Dr. Tom Abel of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology is a man with a mission: "My long term goal is to build a galaxy, one star at a time" (via computer modeling, of course). Among Abel's research interests are the processes and events of "the dark ages", the first few hundred million years after the Big Bang.
Abel and colleagues' visualizations and simulations of dark ages events, in addition to publication in the technical literature, have been featured on PBS and The Discovery Channel and in numerous newspapers and magazines, including the covers of Discover in December 2002 and of National Geographic in February 2003.
Dr. Abel studied at the Max Planck Institut fuer Astrophysik prior to earning a Ph.D. in physics in 2000 from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, Germany. Abel was a post-doctoral fellow at the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge, England and at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was a Wempe Lecturer at the Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany, in 2001, and merited a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation, Arlington, Virginia, 2002. Dr. Abel served as an Assistant and then Associate Professor for 2.5 years at The Pennsylvania State University in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics. He is now an Associate Professor of Physics in the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at both the Stanford University Physics Department and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Stanford and Menlo Park, California.
Current research interests of Dr. Abel include:
Jeremy Bailenson's main area of interest is the phenomenon of digital human representation, especially in the context of immersive virtual reality. He explores the manner in which people are able to represent themselves when the physical constraints of biological behaviors are removed. With funding from the National Science Foundation, Stanford University, and Silicon Valley and international corporations he designs and studies collaborative virtual reality systems that allow physically remote individuals to meet in virtual space, and explores the manner in which these systems change the nature of verbal and nonverbal interaction.
Dr. Bailenson earned a B.A. cum laude from the University of Michigan in 1994 and a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Northwestern University in 1999. After receiving his doctorate, he spent four years at the Research Center for Virtual Environments and Behavior at the University of California, Santa Barbara as a Post-Doctoral Fellow and then an Assistant Research Professor. He currently is Director of Stanford's Virtual Human Interaction Lab.
Bailenson's work has been published in academic journals, including Cognitive Psychology, Discourse Processes, Human Communication Research, Psychological Science, and PRESENCE: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments and numerous book chapters. He is a frequent interview subject in the scientific and business media, and can contrast colleagues' definitions of virtual reality as "A consensual hallucination" and "a new post-symbolic paradigm which circumvents representation with a direct experience" on the fly.
Alice Gaby has spent most of her life investigating how people are able to talk and think about complex things, with the hope that she might one day be able to do so herself. An expert in the aboriginal languages of Australia, Dr. Gaby is primarily interested in the complex interrelationships between language, culture, and cognition. Her research examines the cognitive consequences of the particular structures of individual languages. That is to say, that if you get in the habit of talking about something in a particular way, you'll probably start thinking about it in that way too. Dr. Gaby is particularly well-placed to conduct such research given her extensive first-hand experience of habits, both good and bad.
After dozens of flights between Melbourne (Australia), Nijmegen (Netherlands), and the aboriginal community of Pormpuraaw, Dr. Gaby earned a Ph.D. from the University of Melbourne and the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. Armed with her doctoral dissertation on the grammar of the Australian language Kuuk Thaayorre, she set out to convince English-speakers around the world to abandon their native tongue in favor of the infinitely superior Kuuk Thaayorre. With this aim, Dr. Gaby relocated to California to take up an Assistant Professorship at the University of California, Berkeley. Though she has not yet inspired a linguistic revolution, she has managed to acquire a basic grasp of U.S. English, and is now making the most of the cultural and linguistic diversity of the Bay Area, studying the Falam language of north western Burma.
At age 16, Nicholas Hellmuth was infected with Maya fever when he visited the Maya ruins of Palenque after attending summer school in Mexico to learn Spanish. There was no turning back. Hellmuth returned to prep school in Missouri, wrote his high school thesis on the Maya, and with the $50 first prize money, plus financial help from his parents and grandmother, he returned to explore pre-Columbian Mexico. While in Tabasco, he was invited along on a Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History expedition to Bonampak, so at the tender age of 17, he was hiking through the southern Mexican jungle with a team of archaeologists. For several years thereafter, Hellmuth spent every summer in Mexico, taking a train from St. Louis, then a bus. He reached Copan, Honduras, at age 18 on the back of a cargo truck. By age 19, Hellmuth had also traveled to Tikal, Guatemala. At age 20, Nicholas, and his crew of Norberto Tesucun and Alejandro Montejo de la Cruz, discovered the Tomb of the Jade Jaguar at Tikal, Guatemala, the second richest royal tomb yet found for the Late Classic period in all of Guatemala. Artifacts from this burial are among the national treasures of Guatemala.
Dr. Hellmuth earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, from Harvard University in 1967; a Master of Arts degree from Brown University in 1969, and a Ph.D. degree in art history from Karl Franzens Universitaet, in Graz, Austria. In addition to his extensive work, spanning decades, in Mexico and Guatemala, Hellmuth has also done archaeological field work in Peru, once for the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology (Harvard University) and a second season for the Peabody Museum of Natural History (Yale University). In addition to studying Maya archaeology, Dr. Hellmuth is intensely interested in tropical flora and fauna, and recently finished a five-year honorary position at Yale's Peabody Museum of Natural History. He has served as a Visiting Professor at the National Museum of Ethnology, in Osaka, Japan.
Steve Mirsky has been an editor at Scientific American magazine for 10 years. Mirsky's personal evolutionary path encompasses a degree from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, acting in summer stock, a bachelors' degree from City University of New York, hosting a morning radio show and a masters' degree in chemistry from Cornell University.
Mirsky left chemistry (to the relief of the American Chemical Society) for journalism after receiving an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Mass Media Fellowship in 1985, which he spent at the NBC TV affiliate in Miami. Other academic fellowships include two stints (general, 1993, and molecular evolution, 2001) at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, a Reuters Foundation Fellowship in Medical Journalism at Columbia University in 1997 and the Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at MIT for the 2003–2004 academic year (during which he also attended a semester of criminal law with Alan Dershowitz at Harvard Law School).
Rennie joined the staff of Scientific American as a member of the Board of Editors in 1989, having previously worked as a science writer covering biology, technology and medicine for a variety of publications.
His writings have appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, Longevity and other publications. His numerous television and radio appearances include ABC World News Weekend, The Newshour with Jim Lehrer, the A&E special Scams, Schemes and Scoundrels, Fox News Channel, Entertainment Tonight, ABC News Overnight, CBS Early Show, and National Public Radio's Science Friday.
Since his origin as interstellar dust 15 billion years ago, Bebo White's interests have included computational physics, high energy physics, networked information retrieval, and programming languages, high performance computing, grid computing, and physics event visualization.
White has been described as "a historical Web artifact" because of his seminal involvement with World Wide Web technology and the introduction of the first website in the United States at the Stanford (University) Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC). More precisely White is an information specialist who spent two decades addressing the computing challenges of the SLAC physics community.
Mr. White is internationally recognized as one of the pioneers of the World Wide Web. He was introduced to Web technology during a sabbatical at Geneva's European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in 1989. His 1991 team participation in implementing SLAC's website, early advocacy for the Web, and his intense and ongoing involvement in Web technology have earned him the tag "the first U.S. Webmaster."
The 1996 MicroTimes 100 listed Bebo White in the ranks fof those making outstanding contributions to personal computing. He is a member of the International World Wide Web Conference Committee (IW3C2), and has been cited by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) as having made significant contributions to the development of WWW. White became a member of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences in April 2002.