Kentucky Academy of Science

Keynote and Symposium Speakers

Keynote presentation, Susan Marie Frontczak

11:45 Friday Nov 4, Strickler Auditorium (open to the U of L campus community)

“A Visit with Marie Curie”


7pm Friday Nov 4 at Kentucky Science Center (guest tickets for sale below)

“Science and Suds”

Marie Curie

About the Friday Keynote presentation

Susan Marie Frontczak

11:45 am, Strickler Auditorium

“A Visit with Marie Curie”

Likely the most famous woman scientist, Madame Marie Curie (née Maria Skłodowska) — changed the world in which we live through her discovery of radium and radioactivity. Through collaboration with the medical community the Curies discovered and established the first successful radiation treatments of cancer. Simply through her own passion and perseverance, Marie Curie opened the doors of science to women world wide.

This program honors a preeminent woman of science : Madame Curie was the first European woman to earn a doctorate in the sciences; the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize (for the discovery of radioactivity); the first woman to teach at the Sorbonne; and the first person to receive a second Nobel Prize (a feat not to be repeated for another 50 years). Audiences witness the origins of scientific discoveries we now take for granted. They re-live the remarkable collaboration between husband and wife, Pierre and Marie, companion scientists.

This program honors the ethic of scientific altruism. Einstein said Marie Curie was “the only person to be uncorrupted by fame.” In today’s age of patents and litigation, the audience learns that the Curies declined to patent their methods, refused to bend their discoveries toward personal financial gain. Marie insisted that to profit from the discovery of radium would be “contrary to the scientific spirit.”

This program honors the wife and mother, who felt more daunted by the chemistry of the kitchen than of the laboratory. As a single mother, Marie raised her two daughters from ages 16 months and 8 years, after the tragic death of her husband, Pierre. And it honors Manya’s Polish heritage — much neglected not only now, but in her own life, to her own dismay. This program brings to light many of Marie’s lesser-known contributions, both social and scientific — and the obstacles she faced along the way.

Marie Curie was, in turn, nervous and shy in public, obsessive about measurement, in denial of the dangers of working with radioactive materials, proud and possessive of her discoveries, yet generous to the extreme with the products of her work. Within her lifetime she saw the curative effects of radiation on cancer. Late in life she came to admit the dangers of working with radioactive materials. She died before the new understanding of the atom — initiated by her discoveries — produced the atomic bomb. Whether looking at Marie within her historical context or through the lens of a new millennium, this is a life that challenges our assumptions about what one person can achieve and the responsibilities of science.

About the Symposium at Kentucky Science Center

“Science and Suds”

Friday, 7pm

Speakers will share some of the secrets and challenges of beer-brewing, while we enjoy drafts of a new KAS – themed beer brewed for us by Against the Grain brewery. Guest tickets available here for $20:

Panelists will include:

Jerry Gnagy (Owner, Master Brewer, Against the Grain)

Adam Watson (Owner, CFO, Brewer, Against the Grain)

Scott Hand (Master Brewer, Monnik Beer Co.)

Mark Phipps (Technical Director, Alltech Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.)

Gary Spedding (Operating Owner, Brewing & Distilling Analytical Services)

Speaker Bios

Hatched from a silicon-based stone on the planet Phaart in the faraway Jurquad Nebula, Jerry Gnagy made his way to our Earth in the wake of the Great Intergalactic Snot Rocket of ’64. Like some sort of demented Kal-El, he was raised by aliens and discovered at an early age that he was not quite like the other kids. He has no super powers per se, but he is highly skilled in the use of profanity and solenoid valves, particularly in conjunction with one another.

He probably doesn’t like you, but you shouldn’t take that personally. His deep space travels ruined the part of Jerry’s brain that lets him like people. If you happen to see him lurking about, just give him the traditional salutation of his people: “Byonr Srool!”

Adam Watson has always been here. You may not have seen him, but he was here. After watching the birth of the Universe, he decided to gain an education in theatre, mathematics, physics, and law. Uninterested in sticking with any of those as professions, he went back to his roots and learned magic. As a natural offshoot of the mystic arts, he learned beer, which is very interesting. If you find yourself feeling a little better every time you walk in to AtG, it is probably because of the protective spell being cast over the area. Don’t worry, it’s complimentary.

In his free time, Adam listens to epic fantasy metal and plays a variety of tabletop RPGs. He occasionally foments revolution, drank his first beer when the world was young, and may or may not be moderately skilled in the art of poi. He is also really good at NBA Jams.

Mark Phipps is a biochemist with more than 42 years of experience and intensive training in brewing and fermentation technology. He began his brewing career in 1973 with Hudepohl-Schoenling in Cincinnati, Ohio, eventually becoming master brewer in 1985. He joined Alltech in 1990, where he served in the Alcohol Division as director of alcohol operations, specializing in brewing and distillation technologies. Phipps worked for a number of years in a consulting role with Enerfab, Inc., designing and building brewery process systems, and later working on beer filtration and stabilization specialties with the PQ Corporation. For the last 13 years, he has held a number of roles in Alltech Europe, primarily in the areas of fermentation, yeast production, operations development and product technology with a focus in Eastern Europe. In 2013, he rejoined the Alltech North American team as technical director for operations of Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co.

Gary Spedding–  With a Ph.D in Biochemistry from England, and following on from postdoctoral positions in Canada and the US, Gary Spedding implemented the laboratory sections and then taught the Biochemistry curriculum in the Chemistry Dept. at Butler University in Indianapolis for 7 years. He then joined the Seibel Institute of Technology in Chicago (the oldest Brewing School in the US) in 1999 as Laboratory Director and then, following a shake-out in the industry, joined Alltech Inc., in KY in 2000 in a similar capacity and adding spirits testing to his experience. In 2002-3 he started the independent business: Brewing & Distilling Analytical Services, LLC (BDAS, LLC) in order to take better care of brewing and distilling clients and their analytical needs. Such services were growing scare and increasingly unreliable at the time. The BDAS, LLC laboratory now offers full and unbiased analytical services (including a Sensory panel) to brewers, distillers and enologists. The business has grown to employ four scientists on a full time basis and has occasional interns on board and involved in various capacities including doing research. Spedding has judged at most of the GABF (annual) and World Beer Cup (biannual) events over the past 16 years and has written several papers, book chapters, and given lectures on many aspects of brewing and distilling science. He has taught at the American Brewers Guild in VT and, more recently, presented some guest lectures in Fermentation Sciences at Eastern Kentucky University.

Scott Hand (Master Brewer, Monnik Beer Co.) started homebrewing in 1992 and eventually became president of the Lexington based Brewers Of Central Kentucky homebrewing club.

He is a BJCP certified beer judge earning the rank of National. He has been sensory trained by Dr. Gary Spedding and spent several years doing sensory panel work for Brewing and Distilling Analytical Services (BDAS).  Scott was a brewer for Alltech from 2010 to 2015. He is now head Brewer for Monnik Beer Co. (2015-present).