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...a club for people who never stop learning...

The Scientech Club provides a forum for weekly presentations and discussions in the fields of science and technology and other topics for the enlightenment of its membership.

Regular, one-hour Meetings are, with the exception of holidays, held every Monday at noon at The Northside Knights of Columbus, 2100 East 71st Street, Indianapolis. Club Members, as well as the general public, may attend our Regular Meetings for a nominal contribution to pay for the facility. For those who wish, a buffet lunch may be enjoyed before the meeting. Occasionally, instead of a presentation, members and their guests may take a tour to a place of interest, such as a plant or historical site.

The Scientech Club is associated with an outstanding local charitable Foundation, The Scientech Club Foundation, established by Scientech members to promote science education. Information about the foundation may be found under the heading Foundations above.

Club News ! !


Griffith Trip

A small group of Scientech members visited the pharmaceutical museum in Griffith, IN, on November 13. The museum was established by John and Paul Schreiner, brothers of Dr. Richard Schreiner, one of our members. It was an excellent tour of what must be the most comprehensive and exclusive museum of its type in the entire MidWest. We spent nearly 3 hours with the Schreiner Brothers who gave us a lively and extremely interesting tour. Scientech attendees included Dr. Richard Schreiner, Trudy Doyle, Herb Parks, Mary Ann Cates, and John Rathman.

See the Club News page for information about new members of Scientech who have joined the club since the last Roster was printed.


Congratulations to club member Jim Baize who just received a Certificate of Honor from the Indiana Military Veterans Hall of Fame, Class of 2014, for his military service achievements during the battle for Iwo Jima in World War II. Club members may remember his inspiring talk on Hell Revisited, A Return to Iwo Jima After 70 Years presented in April, 2012.

Vol 91 No 47 - December 15, 2014

What Killed Your Ancestors

Presented By: James C. Dillon, MD, Emeritus, IU School of Medicine, club member


Dr. Jim Dillon

Jim is a longtime member of the Scientech Club as well as a past club president. Pre-retirement he was an excellent cardiologist. He now spends his time on various projects including medical history, and, along with his wife, has become an excellent genealogist. In fact, Jim stated that he and his wife would be willing to teach genealogy to up to 10 individuals who were interested in doing genealogy and who were willing to donate at least $100 each to the Scientech Club Foundation.

Jim’s talk began with the discussion of stated causes of death in the 18th and 19th centuries. These were accidents, decaying vegetation in swamps (miasma), epidemics, poor sanitation, insects and vermin and medical ignorance.

Miasma included infectious diseases, many of which were and are carried by insects with and without animal reservoirs. These include Dengue fever (mosquito vector), Malaria (mosquito vector), Yellow Fever (mosquito vector), Typhus (louse vector), and Typhoid Fever (contaminated water supplies). Key improvements have been in the public health arena and include water filtration in 1882, septic tank introduction in US in 1885, and water chlorination and treatment in 1908. In 1928, sulfa & penicillin were introduced and have had a major impact on infectious diseases. The names of many of these diseases have varied over time and with various places. For example, yellow fever has been called American plague, bronze John, Dock fever or yellow Jack. Typhoid Fever has been called billious fever, enteric fever and swamp fever. Typhoid fever may have been the cause of the Jamestown collapse. Typhus may have been the final cause of death for many of the victims of Irish potato famine. Influenza, formerly called “grippe,” has killed millions over the years, as has the plague with the flea vector and the rat reservoir.

Tuberculosis has been a big killer and has been known as consumption, lung fever, King’s evil, lung sickness, Potts disease (spine infection) and scrofula (lymph nodes of the neck). The talk then turned to tracking down the diseases that killed your relatives, and how to do that with death certificates, census records, tombstones, obituaries etc. Thanks to Jim for this most interesting talk.

Notes by Bill Elliott