Originally formed in 1955, and conceived by Bob Hudson, a medical resident suffering from a real void in humanities education, the Lunar Society of Kansas University sought to delve into the topics of religion, economics, philosophy, ethics, law, politics and other man-made institutions as they apply to medicine.
Named after the original Birmingham, England, Lunar Society formed in the late 18th Century by eminent scholars committed to the exchange of current scientific thought, the early meetings were held on a night closest to the full moon, who’s light assisted the horses mounted by inebriated scholars, called Lunaticks, back to their homes. This recorded account alone caused the KU School of Medicine students to shamelessly and eagerly, adopt the name.
Early topics of discussion at the School of Medicine meetings included such subjects as euthanasia, deficiencies in medical education, and eugenics, all designed to arouse hyperthyroidic responses in idealistic young medical students. Later the discussions, held in the home of a host preceptor, moved to Marx, Plato, Tolstoy, Darwin, Freud, Osler and other literary, philosophical and medical giants.
Over the years, the Lunar Society has waxed and waned at the University of Kansas Medical Center. The climate has changed; women, minorities and Republicans are welcomed. The current manifestation, The Lunar Society – Food for Thought, is a group of students with broad interests both within and outside their current medical endeavors. – literature, ethics, history, and other basic humanities and social sciences. They meet on a regular basis to learn, to discuss, socialize and break bread – a full moon is seldom, necessary.
The Lunar Society (Food for Thought) is an open forum for discussion of ideas. The group operates from the viewpoint that the current educational model of medical school does not encourage students to pursue their passions, nor does it adequately recognize the enormous potential of the humanities and social sciences to contribute to their personal and professional development. Students, faculty, and staff are invited to give a talk on something they are strongly interested in or care deeply about. The secondary goal is to help students learn to effectively share ideas with others by honing writing and/or public speaking skills. Speakers pick the topic and determine their own level of preparation for their presentation and/or discussion. Audience members may be encouraged to read something before attending, but all are also welcome to just come, listen, and learn.
Current and Future Activities
Talks: Once or twice a month at 12noon.
Open Mike Nights: Once a semester, time and place to be determined.
Full Moon Nights: Once a semester on the evening of a full moon at the residence of a faculty preceptor.