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Storm chaser Davies to speak at Jack Kilby Science Day

POSTED October 21, 2011 5:50 p.m.





Storm chaser and research meteorologist Jon Davies will address more than 500 high school juniors and seniors on Tuesday morning, and a similar number of middle school students in the afternoon, during Barton Community College’s Eighth Annual Jack Kilby Science Day.

For the juniors and seniors, the day will run from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., with Davies speaking at 9 a.m. in the Fine Arts Auditorium. The day will continue with science-themed contests and learning stations, and a technology expo. The middle school students will arrive in the afternoon for the speaker’s repeat presentation.

A native of Pratt, Davies’ love for observing severe weather started with his first tornado sighting at the early age of 9 years old. He recalls watching the clouds ominously moving in opposite directions, and can visualize how the tail of the tornado seemed to bob up and down while he watched from the comfort of his backyard as the twister moved past his hometown. From that point on, Davies was hooked.

"Growing up out in the plains, you see all kinds of weather every day," he said. "I remember growing up, how fascinating it was to watch storms build, to see one cloud and watch it turn into a mountainous thunderhead."

His 30 years of experience will serve him well as the keynote speaker. The storm-chasing meteorologist has worked for The Weather Channel in Atlanta, KSNW-TV, Weatherdata Inc. and Wichita State University.

"There are different types of storm chasers, and there is a lot of responsibility involved," he said of the content of his presentation. "We’ll talk about weather safety and see some tornado videos."

In addition to Davies’ presentation on his hobby of storm chasing, participants in Jack Kilby Science Day have opportunities to explore science and technology in numerous sessions that will kindle and reinforce in students an enthusiasm for science and related careers, sponsors said. The event is sponsored by BCC and funded in part by Farmers Bank and Trust and Kiwanis Club of Great Bend.

BCC Dean of Academics Richard Abel said the science and math bowl competitions have become a staple to the participants, with 16 teams of three vying for the top spot in the math bowl and more than half a dozen teams competing in the science bowl.

Jack Kilby Science Day had a modest start eight years ago with 100 students. It has grown to the momentous event it is today in the last few years.

The secret to the event’s success, Abel said, is in the way science and math are conveyed to its participants.

"It puts a humanistic approach to science and math," he said. "We keep doing it because people keep coming. We have plenty of participation from all involved.


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