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Bright Horizons 6 Speakers

Eastern Caribbean • December 5th — 15th, 2009



Jim Bell is an Professor in the Department of Astronomy at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. He received his B.S. from Caltech in 1987 and his Ph.D. from the University of Hawaii in 1992, performing research on Mars surface mineralogy and climate variations using infrared and optical telescopes at Mauna Kea Observatory. Jim spent three years as a National Research Council postdoctoral research fellow at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California prior to coming to Cornell in 1995. His research primarily focuses on the geology, geochemistry, and mineralogy of planets, asteroids, and comets using data obtained from telescopes and spacecraft missions.

Jim is an active planetary scientist and has been heavily involved in many NASA robotic space exploration missions including the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR), Hubble Space Telescope, Mars Pathfinder, Comet Nucleus Tour, Mars Exploration Rover, Mars Odyssey Orbiter, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, and 2009 Mars Science Laboratory rover mission. As a member of the Mars Exploration Rover team, Jim has served as the lead scientist in charge of the Panoramic camera (Pancam) color, stereoscopic imaging system on the Spirit and Opportunity rovers. The rovers landed on Mars in January 2004 operated successfully for nearly five years. As a professional scientist, Jim has published more than 30 first-authored and 120 co-authored research papers in peer reviewed scientific journals, has authored or co-authored more than 400 short abstracts and scientific conference presentations, and has edited two scientific books for Cambridge University Press (one on the NEAR mission, the other on the surface composition of Mars).

Jim is also an extremely active and prolific public communicator of science and space exploration. He is a frequent contributor to popular astronomy and science magazines like Sky & Telescope and Scientific American, and to radio shows and internet blogs about astronomy and space. He has appeared on television on the NBC Today show, on CNN’s This American Morning, on the PBS Newshour, and on the Discovery and National Geographic cable channels. He has also written three photography-oriented books that showcase some of the most spectacular images of Mars and the Moon acquired during the space program: Postcards from Mars (Dutton, 2006), Mars 3-D (Sterling, 2008), and Moon 3-D (Sterling, 2009).

SciAm podcasts with, and articles by, Dr. Bell:

small bullet Science Talk: Space for Both? Human vs. Robotic Space Mission

small bullet Have Brain, Must Travel

small bullet The Red Planet’s Watery Past  


Dr. David D. Blackwell is the W. B. Hamilton Professor of Earth Sciences in the Department of Earth Sciences at Southern Methodist University.

Dr. Blackwell earned a B.S. in Geology and Mathematics from Southern Methodist University in 1963. While an undergraduate, he worked for two summers as a field assistant for the U. S. Geological Survey, Denver, Colorado, and served as a Teaching Assistant at Southern Methodist University. Dr. Blackwell obtained an M.S. in Geophysics from Harvard University in 1965, and was granted a Ph.D. in Geophysics by Harvard University in 1967. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California during September 1967–September 1968

Since 1968 Dr. Blackwell has been a member of Southern Methodist University: as an assistant professor until September 1973; as an associate professor September 1973–September 1978; as professor of geophysics from 1980 until the present. He has been W.B. Hamilton Professor of Geophysics since 1980, and served as Chairman, Department of Geological Sciences September 1982–August 1986.

Dr. Blackwell is the author of innumerable papers. He received a Sigma Xi Outstanding Research Southern Methodist University Faculty Award for work in 1979–1980. He has published numerous technical reports, and has been recognized three times by the Geothermal Resources Council (GRC) for presenting the best paper at annual meetings. The GRC gave Dr. Blackwell its Distinguished Service Award in 1997, and its Special Achievement Award in 2004. The Geothermal Map of North America edited by David Blackwell and Maria Richards, with cartography by Kansas Geological Survey, was selected for inclusion in ESRI’s 2005 Map Book.


Dr. Guion S. Bluford, Jr., is Founder and President of The Aerospace Technology Group (ATG), an aerospace technology and business consulting organization specializing in aviation and space related technology development, analysis, and marketing related activities. Prior to joining ATG, Dr. Bluford was Vice President of Microgravity R&D and Operations for the Northrop Grumman Corporation and was responsible for all corporate microgravity research and technical development activities in support of NASA’s Human Exploration and Development of Space (HEDS) Enterprise. He also served as the Program Manager of the NASA Glenn Research Center’s Microgravity Research, Development, and Operations Contract (MRDOC). Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Dr. Bluford was responsible for the design, development, integration, and operational support of the NASA Fluids and Combustion Facility and associated space flight experiment hardware for the International Space Station. Prior to joining Northrop Grumman, he was Vice President of the Aerospace Sector of Federal Data Corporation (FDC) and was responsible for all NASA business. He has also been the Vice President of the Engineering Services Division of NYMA Inc. and Program Manager of the NASA Lewis Research Center’s Scientific, Engineering, Technical, and Administrative Related Services (SETAR) contract.

Prior to his service with Northrop Grumman, FDC, and NYMA, Inc., Dr. Bluford was a NASA mission specialist and payload commander astronaut on four Space Shuttle missions. He was selected in the first class of space shuttle astronauts in 1978 and was the first African American to fly in space in 1983 aboard Space Shuttle Challenger. In addition, he flew on a Spacelab flight as payload commander in 1985, a Department of Defense Strategic Defense Initiative Office flight in 1991, and a classified Department of Defense flight in 1992. He has over 688 hours in space.

Dr. Bluford served 29 years in the United States Air Force as an Air Force tactical fighter pilot in Vietnam, instructor pilot, staff development engineer, Branch Chief of the Aerodynamics and Airframe Branch of the Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory and NASA Astronaut. He has over 5,200 hours of jet flight in ten different aircraft.

