Introducing Leroy Dubek.
Physics professor Leroy Dubeck has been at Temple since 1965, when he began as an associate professor. Since then, he has not only conducted research in the physics field, but he is also chair of the Faculty Senate Budget Committee and a Life Master in chess. Dubeck has also written six textbooks, which are mostly for non-science majors.
He said prefers to teach general education courses because it challenges him to convey information through entertaining methods. In 1977, the first of the “Star Wars” movies was released, and it was the first science fiction film to assimilate into mainstream culture.
Dubeck, who said he was fascinated by the attention the film garnered, used the film as a way of getting student attention. Consequently, Dubeck received his first National Science Grant to study the use of science fiction in science education.
Because of his research, Dubeck has given speeches at science fiction conventions during the years. He uses pictures of UFOs–some that he created, others that he found–in order to keep the audience’s attention.
“You are on stage looking out at over one thousand people, half of them in costume,” Dubeck said. “You feel like you are in an insane asylum.”
As chair of the faculty Senate Budget Committee Dubeck and the other members of the committee were assigned the task of working out how the funding cut from the state would affect Temple.
“The original cut was supposed to be 50 percent and we did not get the initial word about the cut until June 29,” Dubeck said. The committee had to have a finalized budget on July 31, he added.
Dubeck has also been awarded the title of a Life Master, and has been playing chess since a very young age.
“I got a chess set from a relative when I was 12 or 13 and played in high school,” he said.
He won a title in high school and went on to become a chess master in his first year of college.
“I discovered adult chess leagues and the United States Chess Federation,” he said, describing how he went from playing chess as a hobby to becoming a Life Master.
Dubeck also served as the Board Secretary at the U.S. Chess Federation from 1965 to 1969, and president from 1969 to 1972. He has served on the Asset Committee and was the chair of the Investment Subcommittee when the market fell in 2008. At that time he said he was wise enough to have everything in cash.
“At that time the best way to make money was to not be invested,” he said.
He is also the current treasurer of the United States Chess Trust, a separate organization, which raises money for chess players so that they can play in tournaments.
Dubeck is also a great supporter of bringing chess to schools, but realizes that this is a pipe dream.
“Studies have been done [that say] chess increases reasoning and the conative process,” Dubeck said.
Dubeck continued to say that there are physiological changes that chess players undergo when they play the game, including increases in blood pressure and breathing rate, much like athletes.
“The problem is that there is no money [to learn about chess],” Dubeck said. “We don’t need more tests, we need funding,” he added.
There is more than enough proof that chess is beneficial, but without the funding necessary, chess will never be brought to schools, Dubeck said. He added that the only way it would work is if someone puts up the money privately.
Even with his grand accomplishments in the chess world Dubeck stressed the game was more of a hobby to him. He said his first love is for science education, then follows his fascination with finances and love for chess.
Amanda Rossetti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.