, he has moved steadily from a strictly molecular-cellular-physiological level to an organismal-behavioral one, and this in turn has led to the ecological level. His current research is focused on the jumbo squid, Dosidicus gigas, in the Sea of Cortez and integrates oceanographic parameters, behavioral aspects of the squid, and sociological features that are relevant to the commercial fishery for this species.
Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
“Phi Beta Kappa: Constant Purpose, Renewed Vigor”
Those of you who read the November 2005 Wall Street Journal article about Phi Beta Kappa and were concerned about the issues it raised, now have the opportunity to interact with the expert on the subject, John Churchill, who is the Secretary (Chief Executive Officer) of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. In his presentation this evening, John will describe National’s thoughts about the place of Phi Beta Kappa in American higher education and in American life, how the conversations of three years ago (one of which was at Asilomar) fed into that thinking, where the Society has taken these ideas, and what Washington is planning.
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. He has had numerous articles published in his areas of scholarly expertise: philosophy (Wittgenstein, history of philosophy) and religious studies (philosophy of religion, history of Christianity, religion and literature). Before assuming his post with Phi Beta Kappa, John held many offices at Hendrix College (Conway, Arkansas), beginning with Chair, Philosophy Department, and ending as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College.
Sunday, February 19, 2006
Tide Pool Walk with Steve Webster
Meet on the back porch of the Phoebe A. Hearst Social Hall (the building in which the Front Desk in located). Our tide pool walk will take us to the beach and rocky shores just adjacent to the Asilomar Conference Center. Although we will have just a middlish tide (plus 1.4 feet), we should still be able to observe some of the mid-tide and high-tide habitats and critters living in our lush intertidal zone: limpets, barnacles, ochre stars, periwinkles, chitons, and a multitude of seaweeds, to name just a few.
(Please note: Dress warmly, and wear shoes that can get wet. If you plan to keep your feet dry, you will almost certainly fail! Some of the footing may be uneven and slippery, so a walking stick or cane is often a good addition.)
Now retired, Steve was a Senior Marine Biologist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where he also held the positions of Director of Education and Project Coordinator of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Project. In addition, he was a biology professor at San Jose State, and a master teacher and SCUBA instructor at the Northfield Mount Hermon Summer School in Massachusetts. He obtained his A.B., M.A.T., and Ph.D. all from Stanford. In his retirement, he volunteers for such worthy causes as the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Elkhorn Slough, and the Edward F. Rickets Underwater Park Advisory Committee, and is, among other things, a submarine pilot for Sustainable Seas Expeditions.
Sunday, 1:30 p.m.
“Computer Simulations of the Internal Dynamics of Planets and Stars”
Global 3D computer models have produced numerical simulations of convection and magnetic field generation in the liquid interiors of terrestrial planets, like the Earth; giant planets, like Saturn; and stars, like our sun.
Gary will present examples of such simulations and discuss what we have learned from them.
Gary develops global three-dimensional time-dependent computer models to study the structure and dynamics of the interiors of planets and stars. The first in this series of models was written in the 1980s to study the solar dynamo. A modified version of this model was used for pre-flight studies and post-flight analyses of a rotating fluid dynamics experiment flown aboard NASA Space Shuttles in 1985 and 1995. In his studies of geodynamics Gary has simulated global circulation and convection in the Earth's atmosphere, mantle and core. He has also simulated convection and magnetic field generation in the deep interiors of giant gas planets like Jupiter and Saturn.
In the 1990s, Gary produced dynamically-consistent computer simulations of the geodynamo, the mechanism in the Earth's fluid outer core that maintains the geomagnetic field. Gary and his graduate students are currently focused on the internal magneto hydrodynamics of giant planets and the sun, as well as working on three-dimensional computer simulations of volcanic eruptions.
Gary is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Marquette University with a B.S. in Physics and Mathematics and received his Ph.D. Physics from The University of Colorado. He currently is a Professor of Earth Sciences at UC Santa Cruz.
Sunday, 7:30 p.m.
“The Bach-Mozart-Beethoven Connection”
In this evening’s presentation, Grant will not discuss the music per se of these famous composers, but will talk instead about the cultural contexts out of which their music emerged, which includes the Baroque, the Enlightenment, and the Romantic periods.
Grant L. Voth holds a Ph.D. in English and spent most of his teaching career working in interdisciplinary studies. He is the winner of several awards for excellence in teaching and the author of more than thirty books and articles, ranging in subject from Shakespeare and Edward Gibbon to modern American fiction. He is Professor Emeritus from Monterey Peninsula College.
Monday, February 20, 2006
“Disease, Death, and Recovery of the Asilomar Forest”
Those of you who have been coming to Asilomar for years have noticed the great changes in the forest here. The stately Monterey Pines that make the grounds so lovely have been succumbing in droves to the dreaded pitch canker. In her presentation this morning, Connie will talk about this problem and what is being planned to restore the forest.
Connie, part Cherokee, majored in natural resources and minored in Native American Studies at Humboldt State. A ranger since 1988, she was hired before she finished her degree and has worked for parks along the Sonoma Coast, the Russian River, Malibu, Sycamore Canyon, Santa Cruz, and now Asilomar.
About the Asilomar Conference Center
Asilomar was designed by Julia Morgan, who also designed Hearst Castle
Read more about Julia Morgan
Photo Credit: Jud Goodrich, Rolf Beier and Ray Hendess
See more pictures here...