Dr. Bluford received a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from Penn State University in 1964 and Masters of Science and Ph.D degrees in Aerospace Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1974 and 1978, respectively. He also has a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Houston, Clear Lake, Texas and has attended the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

GUION S. BLUFORD, JR., PH.D. (continued)
continued from previous column

Dr. Bluford serves on the Board of Directors of ENSCO Inc., and the Board of Trustees of The Aerospace Corporation. He has been a member of the National Research Council’s Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB) and a member of the Board of Directors of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and the U.S. Space Foundation. He has also served on the Board of Directors of several local organizations as well as on the NASA Alumni League and has been the Executive Director for Investigative Activities of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board.

He has been awarded the Department of Defense’s Superior Service, and three Meritorious Service Medals; the Air Force’s Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service, Commendation and ten Air Medals; NASA’s Distinguished Service, Exceptional Service, and four Space Flight Medals; the State of Pennsylvania’s Distinguished Service medal and thirteen honorary doctorate degrees. An AIAA Fellow, he was inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame in 1997.


Dr. Noah Isakov is the Joseph H. Krupp Professor of Cancer Immunobiology in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel. His work is focused on mechanisms of regulation of T-lymphocyte activation, signaling pathways mediating cell growth regulation and differentiation, determination of the role of oncogene and protooncogeneproducts in neoplastic processes, and mechanisms of cell transformation.

Dr. Isakov earned a B.Sc. in Biology (with distinction) from Ben Gurion University of the Negev in 1974, an M.Sc. in Immunology from the Weizmann Institute of Science in 1976, and a Ph.D. in Immunology from the Weizmann Institute of Science in 1981. Dr. Isakov undertook a postdoctoral fellowship at the Immunology Research Center, and in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, at the University of Minnesota 1981–1983.

Isakov then worked at the Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California in the Department of Immunology, as a research associate 1983–1986, and as a Scientific Associate 1986–1988. During the 1990s, Isakov spent five two-month stints as a Visiting Scientist at The Scripps Research Institute and the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology. From 1993–1995, he served as a Visiting Scientist in the Cell Biology and Metabolism Branch, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institues of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Isakov has served on faculty at Ben Gurion University since 1986, and currently holds the Krupp Chair.

Dr. Isakov is on the Editorial Board of Biology Direct-Immunology and The Open Enzyme Inhibition Journal as well as being an ad hoc reviewer for many other publications. He is a frequent invited guest speaker in his field, having presented in Austria, Scotland, France, the U.S.A., India, Germany, Poland, Russia, Japan, Canada, Norway, Australia, Ireland, and Tanzania.


Lawrence Krauss is Foundation Professor, Director, Origins Initiative, and Co-Director, Cosmology Initiative of the School of Earth and Space Exploration, Beyond Center, and Department of Physics, Arizona State University.

Dr. Krauss was born in New York City and shortly afterward moved to Toronto, spending his childhood in Canada. He received undergraduate degrees in Mathematics and Physics from Carleton University in 1977, and his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1982. He became an assistant professor at Yale University in 1985. He was named the Ambrose Swasey Professor of Physics, Professor of Astronomy, and was Chairman of the Department of Physics at Case Western Reserve University from 1993 to 2005.

His research has been based on an attempt to explore how phenomena at various extremes of scale can be used to probe fundamental physics. Dr. Krauss has become increasingly interested in utilizing the Universe as a laboratory to study fundamental physics. He has been active in the emerging field of particle astrophysics, in which both the cosmological implications of ideas concerning fundamental interactions, and astrophysical and cosmological constraints on particle physics are explored.

Among the areas in which Krauss’ research has focused are: neutrino physics and astrophysics, big bang nucleosynthesis, gravitational lensing, dark matter theory and detection, particle physics phenomenology beyond the Standard Model, axions and the strong CP problem, symmetry breaking in the Standard Model and the cosmology and physics of the electroweak phase transition, ultra-sensitive laboratory probes of new physics at high energy scales, stellar evolution, general relativity and gravitation, early universe physics, gravitational waves, and the physics of black holes and quantum gravity. Krauss is a critic of string theory.

Among Dr. Krauss’ honors are the highest awards of all three major U.S. Physics Societies: the American Physical Society, the American Association of Physics Teachers, and the American Institute of Physics. Krauss received the Gravity Research Foundation First prize award in 1984, the Presidential Investigator Award in 1986, the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Award for the Public Understanding of Science and Technology in 2000, the Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize and Andrew Gemant Award in 2001, the American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award in 2002, the Oersted Medal in 2003, and the American Physical Society Joseph P. Burton Forum Award in 2005.

Dr. Krauss believes that science is in part a vital cultural activity and so regularly appears in national media for public outreach in science and has written many editorials for The New York Times. He is most famous for his advocacy against intelligent design as a result of his involvement on the issue with the state school board of Ohio. He currently serves on the advisory boards of the Campaign to Defend the Constitution, an organization dedicated to opposing the religious right, and Scientists and Engineers for America, an organization focused on promoting sound science in American government.

Dr. Krauss has written non-academic books, among them:

SciAm podcasts with, and articles by, Dr. Krauss:

small bullet The End of Cosmology

small bullet Fade to Black: The Night Sky of the Future

small bullet Science Talk: Stars of Cosmology
      Part 1
      Part 2

small bullet 60-Second Science Podcast: Future Cosmologists Doomed to Err

Please visit Dr. Krauss’ website for a complete list of publications and activities.

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