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K-State Today

April 7, 2023

Jeffrey Toney to present 'Why Science Matters: A Possible Cure to a Pandemic of Skepticism and Confusion'

Submitted by Martha Mather

The Kansas State University Chapter of Sigma Xi will host a public lecture and discussion by Jeffrey Toney, visiting professor in the department of linguistics and philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and professor emeritus at Kean University. 

Toney will present "Why Science Matters: A Possible Cure to a Pandemic of Skepticism and Confusion," at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 12, via Zoom. Register by April 10. A Zoom link will be sent to all who register.

The public lecture and discussion is co-sponsored by the Manhattan Branch of the American Association of University Women, or AAUW, and Sunset Zoo. All interested members of the Manhattan community are encouraged to attend.

Toney has extensive experience as a scientist within the university environment. Toney obtained a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Virginia and a master's and doctorate in chemistry from Northwestern University. He was a postdoctoral fellow in the department of pathology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, and the Department of Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As a senior research fellow at Merck Research Laboratories, he developed assays for drug discovery in the areas of Type II diabetes and antibiotic resistance.

Toney has experience in university administration. He was senior vice president for research and has also served as provost and vice president for academic affairs and chief academic officer at Kean University. In June 2019, he was named as a visiting professor at MIT in the department of linguistics and philosophy, pursuing research in the philosophy and history of science. In this role, he has established a new Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program project utilizing culture, gender and language to enhance undergraduate education as a new model to enhance diversity, equity and opportunity in higher education.

Toney has also contributed many public articles about science and society. He has published 39 letters to the editor in print in the New York Times and 70 articles in the Huffington Post. These public articles addressed a wide range of topics, including higher education, science and technology, human rights, social media, the arts and global issues impacting China, Iran, Egypt, South Sudan, Israel, Palestine, Libya, Syria and Haiti. He has been a contributor to The Hill Congress Blog, the "Talk Nerdy" podcast interview by journalist Cara Santa Maria, and the "When Science Speaks" podcast by Sen. Ed Markey’s chief of staff, Mark Bayer, addressing "Innovative Ways to Highlight Science and Public Policy Work."

Toney received a SciCommMake award in 2020 from Sigma Xi and Science Talk for his work in science communication. His scientific work is widely cited in the scholarly literature, and he holds six United States patents. Toney is a 2021 Sigma Xi Fellow and a 2022-2023 Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer.

For more information, view the event flyer.