Philadelphia Reflections

The musings of a physician who has served the community for over six decades

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Right Angle Club 2009
The 2009 proceedings of the Right Angle Club of Philadelphia, beginning with the farewell address of the outgoing president, John W. Nixon, and sadly concluding with memorials to two departed members, Fred Etherington and Harry Bishop.


{Mensa Logo}
Peter Stevens

Pete Stevens, the president of the Delaware Valley chapter of Mensa, recently visited the Right Angle Club and entertainingly told us about his organization. Mensa is the Latin word for table, alluding to a round table, as in discussion group. It is primarily a social organization of people who are very smart but are otherwise drawn from all races, genders, and levels of income and profession. To be eligible to join this organization, an applicant must somehow prove that he or she is in the top 2% or percentile of the population in intelligence. The organization has a standardized 90-minute test but will accept certified copies of evidence from a long list of other established tests of intelligence, to the effect that the applicant is in the 98th percentile of intelligence.

Dr. Lance Ware

Mensa was started in England in 1946, by two lawyers, Roland Berrill and Dr. Lance Ware, who also had a scientific degree. The English have a fondness for classifying the population; aristocracy is sort of a public label of superiority, which most people would admit seems to have a hereditary tendency. At Oxford, there is All Souls College, which is five or six hundred years old and admits two new members a year. The eligibles are selected from among the valedictorians of the thirty-nine component Oxford colleges, and once admitted to All Souls, spend most weekends for the rest of their lives eating dinner and talking to each other "in the hall". It would be interesting to know the scores on the Mensa test of such intellectual elites, although one supposes they have nothing to gain by taking the Mensa test, but -- from their viewpoint --might just happen to have a bad day, and flunk it. Bad show.

Mensa Test

There are now over 150,000 members of Mensa International, enrolled in any of over 200 SIG, or special-interest-groups, ranging from butterflies to astrophysics. In Philadelphia, they have a monthly meeting with speakers, dinners, and outings. There are a scholarship fund and various other volunteer activities of a Philadelphia character. They now have a major handicap that Senator Fumo is a member, but in fact, that is not completely surprising.

Originally published: Tuesday, July 14, 2009; most-recently modified: Thursday, May 23, 2019

Mensa is hosting a workshop helping people learn what they need to do to get on a board of directors.

It should be fund and is open to the public.

We need leadership that matters!
Posted by: carol stamos   |   Dec 7, 2009 2:25 PM