Promoting science is labor of love for Elkridge man

March 07, 1994|By Sherry Joe | Sherry Joe,Sun Staff Writer

Gregory Greisman fears that high school students aren't learning enough about the latest breakthroughs in science, and that the popular media gives the subject short shrift.

There is a perception that "it's not something . . . people are interested in reading about," said Mr. Greisman, an Elkridge resident and graduate of Howard High School.

But the local construction company owner is determined to share his passion for science and technology through a new science newspaper aimed specifically at high school students.

"The kids already have textbooks. The idea is to provide current news," said Mr. Greisman, who will begin distributing his newspaper in Baltimore County schools later this month. "The idea is not to be redundant."

Called Excited About Science, the publication will feature interviews with area scientists, such as astronaut Tom Jones, who graduated from Baltimore's Kenwood High School in 1973. It also will offer information about local events and news briefs about such topics as solar eclipses, asteroids and the aging process.

In addition, the newspaper will focus on research at the Johns Hopkins University and the Smithsonian Institution.

"I included everything that would be interesting to the high school age group," Mr. Greisman said.

The free newspaper, which he produces on a personal computer in his home, is scheduled for distribution March 15 to Baltimore County high school students. Mr. Greisman said he hopes to distribute the bimonthly newspaper to Howard County students as well, but first must get permission from school officials.

As a child, Mr. Greisman loved astronomy. He remembers when man first walked on the moon. "That was one of the most exciting events in history," he said.

After graduating from Howard High in 1976, he earned a bachelor's degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

After college he established his construction company, Royal Sundecks.

Although he did not pursue a career in science, Mr. Greisman continued to follow scientific developments.

"I always thought it was neat to keep up with science," he said.

Mr. Greisman thought of starting a science newspaper two years ago, recalling that it "just kind of popped into my head one day."

He is financing the $3,500 venture with advertisements and corporate sponsorships. The newspaper is so important to him that he has put his construction business on hold to work on it.

Ronald Barnes, science supervisor for Baltimore County public schools, was so impressed with Mr. Greisman's enthusiasm that he agreed to distribute the newspaper to the system's 24,000 students.

"It was a commitment he made," Mr. Barnes said. "I was very impressed with that."

Mr. Barnes also saw the newspaper's educational value for science students.

"It would be a supplementary kind of thing," he said. "It happens to relate to what they're doing in science and technology."

Mr. Greisman said his newspaper would help students and teachers stay current with scientific trends. "Of course kids study science in school," he said. "But they don't get to study science currently. Even the most up-to-date textbook is still a year out of date.

"A lot of these changes happening are going to affect everybody soon," he said. "There's the computer literate and computer illiterate. It's very much an advantage to be computer literate.

"I think it's interesting to [focus on] local people," Mr. Greisman said. "World-class science is being done right here."

Mr. Greisman is planning to publish an interview with a Johns Hopkins Hospital researcher who transferred the Alzheimer's gene to a mouse.

If nothing else comes of the newspaper, Mr. Greisman said he hopes students learn to appreciate science.

"They come away educated about particular current events," Mr. Greisman said. "But I hope it plants some seeds of interest. If kids aren't interested in something, you really don't learn."

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