By Bill May
Journal Record Staff Reporter
The best way to interest young students in science is to tell
them about exciting projects under way in research labs and how
this can enrich society and improve lives.
That's the reasoning of three researchers who came to Oklahoma
City for the 35th Frontiers of Science Foundation. The focus of
the 1993 symposium, held at the Oklahoma City Civic Center, was
Each year since 1958 the foundation has sponsored a symposium
featuring top scientists within a given field to which high
school students from all over the state are invited. About 700
students from schools in all parts of the state attended the 1993
symposium, according to President Robert Abernathy.
The 1994 symposium is shaping up to feature technology and how
it's used today, giving a history of how technology has evolved
over the years, Abernathy said. Speakers and dates have not been
Idea behind the symposium, according to Chairman Rodman
Frates, is to show students the importance of science and how
exciting it can be.
All three of the 1993 speakers agreed with that assessment.
"If I can reach just one youngster, create that spark which
will cause that person to want to pursue science, it's been worth
it," said Dr. Ronald Kline, a pediatric hemotologist-oncologist
and bone marrow transplant physician at Sunrise Children's
Hospital in Las Vegas. "I've always been interested in kids and
helping ease their pain. I don't like to see kids in pain, so
naturally I've specialized in pediatric ontology (the study and
treatment of childhood cancer)."
Hearing a speaker at a similar symposium and listening to his
professors in college is what convinced Dr. Richard E. Myers of
Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., to go into science.
Today, Myers is an associate professor of genetics and director
of the Human Genome Mapping Center at Stanford.
That center is in the process of identifying the 100,000 genes
which make up all living organisms. Scientists so far have
identified only about 5,000 genes. "As you can see, we've still
got a lot of work ahead of us," Myers said.
"Besides, they (students) need to start to understand all this
stuff we're doing and how it affects all of us," he said. "I'm
still trying to understand it. I just hope the students do, so
they can get a better idea of the stuff scientists do for a
Using prosthetics as props show the students exactly how
science can improve the quality of life for people, something
which attracts young people, said John A. Sabolich, president and
clinical director of Sabolich Prosthetic and Research Center,
4301 N. Classen Blvd. in Oklahoma City.
"A lot of young engineering students really don't consider
this field exists until they are introduced to it," Sabolich
While Myers is engaged in a long-term pure research project,
both Kline and Sabolich are involved in applied research which is
used daily, they said.
As an example, Kline said, bone marrow transplantation is a
relatively young science, the first successful such transplant
was made in 1968 and has progressed "remarkably since then."
"I've read a lot about Nobel (prize) winners of the 1950s and
some of the things which won back then seem crude to us today,"
he said. …