Albert Einstein once said: “Once you stop learning, you start dying”.
It’s a sentiment Bob Stamp, the chair of the Sooke Region Lifelong Learning Steering Committee, agrees.
The group was formed in September with the goal of bringing an eclectic series of talks to Sooke on a collection of topics that range from memoir writing to Einstein for Beginners.
“We actually ran some of the programs in 2017 as a pilot, but now we’re going to keep on offering them well into the future. We have a whole group of people in Sooke who are retired or are nearing retirement who, on average, are healthier, better educated, and more engaged than their counterparts a few decades ago,” said Stamp.
“These are people who want to keep their minds alive, and we’re doing what we can to help them achieve that goal while providing them with a chance to learn and meet others with similar interests.”
Lifelong Learning operates under the umbrella of the Sooke Region Communities Health Network and the presentations are done by donation.
Likewise, presenters volunteer their expertise to the program in a desire to share their knowledge with others.
“Sometimes we are approached by people with specific skill sets or education in a specific field, and sometimes we hear about someone who might be able to offer a presentation on an interesting topic and we ask them to help out,” said Stamp.
“There’s an amazing range of knowledge and talent out there, so we’re never at a loss for topics or presenters.”
For Jack Gegenberg, the man behind the Einstein for Beginners series of lectures, it didn’t take much to convince him to offer up the talks.
“I’ve been doing this my whole life … giving presentations in an effort to give people a positive experience with science,” he said.
“Popularizing science, particularly difficult and beautiful science gives people a base of knowledge that they can then use to combat those who want to dispute scientific facts. That’s especially relevant today when there are ignoramuses who argue against proven facts like climate change and the extinction of species.”
Gegenberg is a retired professor with a doctorate in mathematics and a background in theoretical physics.
“I don’t actually assume that anyone knows a lot about physics, but I use thought experiments and some props to explain what is going on when we talk about concepts like time and space and the effects of gravity.”
Einstein for Beginners is only one of the programs offered at the SEAPARC Leisure Complex where Lifelong Learning also offers World Events, Social Justice in Today’s World, Social and Psychological Aspects of Aging and Re-imagining Canada.
The organization also offers programs at the CASA building (6672 Wadams Way), Harbourside C-Housing, and St. Rose of Lima Church.