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Indiana University Bloomington

News & Activities » Special alumni panel celebrating 50th anniversary

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Alumni PanelTo coincide with the opening of the Integrated HPS3 conference in Bloomington on 23 September 2010, the Department hosted a special alumni panel celebrating its 50th anniversary. The panel was chaired by Jim Capshew, who expressed appreciation for the Department founders, N. R. Hanson and Ed Grant (who was in the audience), and the institutional midwife, IU President Herman B Wells. After Department Chair Nico Bertoloni Meli provided a warm welcome to the attendees, Fred Churchill shared his thoughts on the human history of IU HPSC reaching back to the mid 1960s. At turns funny and serious, Churchill displayed his abiding affection for this "social unit" and its environs in Goodbody Hall.

The panelists were instructed to reflect on the experience and benefits of graduate education in an interdisciplinary department. Mary Domski (PhD '03), University of New Mexico, talked of how she was able to pursue HOPOS within a pluralistic department. Melinda Fagan's (PhD '07) , Rice University, was able to express her love for biology, "but at a distance," through the "H+P+S" continuum that she found at IU. Similar themes of synergy and opportunity were echoed by Mark Borrello (PhD '02), University of Minnesota. Alice Dreger (PhD '95), Northwestern University, gave a vivid recounting of her IU experiences as an autobiographical turning point. Reporting that his "nostalgic juices" were flowing, Eric Winsberg (PhD '99), University of South Florida, recalls the lasting impact of taking the study of science really seriously. Karen Rader (PhD '95), Virginia Commonwealth University, reflected that the training she got was both grounded in tradition AND flexible and experimental, humble about what is known AND ambitious to know more.

Audience members, including many Departmental alumni, joined in the lively discussion. Joe Tatarewicz (PhD '84), University of Maryland-Baltimore County, told of the tremendous esprit de corps shared by students and faculty in the Department in the late 1970s and 80s. Recalling individualized support for each student, Jane Maienschein (PhD '78), Arizona State University, invoked the recently departed Maggie Osler (PhD '68), University of Calgary, who once "suggested that it was the "Shoo Fly Pie" from Ladyman's Café downtown that affected the way we think." Ladyman's is out of business, but IU HPSC is still going strong after 50 years.