Event Details

Location: Tucson, AZ



Friday, April 7, 2017

Biologist, Entomologist
Southwestern Biological Institute
University of Arizona

The New York Times, in its rave reviews of Justin’s new book, The Sting of the Wild: The Story of the Man Who Got Stung for Science, bestowed upon him the title, “The Connoisseur of Pain.”  They also reviewed the book as a “masterpiece of nature writing.”  However, our speaker, Justin Schmidt, is best known internationally as the legendary entomologist who devised the celebrated Schmidt Pain Index for stinging insects.  Justin’s new book (which we will have for sale, autographed if you desire, $25/book, bring cash or check)) is a must-read for naturalists, hikers, entomologists, and everyone who enjoys being outdoors.

Justin weaves his theories about stinging insects through a narrative of his personal experiences encountered while “digging in the dirt.”  He’s given us the Schmidt Pain Scale to rate the amount of pain an insect can inflict but, he makes the distinction that the amount of pain does not necessarily indicate the amount of damage that might be inflicted on our bodies.

The Johns Hopkins University Press invited and convinced Justin to write a non-technical book about Schmidt Pain Index.  He spent 4 years finishing this semi-autobiography, with the focus on the magic of stinging insects and the reason why they sting.  His presentation will include scientific knowledge through telling true stories (nature is often more amazing than our fictional imagination).  Insects comprise more than 50% of all living species.  As Justin teaches us about them, he will enrich our future experiences with nature.  It helps calm the public fear.  The purpose of a small insect is not to terrorize us but to get food and protect itself or its young, just as we do.  We simply need not be in the way of its business.  We only need to appreciate and enjoy the beauty and diversity of coexistence in nature.

Dr. Schmidt will offer an enthralling explanation of the evolution of the insect sting and will present highly instructive and technically accurate information.  We learn about pain from insect stings, but we also learn how relative and inaccurate “pain definitions” can be portrayed.  For example, he mentions that bull ant stings are considered incredibly painful in Australia.  But, for Schmidt, its sting hurts less than a honey bee sting.  We also learn that velvet ants can inflict an instantaneous burning sting that might last several minutes, making it one of the most painful known.  However, its venom is one of the least toxic.  But Justin’s message is that ants, wasps, and bees are here to stay and are all members of an intricate web of interrelationships that includes humans.  Dr. Schmidt is a coherent guide that painlessly ushers us into the insect world.  Justin’s one-of-a-kind style, with colorful descriptions of each venom’s sensation and a story surrounding “That Sting” will fire your imagination and leave you tingling with awe.  

We all have a story about a confrontation with the world of insects here in Tucson.  Now, we are fortunate that Dr. Schmidt will bring us his much richer view of this interaction and introduce us to “His World.”

MORE about Justin’s book – https://jhupbooks.press.jhu.edu/press-kit-sting-wild.   We will have a book table where Justin will inscribe your book (if you desire) after lunch.  Don’t forget to bring cash or your check book ($25 per book).
2200 E. Elm St. (between Campbell and Tucson Blvd)
Free parking across the street from the main entrance
When you RSVP, please tell us if you would prefer the vegetarian/vegan selection.  Since this is a plated-luncheon, the main course for the attendees (including rolls, salad, dessert, and coffee or tea) will be the chef’s choice.  (If you select the V/V entree, you are committed to the fresh fruit for dessert.)
$30 at the door (cash, or check made out to the “Yale Club”)
Registration starts at 11:30 AM at The Arizona Inn (Tucson Room)
Lunch will be served at Noon
Treat your reservation as a commitment and notify us if you are unable to attend.

RSVP:  To Marianne Kaestle at yaleclub.ariz@icloud.com by April 4, 2017.

Marianne Kaestle
Yale Club of Southern Arizona
Director of Communications

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