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Sesquicentennial project honors 150 years of Kansas science
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Jack Kilby

What state gave the world an aviation pioneer, the co-developer of Google Earth, the Nobel prizewinning inventor of the microchip and a member of a Nobel prizewinning panel on climate change? Kansas.

The Science in Kansas: 150 years and Counting sesquicentennial project is launching this month with the first 12 Kansas scientists to be honored on collectible cards available through the Ad Astra Kansas Initiative website. Among them is one-time Great Bend resident Jack Kilby, whose work lead to the invention of the integrated circuit.

"The goals of this educational project are to inspire Kansas youth to go into STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields and to recognize the importance of science in Kansas’ past, present and future," says Jeanette Steinert, project coordinator with the Ad Astra Kansas Initiative, the sponsoring organization. "People are going to be surprised at all the scientific accomplishments of Kansas men and women," she says.

This project, which features 150 Kansas scientists, engineers and inventors, both past and present, is in the form of trading cards that can be downloaded from the Ad Astra Kansas Initiative website throughout 2011. Each month new cards will be added to the site until the full collection of 150 is complete.

Scientists featured for January 2011 and their Kansas connections and field are:

Charles Angell, Plains—inventor

Hamilton Perkins Cady, University of Kansas—chemistry

Clyde Cessna, Wichita—aviation pioneer

William Coleman, Wichita—inventor

David Fairchild, Kansas State University—botany

Christopher Ibeh, Pittsburg State University—chemical engineering

Olga Koper, Manhattan—chemistry

Brian McClendon, Lawrence—engineering

Charles Rice, Kansas State University—agronomy

Jack St. Clair Kilby, Great Bend—electrical engineering

Walter Sutton, Russell—KU Medical Center surgeon and geneticist

Judy Wu, University of Kansas—physics and astronomy

The Ad Astra Kansas Initiative is a 10-year old grass-roots movement with the purpose of celebrating science in Kansas, especially hi-tech / space tech research, development and commercialization; also, with the purpose of reminding Kansans that the state motto, ad astra per aspera, is as vital, current and operative in Kansas today as it was 150 years ago.