International scientific research society honors Oswego chapter

lecture sceneThe national Sigma Xi committee on qualifications and membership has awarded SUNY Oswego’s chapter a certificate of excellence for 2005-06. The awards will be announced Nov. 3 at the organization’s annual meeting in Detroit.

Sigma Xi, the scientific research society, is one of the oldest and largest scientific organizations in the world and publisher of the award-winning magazine American Scientist. Its more than 500 chapters exist at colleges and universities, industrial research centers and government laboratories.

Certificates of excellence are awarded to chapters for overall outstanding activities during the year. “An average of seven chapters nationally are recognized by this award every year,” said Dr. Kestas Bendinskas, the Oswego chapter’s secretary, who will attend the meeting next month.

Last year, the seven chapters receiving the honor were the University of Delaware Chapter, Texas A&M University Chapter, The Ohio State University Chapter, U.S. Food and Drug Administration Chapter, New Orleans Chapter, Charleston Chapter and Southern Oregon Chapter.

Oswego’s chapter activities in 2005-06 included meetings, speakers and conferences. Students Katy Cook and Meredith Pritchard presented a poster at the national conference, won a yellow ribbon and met with other students doing research.

Bendinskas coordinated SUNY Oswego’s Science Today lecture series. Sigma Xi presented $100 awards and honorable mentions to five students for their presentations at SUNY Oswego’s Quest, a symposium dedicated to the scholarly and creative activity of faculty and students. At the annual chapter dinner the evening of Quest, the group initiated 14 new members, presented awards and listened to an invited speaker. Attendance at the dinner was up 22 percent over the previous year.

Bendinskas and James Mandel of the Cornell University Chapter organized a student Sigma Xi poster conference in April at Cornell for eight Northeastern chapters. Thirty-two posters were presented, and a Cornell scientist gave a lecture.

The Oswego officers for 2005-06 were Andrew Nelson of Rice Creek Field Station, president; Dr. Brooks B. Gump of the psychology department, vice president; Bendinskas of the chemistry department, secretary; and Dr. Alok Kumar of the physics department, treasurer. This year, Gump is president, Dr. Ampalavanar Nanthakumar of the mathematics department is vice president, and Dr. Shashi Kanbur of the physics department is treasurer, with Bendinskas continuing as secretary.

According to its Web site, Sigma Xi (Xi is pronounced “Zi” as in “xylophone”) was founded in 1886 to honor excellence in scientific investigation and encourage a sense of companionship and cooperation among researchers in all fields of science and engineering. Its programs and activities promote the health of the scientific enterprise and honor scientific achievement. The Greek letters “sigma” and “xi” form the acronym of the society’s motto, “Spoudon Xynones,” which translates as “Companions in Zealous Research.” Membership in Sigma Xi is by invitation.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Outstanding chapter—SUNY Oswego’s chapter of Sigma Xi is one of a handful nationwide to be honored for excellence this year. Sigma Xi honors chapters for their overall outstanding activities. One of Oswego’s was the college’s Science Today lecture series, coordinated by Dr. Kestas Bendinskas (center), introducing speaker Dr. Patrick Halpin (left) at a recent lecture.

(Posted: Oct 18, 2006)