News of Note

Student-Teacher Recognition Dinner Meeting

Thursday, April 20, 2023


Heritage Palms Golf and Country Club

10420 Washingtonia Palm Way

Fort Myers, FL  39966

Arrive early! Students will be ready to present their Science Fair boards at 5:00 p.m., Cash bar 5:00 p.m./Dinner begins at 6:00 p.m. 

Reservations are required. Pay by credit card using the link or QR code below (preferred) or send a check for $32 per person to Treasurer, Scientists’ Society of SW Florida, 2808 SW 45th Street, Cape Coral, FL 33914.

Reservation Deadline:

Sunday, April 16

Menu: Pasta Buffet Spaghetti & Marinara, Meatballs, Chicken Alfredo, Broccoli, Caesar Salad, Garlic Bread, Cannolis served Family Style.

Directions: Use main entrance off 6 Mile Cypress Parkway.


Behind the Veils of Dust and Time: Science with the James Webb Space Telescope

Dr. Derek Buzasi, FGCU Whitaker Eminent Scholar, Florida Gulf Coast University

Launched in December 2022, the James Webb Space Telescope is NASA's newest window on the heavens and is the largest and most complex astronomical observatory ever put into space. He will begin by describing the telescope itself, its instruments and capabilities, launch and deployment, and then discuss some science highlights from the first months of science operations, with examples chosen from science of the early universe, galaxy evolution, and stellar and exoplanet studies.

Derek received his undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Chicago and his Ph.D. in astronomy from Penn State University. He served for 10 years as Professor of Physics at the US Air Force Academy. Derek has published more than 120 papers and has also worked on a variety of major instrument teams including Detector Scientist for the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph, part of the Hubble Space telescope's most recent upgrade, and principal investigator for the Wide Field Infrared Explorer satellite. He currently serves on the science team for NASA's planet finding Kepler mission.

His direct research interests include almost everything having to do with stars. He began by studying various aspects of stellar and solar activity such as spots, flares and winds. More recently he has moved from studying stellar atmospheres and environments to studying stellar interiors and convection using asteroseismology.  Derek also works on computer modeling, particularly of nonlinear systems, and is coauthor of the chapter on computational astrophysics in the CRC Computer Science Handbook He is a reserve Navy Engineering Duty Officer with the rank of Commander. In his free time, he enjoys sailing swimming and reading along with just hanging out with his wife Heather and son Grant.

Credit card payment link

Link for PayPal and credit card payments:

2023-2024 Officers and Directors


                President                        Mr. Bruce George

                Vice-President               Mr. Frank Dengler

                Secretary-Treasurer      Mr. Herb Schneider


Directors (Board responsibilities in parentheses):

                Mr. Lester Bennington

                Mrs. Jacquelin Collins

                Dr. Richard Devlin (Nominating Committee Chair)

           Mrs. Susan Fay (Meeting Coordinator)

                Mr. Alex Ilori (Field Trip Coordinator)

                Mr. Renan Mota (Membership Chair)

                Mr. Dave Sampson (Science Fair Coordinator and Nominating Committee)

           Mrs. Trudy Sampson (Scholarship Chair)


       Note: Emeritus Directors (non-voting) are Ms. Colleen Wheeler, Mr. Chuck Fuechsel, Dr. Howard Harrison, Dr. Martin Hudis, Dr. Frank Palaia and Mr. John Tallman.

Dinner Meetings and Field Trips

The Society meets seven times a season from October through April to hear a technical presentation, socialize over dinner and have stimulating conversations.  The technical speakers are invited from industry, universities and government agencies. Field trips are scheduled to visit businesses and facilities engaged in science and technology. Click on "Programs" above for the current schedule.

Scholarships and Grants

We provide support for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) camps for Lee County students and scholarships for their participation. We grant scholarships for outstanding high school seniors who will pursue STEM majors in college, based upon recommendations by their science teachers. We currently are providing $200 grants to science teachers to help them purchase the supplies and equipment they need to effectively teach their students. We fund these programs through contributions by our members and other generous individuals and foundations. Click on "Scholarships and Grants" above for more information.

Science Fairs

Our members serve as judges for Lee County school science fairs and the annual Regional Science Fair. Participating as a judge is open to all members. Being able to interact with inquisitive young people and encourage them in their interest in science is an extremely rewarding experience for our members and the students. Click on "Science Fair Judging" above for more information and our current judging schedule.