Clubs Vermillion Rotary Club
President Missy Mayfield called us to order Aug. 28 for our weekly lunch at the Silver Dollar. Caio Vayega, our visiting Rotary exchange student who will be attending Vermillion High School this year, joined us. Bob Grossman's family is hosting him currently. Caio comes from Sao Paulo, Brazil, a slightly larger city than our little town on the prairie. Bill Richardson announced an upcoming (Sept. 24) Farber Center Program focusing on the Korean War Generation with guest speakers including George Day and Bob Kerrey, both Congressional Medal of Honor holders. Dean Clark called our attention to the just launched "Pick One" campaign urging those walking along the streets of Vermillion to pick up one bit of litter as they walk along. Now we just have to get people walking instead of driving everywhere.
Our program today was presented by Professor Chris Keating of the USD Physics Department. Through a timely grant application, Keating along with Professor John Banasiak of Fine Arts recently procured a rather powerful laser from the Los Alamos Labs. It is now sitting on a very specially designed table somewhere on the USD campus. (Enemy spies looking to steal it and sell it to Dr. No will have to find out where it is without the help of Rotary International.) And you don't want to mess with it unless you really know what you're doing, about which more shortly.
Among the many things that we did not know about lasers we learned that the word, "laser" is actually a nicely pronounceable acronym referring to "Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation." To produce the kind of concentrated light that laser beams are you simply build an apparatus within which the atoms of some substance, helium will do, are bombarded from an energy source that gets the outer ring on their electrons excited enough to step up a quantum level or two in which excited state these atoms, or at least their outer electrons, are really anxious to relax a bit and emit a discrete bundle of energy in the process.
If you temporarily contain the emitted energy (we'll call them photons) within a space where other excited, unstable, (probably helium) atoms are hanging out, you will set off a chain reaction or avalanche in which the other excited atoms get their release through similar photon emissions and now you have a helluva lot of photons rushing around looking for a way to get out. So you open up a "door" of sorts that only lets them get out "single file," sort of.
That way all the energy/light is moving in a very straight line and it is, moreover, the same wave length because, as quantum theory explains, these discharged helium (or whatever) atoms will reduce their excitement at discrete intervals. Then this released light goes out and does wonderful things for us like read our CDs or make us a lot less near-sighted or ring up the prices of our groceries.
The machine that Professors Keating and Banasiak got for USD is rather powerful. Since Keating mentioned metal (and other materials) cutting as one of the applications of laser technology, someone asked what would happen if you waved your hand at the business end of this newly acquired machine. Because the machine packs an approximately 38,000 watts punch, Keating suggested that you might not get your hand back with such a careless wave.
This prompted further anxious questions about how many times we could pass through check out counters before we lost a finger or two on which point Keating gave us comforting information that such weak machines pose little danger, even to shop-till-you-drop types. Check out counter laser machines are probably only dangerous to presidential candidates who are suspected of being too rich to have ever had to go shopping for themselves. Ask George Sr.
Senior Citizens Center
The regular Wednesday afternoon Aug. 22 card party at the center had 38 players of which 17 played bridge, 17 pitch and four pinochle.
Bridge winners were Maurice Erickson, high; Adeline Isaacson, second; Monica Ballard, third; Eve Marshall, blind bogey, and Russ Heikes, low.
Refreshments were furnished by Luella Matson, Monica Ballard and Veronica Heimes.
Starting at 1 p.m., everyone is welcome to join us. No reservation is needed.
At the last Monday of the month card party at the Senior Citizens Center Aug. 27, eight played pitch, six pinochle and eight bridge.
Bridge prize winners were Midge Carlson, high; Shirley Riehle, second, and Russ Heikes, low.
Refreshments were furnished by Florence Wagner, Blanche Gregoire and Anna Lawrensen.
Door prize drawings went to Erna Frahm. Other drawings went to Lois Erickson, Nola Teslau and Sig Nissen.
American Legion and Auxiliary
The American Legion and Auxiliary will meet Sept. 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the Senior Citizens Center. High school students who attended Boys State and Girls State will be present to talk about their experiences at the state meetings in Aberdeen and Brookings. The American Legion was assisted in the funding for Boys Staters by Masonic Incense Lodge #2, Lions Club, Civic Council, Rotary Club and Eagles. The American Legion Auxiliary was assisted in funding for the Girls Staters by Incense Lodge #2, Lions Club, Civic Council and Rotary Club.
Parents and representatives of sponsoring organizations are invited to attend this meeting. Refreshments will be served after this meeting.