Category Archives: Sigma Xi

General news and commentary on the events of Sigma Xi

Nordic Chapter Conference Oslo

Flag of NorwayFlag of DenmarkFlag of SwedenFlag of FinlandFlag of Iceland

On 30 May 2012 the Nordic Chapter of Sigma Xi held its Third Annual Meeting and Research Conference in Oslo, Norway. The event was co-sponsored by the Centre of Mathematics for Applications, a Centre of Excellence of the Norwegian Research Council, and the University of Oslo, and took place on the Blindern campus of the University of Oslo in in the house of Niels Henrik Abel, named for the late, great, early 19th Century Norwegian mathematician. Continue reading

Sigma Xi Election

125th Anniversary Meeting

First the disappointing news: my close friend Antonio Pita and I have both lost our respective elections, he for President, and I for Director of the Canadian/International Constituency Group. Prevailing were Father Thomas Stephen Acker, S.J., former President of Wheeling (West Virginia) Jesuit University and Dr. Robin Moore-Orr, an Australian living and working in Canada. Both winners are highly respected scientists. Fr. Acker is just as well regarded as an academic administrator by reputation. Personally I know Dr. Orr, and note her as a most gracious lady. These two will represent their constituencies admirably, and have my full support. Continue reading

Sigma Xi Annual Meeting

125th Anniversary Meeting

As I write I have just returned from the Sigma Xi Annual Meeting in Raleigh, North Carolina. This meeting celebrated the 125th anniversary of the Society, and carried the theme “The Responsible Researcher: Conscience and Collaboration.” Several plenary and breakout sessions covered the many aspects of integrity in research, echoing the foundational principle of the society — honor in professional conduct.

Of the several awards and prizes presented at the Meeting was the John C. McGovern Science and Society Award to Kathryn Sullivan, the William Proctor Prize for Scientific Achievement to Supriyo Datta, the Walston Chubb Award for Innovation to Casimer DeCusatis, and the Young Investigator Award to Teenie Matlock. All were highly deserving and appreciated by the assembled delegates. Continue reading

Sigma Xi Innovation

Sigma Xi

Here is a proposal I have for Sigma Xi. We form a separate profit-seeking corporation with the dues-paying members as shareholders. Call it something like Sigma Xi Innovation (SXI). The mission of SXI would be to provide guidance to its shareholders in the development of ideas from the STEM group of disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) to successful commercial products and services. SXI would provide, through its qualified experts/shareholders, staff, and outside-contracted persons — all the necessary counsel to complete the transition from nascent idea to going concern. Continue reading

Antonio Pita for Sigma Xi President

Sigma Xi

This is my endorsement of the candidacy of Antonio Pita for President of Sigma Xi, and I urge you to vote for him. Antonio, who is a close friend and has been my mentor within Sigma Xi, is best qualified for this position, one of the most visible and influential in the scientific enterprise.

First of all, Antonio is a front rank engineer and scientist. Within this year he has been granted patents on an industrial process to manufacture glass free of bubbles. This is an astounding achievement, to improve a process which has been with humankind since pre-history. Continue reading

Sigma Xi Double Header

Sigma Xi

On the 23rd and 24th of May Sigma Xi will hold separate, but coordinated, conferences in Espoo (Helsinki), Finland, at Aalto University. On the 23rd the Nordic Chapter will host its Second Annual Meeting and Research Conference, and on the 24th the European proto-Region will host its First Annual Meeting and Research Conference. Participants in the former are automatically included in the latter, and all those attending the European events are invited to join the Nordic Conference. Sigma Xi President Joseph Whittaker will be with us, and will deliver the keynote addresses at both events. Continue reading

Sigma Xi Annual Meeting 2010, Raleigh NC

Sigma Xi

I am back from the Annual Meeting of the Society in Raleigh, North Carolina, 11–14 November. I went two days early on Tuesday to have some time to shake the jet lag, and on Wednesday morning, the 10th, had the good fortune to have breakfast with Executive Director Jerry Baker during which we discussed current developments with the ResearchGate connection and the coming push to international expansion in chapters and members. Jerry was about to attend an all-day Board meeting, and I was simply looking forward to walking a bit around town and enjoying the nice day. It was 22°C (72°F) and sunny, a marked departure from Oslo, which was experiencing cold and snow. Raleigh is the capital city of North Carolina, yet is small by the standards of the big industrial cities up north, such as Chicago where I am from. The main street, Fayetteville, is easily negotiable north to south in 10 minutes, or 15 if on a stroll. At the north end is the state capitol, and along the street are shops, restaurants, banks, and the usual sort of establishments one finds in city centers. Continue reading

ResearchGate launch a big success —


Dear members of Sigma Xi on ResearchGate,

I am very pleased to report that the launch of our dedicated Subcommunity on ResearchGate went smoothly, beyond any hopes and dreams I may have had. Many thanks to all of you for participating in this successful outcome, and here’s wishing you a most productive experience networking with our new site. As of this time we have 31,137 members in our Subcommunity, the largest by far of all groups on ResearchGate. However — and this is a good part for us — ResearchGate has over 600,000 participating scientists and engineers overall registered, and we now have direct access to all of them. For the while, though, and maybe permanently, I am restricting access of the outsiders from ResearchGate into our Sigma Xi Subcommunity in order to limit extraneous and distracting communications, and to reserve our exclusivity. A strong attracting feature for new members of Sigma Xi is participation in our Subcommunity, which is offered as a benefit of membership. As our Society accelerates our project to expand the chapter and membership base, this will be an important chip to play. Continue reading

New content on the site: RSS feed of Science in the News


With my new web site comes an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed of Science in the News, a subscription service from Sigma Xi. By visiting the feed you will get all the topical news from the world of science in easy-to-read text aimed at a general scientific audience. If you subscribe yourself to the service (which is free) you will have email messages of this material delivered to your mailbox once a week (a daily service with more content is also available.) However, if you don’t need this news on a regular basis, but only want to visit once in awhile on your own schedule, then coming to my site is a better idea. You don’t get your mailbox cluttered with material you don’t intend to read, and the convenience is still there with just a click or two. For all practical purposes Science in the News is in the ‘cloud’ for you to visit any time you want. Continue reading

Up and running with ResearchGate!


Sigma Xi is now up and running on ResearchGate, a project of your Nordic Chapter. The early response has been absolutely superb, thanks to all who worked on the effort, from officers and directors of the Society, enthusiastic staff in Research Triangle Park, the principals of ResearchGate, and not the least, the scientists and engineers of Sigma Xi who joined our Subcommunity on the site and began productive networking immediately. Continue reading