Our program is subject to change. Speakers have confirmed their intent to participate; however, scheduling conflicts may arise.


Astrophysics speaker Jenny Greene

Cognitive science speaker Richard J. Haier

Greene, Ph.D.

Richard J.
Haier, Ph.D.

Astronomy speaker Donald Kurtz

Particle physics speaker Donald Lincoln

Donald Kurtz, Ph.D.

Don Lincoln, Ph.D.

Dinosaur paleontology speaker Darren Naish

Darren Naish, Ph.D.

Dr. Jenny Greene was an undergraduate at Yale, then received her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2006, and became a postdoc at Princeton University. She spent one year on the faculty at UT Austin and then returned to Princeton, where she is now an Assistant Professor. Dr. Greene studies supermassive black holes, from their original formation in the early universe to their demographics today. She is most interested in how galaxies form. She wants to understand whether the energy released as material falls into supermassive black holes has any impact on the surrounding galaxy.

When she is not searching for distant or tiny supermassive black holes, Dr. Greene teaches algebra to inmates in New Jersey state prisons through the Prison Teaching Initiative. She has been involved in this program since 2006, which now serves hundreds of inmates each semester and provides sufficient credits for an associates degree while the students are incarcerated. She also runs marathons and bakes bread.

Richard J. Haier earned a Ph.D. in Psychology at Johns Hopkins and is now a Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine. In 1988, Dr. Haier introduced modern brain imaging techniques to the study of intelligence and he has worked to understand its neural basis ever since. He has given numerous lectures around the world, including a series of public lectures in Spain, and his research has been featured on Nova Science Now (2012), NPR (2009), CNN (2006), CBS Sunday Morning (2005), and in numerous newspaper and magazine reports including Newsweek, Time, and Scientific American Mind (2009). In 2012, Professor Haier received the Distinguished Contributor Award from the International Society for Intelligence Research. The Great Courses Company released his video lecture series, The Intelligent Brain, in 2013.

Dr. Don Kurtz obtained his Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Texas at Austin in 1976, then spent 25 years in South Africa at the University of Cape Town, where he was Professor and Life Fellow. Don now has dual British and American citizenship and has been Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Central Lancashire since 2001. He is a councillor of the Royal Astronomical Society and serves on many international committees. He is frequently invited to speak internationally to both professional astronomers and to the public. Don observes with some of the largest telescopes in the world, has over 2,000 nights at the telescope, and over 400 professional publications. He is the discoverer of a class of pulsating, magnetic stars that are the most peculiar stars known. He is a member of the steering committee of the Kepler Asteroseismic Science Consortium for NASA’s Kepler Space Mission, and is co-author of the fundamental textbook in a new field, Asteroseismology. He is an outdoorsman and has travelled widely. Don enthusiastically gives up to 50 public lectures per year to diverse audiences all over the world on a wide range of topics. He is a regular guest on BBC Radio Lancashire and has appeared in prime time on the BBC’s Stargazing Live with Dara O’Briain and on the Sky at Night with Patrick Moore.

Dr. Don Lincoln is a senior researcher at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and an adjunct professor of physics at the University of Notre Dame. He received his Ph.D. from Rice University and his primary research focus is to use data taken at the CERN Large Hadron Collider to help better understand such fundamental questions as the ultimate building blocks and even the origins of the universe. He has co-authored over 500 scientific papers. Of the many measurements in which he has participated, he points to the discovery of the top quark and the probable discovery of the Higgs boson as two of the more noteworthy. Of late, he is continuing his decade-long interest in looking for even more fundamental building blocks beyond the quarks and leptons accepted by contemporary theory.

For the last several years, Don has spent a significant fraction of his time trying to communicate both Fermilab and CERN research to a wide variety of public audiences. He has written four science popularizations, Understanding the Universe (2004, revised 2012), The Quantum Frontier (2009), Alien Universe (2013), and The Large Hadron Collider (Summer 2014). His books have been translated into German, Russian, Polish, Korean, and Chinese.

Don has written articles for dozens of magazines, including the November 2012 cover of Scientific American. He has also published in Analog: Science Fiction and Fact and contributed three cover stories to The Physics Teacher. He is a blogger for the website of the television show NOVA and has made many YouTube videos on frontier physics topics both on his own and with the TED-Ed initiative. He has also written hundreds of online columns in which he translates for the public the meaning of some of his research papers.

He can also communicate with a personal touch, as Don has given many hundred public lectures in many venues and across the globe. In addition to lectures in the U.S., he has spoken to public audiences in South America and in Europe. He also speaks with reporters: print, radio, television, and online, both nationally and internationally, to help them better report the sometimes mind-bending measurements that modern physics and cosmology experiments can deliver.

You can follow Don on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Dr.Don.Lincoln

Darren Naish is a paleontologist based at the University of Southampton (UK) where he is part of a new research group dedicated to vertebrate evolution and diversity. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Portsmouth in 2006, specializing on the predatory dinosaurs of the English Lower Cretaceous, in particular the early tyrannosaur Eotyrannus. Much of his technical work has focused on the diversity and identity of dinosaurs from the famous Wealden rocks of the Isle of Wight. He also works on the shark-shaped marine reptiles of the Mesozoic (the ichthyosaurs) and on the flying pterosaurs, and he has also published research on fossil crocodilians, plesiosaurs, and other groups. He has an active fieldwork programme in Romania (a hot spot for new dinosaur and pterosaur fossils) and has also collected fossils across northern Africa and throughout the UK. With colleagues, he investigates the possibility that sexual selection pressure drove the evolution of dinosaurs and pterosaurs. Beyond Mesozoic fossil reptiles, he is broadly interested in the evolution, conservation, and diversity of tetrapods (the limbed vertebrates). Outside of paleontology, he is perhaps best known for his Scientific American blog Tetrapod Zoology, widely regarded as the world’s foremost zoology-themed blog and noted for its coverage of issues as diverse as amphibian conservation, cryptozoology, obscure lizards, and the swimming abilities of giraffes. He has published numerous books written both for children and adults, including (with David Martill) Walking With Dinosaurs: The Evidence (BBC Books, 2000) and The Great Dinosaur Discoveries (University of California Press, 2009).