Balticon takes the term “Science” in its title of being a science fiction and fantasy convention very seriously. Balticon runs a complete track of over 30 hours of science programming featuring world class scientists. Some of our features speakers in our science programming include the following:

Catherine Asaro, Ph.D. is our Guest of Honor at Balticon. Not only has she won two Nebula awards for her writing, she also earned her doctorate in chemical physics and master’s in physics, both at Harvard. She is a member of SIGMA, a think tank of speculative writers that advises the government as to future trends affecting national security. As a musician, she performs at various cons and jazz clubs. We are pleased that this multitalented individual will be at Balticon for the entire weekend.

Adam Ruben, Ph.D., is the Associate Director of Vaccine Stabilization & Logistics at Sanaria Inc., where he is helping to manufacture, license, and distribute a whole-organism malaria vaccine. He has written the monthly science humor column “Experimental Error” for Science Careers since 2010. He performs stand-up comedy and storytelling, and he has appeared on the Food Network, the Weather Channel, Discovery International, and the Travel Channel. He currently co-hosts Outrageous Acts of Science on the Science Channel. He is the author of Surviving Your Stupid, Stupid Decision to Go to Grad School and Pinball Wizards: Jackpots, Drains, and the Cult of the Silver Ball.

Tom Holtz, Ph.D., presents the ever-popular annual dinosaur update covering the major discoveries in the field of paleontology over the past year. He is a Principal Lecturer at the University of Maryland Department of Geology where he is the Faculty Director of the Science and Global Change Program.

T. Ramesh, JHU Decker Professor of Science & Engineering and Director, JHU Extreme Materials Institute will speak on “Keeping Your Head in the Game: The Dynamics of Traumatic Brain Injury.”
She will discuss that the human brain is an extraordinary organ that is arguably the most important part of the body. It is also a complex soft structure that is subjected to dynamic loading throughout a human lifetime. This lecture describes how this structure is protected, and examines the conditions under which the protection fails, leading to traumatic brain injury (TBI), especially injuries arising within sports.

Briana Pobiner, Ph.D., is a paleoanthropologist whose research centers on the evolution of human diet (with a focus on meat-eating), but has included topics as diverse as cannibalism in the Cook Islands and chimpanzee carnivory. Briana is also an Associate Research Professor of Anthropology at the George Washington University. She has done fieldwork in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, and Indonesia and has been supported by numerous agencies. Since joining the Smithsonian in 2005 to help put together the Hall of Human Origins, in addition to continuing her active field, laboratory, and experimental research programs, she leads the Human Origins Program’s education and outreach efforts and manages the Human Origins Program’s public programs.

Diana Reiss, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology at Hunter College and in the graduate program of Animal Behavior and Comparative Psychology at the City University of New York. Reiss’s research has focused on understanding cognition and communication in dolphins and other cetaceans. Her important contributions include demonstrating mirror self-awareness in dolphins via the Mirror test.

Alex Young, Ph.D., is the Associate Director for Science in the Heliophysics Science Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. In this role he is responsible for overseeing and coordinating the Education and Public Outreach team for the division. He works with the EPO teams as a liaison with the NASA offices of Education and Communication. He joined the NASA/ESA SOHO mission after graduate school as a Solar Astrophysicist with the Extreme-Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope. Working in this area grew his interest in image processing, which he combined with his love of statistics and data analysis. It was this with the help of some of his colleagues that led to his establishment of the Solar Image Processing Workshops or SIPWork.