Dr. Eric Courchesne
Eric Courchesne, Ph.D., is a professor of neuroscience at UC San Diego and director of the Center for Autism Research at the San Diego Children's Hospital. He is a leading researcher in the study of the neural basis of autism. Autism is a developmental brain disorder that affects the ability to communicate, form relationships, and respond appropriately to the environment. Autism can vary greatly in its severity, from mild social impairments to extreme retardation, bizarre behavior, and total withdrawal from the world. Some autistics develop "savant" abilities such as prodigious talents for mental arithmetic. Courchesne studies the brain wiring and genetic basis of autism, hoping to discover the causes of this mysterious disorder that afflicts one in 500 people.
Michael Crichton, began his career in medicine in the early 1970's, and soon switched tracks to become a writer and filmmaker. Most of Crichton's books are set in the present or near future, and some of his most successful stories are cautionary tales about the potential pitfalls of science and technology. Known as "the father of the techno-thriller," his fiction novels include The Andromeda Strain, Congo, Jurassic Park, Timeline, and Prey. He has also penned four non-fiction books, including Five Patients, Travels, and Jasper Johns. His books have been global bestsellers, translated into thirty languages. Twelve have been made into films. Crichton is also creator of the hit television drama "ER." In 2000, a newly discovered species of ankylosaur, Bienosaurus crichtoni, was named after him.
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Dr. Agnes A. Day
Agnes Day, Ph.D., is an associate professor at the Howard University College of Medicine and Associate Director for Basic Research at the Howard University Cancer Center. She studies and teaches immunology, medical microbiology, and infectious diseases.
Dr. David DiVincenzo
David DiVincenzo, Ph.D, is a research staff member at IBM's Watson Research Center. He is a leading researcher in the emerging field of quantum computation. Quantum computers take advantage of the bizarre fact that atoms and electrons are able to exist in multiple, mutually exclusive states simultaneously. Though the concept has been proven to be sound in theory, there are still significant technical hurdles to building large and practical quantum computers. Such computers, which DiVincenzo strives construct, will one day whip through certain kinds of calculation with vastly more efficiency than our present-day digital computers.
Doc Dougherty is director of technology at Raytheon Electronic Systems. Raytheon is a large aerospace company that works on national defense, missile technology and missile defense, government and commercial electronics, and aircraft.
Dr. Robert Epstein
Robert Epstein, Ph.D., is University Research Professor at the California School of Professional Psychology and editor-in-chief of "Psychology Today." His research focus is creativity and problem solving. He developed a formal scientific theory of creativity, called Generativity Theory, which captures some of the key mechanisms people use when coming up with new ideas. Epstein's books include Cognition, Creativity, and Behavior: Selected Essays and Creativity Games. He is also an avid motorcyclist and the father of three sons.
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Dr. Paul Ewald
Paul W. Ewald, Ph.D., is a professor of biology at The University of Kentucky. Ewald, the author of the groundbreaking book Evolution of Infectious Disease and a follow-up, Plague Time, is widely credited as the father of a new discipline called evolutionary medicine. He has demonstrated that a great range of medical ailments cannot be well understood -- and in many cases have been tragically misunderstood -- without a Darwinian evolutionary perspective.
For example, he has shown that there is a direct relationship between how easy it is for a bacterium, virus or parasite to spread among its victims and how virulent it can afford to be. This new understanding has opened serious new avenues for designing treatment programs and improving public health around the globe. By influencing, for instance, how a particular disease gets spread through the human population, we can encourage it to evolve into a more benign form.
Ewald also argues that there are a lot more deadly pathogens at work against us than just the blatantly obvious infectious diseases people have known about for a long time, like chicken pox, the plague, syphilis and the flu. Ewald has shown, to the surprise of the medical community, that many common afflictions such as heart disease and cancer -- diseases which doctors have long thought were rooted purely in genetics, environment or lifestyle -- are in fact caused by infections.
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Dr. Robert Freeman
Robert Freeman, Ph.D, is dean of the College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. An accomplished pianist and musicologist, he has also proved a strong leader and administrator. Freeman taught at MIT, Princeton and Harvard, then went on to serve as head of two leading American music schools -- the Eastman School of Music and the New England Conservatory -- before taking his current office. He has spent his career looking for ways to connect music to other disciplines, working to shape arts education, and considering the future of the arts in America.
Dr. Murray Gell-Mann
Physicist, Nobel Laureate
Professor Murray Gell-Mann, Ph.D, is Co-Chairman of the Science Board of the Santa Fe Institute. Gell-Mann received the Nobel Prize in physics in 1969 for his work on the theory of elementary particles. The most well known part of Gell-Mann's work was his theory of "quarks," the fundamental particles that make up the protons and neutrons of ordinary matter. Gell-Mann and others further developed his ideas to build the powerful "standard model" of particle physics, which to this day reigns as our best theory of the nature of matter.
Since then he has taken up broader interests that include natural history, historical linguistics, archaeology, history, depth psychology, creative thinking, and biological and cultural evolution. He taps all these fields in his study of "complex adaptive systems," which is the subject of his popular science book, The Quark and the Jaguar: Adventures in the Simple and the Complex. Gell-Mann is also concerned with global policy matters such as population growth, conservation and biodiversity, sustainable economic development, and geopolitical stability.
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Dr. David L. Goodstein
David Goodstein is vice provost and a professor of physics and applied physics at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). He has served on numerous scientific and academic panels and is a founding member of the Board of Directors of the California Council on Science and Technology.
His research focus has been condensed matter physics -- broadly speaking, the study of solids and liquids under a variety of conditions of pressure, temperature and radiation. In the 1980's Goodstein was director and host of "The Mechanical Universe," an innovative and highly acclaimed television series that has taught high school-level physics to millions of students around the world. His books include States of Matter and Feynman's Lost Lecture.
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