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McPherson College Hosts Important Statewide Science Meeting for First Time in 60 Years, Offers Free Lecture from Meteorite Expert

The last time McPherson College hosted the Kansas Academy of Science’s annual meeting in the 1950s, man had not walked on the moon, the structure of DNA was a cutting-edge discovery, and the computer mouse was still years away.

A lot has changed between then and now, with MC hosting the joint meeting of the KAS and the Kansas Entomological Society on campus, for only the second time in history. The meeting on April 1 and 2 is expected to bring about 135 academy and society members, and will also offer a free public lecture about meteorites on Friday evening.

Dr. Dustin Wilgers, assistant professor of biology, helped organize this year’s meeting. He expected the lecture, by Dr. Devin Schrader from the Center of Meteorite Studies at Arizona State University, will appeal to a wide audience.

“It’s one of those topics that piques a lot of interest,” Dr. Wilgers said. “Everybody has stargazed, taken a look up, and wondered what is going on out there.”

Dr. Schrader’s lecture will be the inaugural event for a new Nininger Lecture in science. Named after the former MC professor Dr. Harvey H. Nininger – known as the Father of Modern Meteoritics – the lecture will highlight sciences of all sorts.

Given that Nininger went on from MC to found the Center of Meteorite Studies in Arizona, having a scientist who benefits from that legacy is fitting.

“Meteorites: Past, Present, and Future” will be from 7:30-8:30 p.m., Friday, April 1 in Mingenback Theatre on the campus of McPherson College.

Dr. Wilgers said the KAS/KES meeting was a wonderful opportunity for the college because it will bring scientists at all levels in Kansas to McPherson and expose students to the kind of science that happening allow over the state. He is expecting 135 attendees and about 80 presentations of scientific research in both poster and verbal presentations. These presentations will range from scientists from undergraduate college students through to career professionals.

“At this meeting, our students will be presenting alongside the major research institutions in the state,” Dr. Wilgers said. “I think it’s exciting for a liberal arts school to be able to do that.”