Over the past three years, we have conducted several research projects at Rossmoor, a retirement community with about 9,000 residents about 20 miles east of San Francisco. Rossmoor is in a beautiful rural setting in a narrow valley surrounded by oak-cloaked hills. I have given a number of lectures there, and am always struck by the great sense of peace and community expressed by its residents. Two Rossmoor citizens stand out for me, and I would like to award them the second “Merzie Prize” for 2007-8, this time in my Do-Gooder Private Citizen category. Leonard Krauss is the President of the Rossmoor computer club, and he’s generously helped dozens of his friends and neighbors get onto computer-based training for the sake of their brain health. Len is a beautiful example of a straight-shooting, bonafide nice guy who makes very good use of his rich technical background almost every day to help people. He appears (of course) to enjoy every minute of it.

His friend and collaborator Stan Karansky is a retired medical doctor in his 90’s. If you were to meet and talk with Stan, you would instinctively peg him as a far younger man, because Stan has been a devotee of brain fitness training, and is just full of life — a walking advertisement for the benefits of keeping your brain in good shape! Given his scientific and medical background, Stan is informed about the principles of brain plasticity, and is doing his damnedest to explain to his fellow citizens that this kind of exercise is “what the doctor ordered”. He’s talked a lot of ’em into it, and they’re the better for it! Way to go, Stan!

I tip my hat — and hereby award a 2008 Merzie Prize — to these two very fine men, of EXTRAORDINARY intelligence and good will!