The Science Museum of Long Island held its annual membership meeting on Oct. 15 at its Leeds Pond Preserve facility. President Hildur Palsdottir, PhD celebrated the many changes taking place at the Science Museum and proudly announced to all, “check us out.”
Palsdottir then introduced Dr. Kenneth Kamler, the evening’s keynote speaker. His talk,
“Survival on Mt. Everest,” described his first-hand experience as the only medical doctor on the ill-fated 1996 expedition to summit Mt. Everest, the earth’s highest mountain. The expedition was Dr. Kamler’s fourth of six expeditions, but was the most challenging, calling him to dig deeply into his healing skills to save individuals exposed to some of the most extreme environmental conditions. It was an amazing story of human endurance and individual bravery.
Kamler is known for his skills in “extreme emergency medicine.” He has been a consultant to National Geographic and NASA, and has appeared as a medical expert on numerous TV shows, including The Today Show, Larry King, Nightline, 20/20 and Oprah. In the Q and A session that followed his talk, Kamler was asked how he became involved in extreme medicine. He had wanted to become a mountain climber as a teenager after reading Annapurna: The First Conquest of an 8,000-Meter Peak by Maurice Herzog but thought, “this was not in the cards for a young kid from the Bronx.” While an orthopedic resident, he chanced to work on a patient injured during a climb in New Hampshire. Impressed by the young doctor, the patient provided him the name of a mountain climbing instructor. After his first lesson, Kamler was hooked. Before long, he was invited to join climbing expeditions, “more for my skills as a trauma doctor than my climbing prowess.” As his reputation spread, he was soon invited to join the Explorers Club and the rest is history.
You can listen to Kamler’s TED Talk at www.ted.com/talks/ken_kamler_medical_miracle_on_everest#t-45293 or read his books, Doctor on Everest: Emergency Medicine at the Top of the World: A Personal Account Including the 1996 Disaster and Surviving the Extremes: What Happens to the Body and Mind at the Limits of Human Endurance.
Following Kamler’s talk, the membership held a brief business meeting during which a revision of the Science Museum’s Bylaws was approved and members of the board of trustees were elected.
The Science Museum’s mission is to stimulate and nurture children’s interest in science and to elevate the level of science literacy for people of all ages. If you want to become part of this effort, you are invited to visit the Leeds Pond Preserve, become a member, follow us on Facebook and Instagram and check out their website for upcoming events and workshops at www.SMLI.org.
—Submitted by Corinne A. Michels, PhD, distinguished professor emeritus at Queens College