GREENBANK, W.Va. — Marshall University President Jerome Gilbert will speak to delegates at the National Youth Science Camp in Pocahontas County Friday. Gilbert should be familiar with the format, he was on the other side of that sort of lecture many, many years ago.

“I filled out an application and my science teacher told me I had been selected,” he said. “To me it was the adventure of a lifetime to get to go to West Virginia, someplace I had never been.”

Gilbert was one of the two delegates from the state of Mississippi in 1973. The visit had profound impact on his life.

“It gave me a great deal of confidence coming out of high school and it affirmed my pursuit in science and really made me determined I wanted to go into a science field,” he said.

Friday, Dr. Gilbert will address the delegates with a lecture entitled “Biomedical Engineering: Are We Redefining What It Means to Be Human?” The theme, according to Gilbert, is about ethics. It will address issues which aren’t part of the debate now, but he believes strongly will become an issue eventually.

“What are the questions we need to ask as biomedical engineers as we start to change the way the human body works?” explained Gilbert. “Are we going beyond what is the reasonable point we should be stopping in terms of linking the body with outside devices.”

More specifically Gilbert said his lecture raises questions about whether the human brain should ever be linked to interact with a computer. Although the idea sounds like science fiction, Gilbert is confident it is something which will eventually happen.

Aside from his lecture, it’s an opportunity for Gilbert to share with youngsters and challenge them to continue with their education and learning development.

“I remind them what a great opportunity the state of West Virginia is providing them,” he said. “The future is so bright for these future scientists and engineers they need to be ready for anything, and I think they will be.”

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