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.
Douglas Dluzen, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Morgan State University, Baltimore. He is a human geneticist, who studied the genetic contributors to human aging, cancer, and hypertension. Currently, his research focuses on the biology of health disparities in Baltimore City, including how socioeconomic factors influence onset and pathology of cardiovascular diseases. He also examines the human microbiome as it relates to health outcomes. He teaches evolutionary biology, genetics, and scientific thinking and occasionally blogs about his work and his science fiction writing on his website. He contributes to the Science News and Information blog for the speculative fiction magazine Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores. At Balticon 52, he will be presenting “Stopping Time: Insights into Human Aging.” You can find him on Twitter @ripplesintime24.
Inge Heyer, Ph.D., was born and raised in Berlin, Germany, where she completed her secondary education before accepting a scholarship to attend Tenri University (Japan) to study Japanese. She earned an undergraduate degree in Astronomy and Physics from Smith College, a Master’s degree in Astronomy from University of Hawai`i at Manoa, and a Ph.D. in Science Education from the University of Wyoming. Dr. Heyer was a senior data analyst at the Space Telescope Science Institute and served as the public information officer at the Joint Astronomy Centre, where she led the education and public outreach efforts. She served as deputy press officer for the American Astronomical Society and currently teaches astronomy and physics at Loyola U. Md.
She has earned Shodan in both Judo and Karate, and serves as guest science blogger for StarTrek.com. And if you have ever wondered how those beautiful Hubble images got into science fiction series like Babylon-5 and Star Trek, Inge is the trouble-maker who instigated this. Visit her at ingeheyer.com.
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.
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.
K.T. Ramesh, Ph.D., is the Alonzo G. Decker Jr. Professor of Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University as well as the Director of the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute (HEMI); Website: hemi.jhu.edu. His current research projects investigate high strain rate behavior and dynamic failure of materials, nanostructured materials, injury biomechanics (including traumatic brain injury, which will be the topic of his talk) and planetary scale impact problems. He has published one book, Nanomaterials: Mechanics and Mechanisms
(Springer) and threatens to write another.
Adam Ruben is a writer, comedian, storyteller, and molecular biologist. For over a decade, he has performed at clubs, colleges, and private venues across the country, including at some of the best-known storytelling shows and comedy clubs. He is the author of Surviving Your Stupid, Stupid Decision to Go to Grad School (Random House, 2010) and Pinball Wizards: Jackpots, Drains, and the Cult of the Silver Ball (Chicago Review Press, 2017).
For more than a decade, Adam has taught an undergraduate stand-up comedy class at Johns Hopkins University, and he currently teaches storytelling with Story District, and is one of the Lead Producers for the DC and Baltimore chapters of Mortified. He writes the humor column “Experimental Error” in the otherwise respectable journal Science. He has also been seen and heard on the Food Network’s Food Detectives, the Science Channel’s Head Rush, the Travel Channel’s Mysteries at the Kremlin, Discovery International’s Superhuman Science, the Weather Channel’s Weather Gone Viral, the Science Channel’s How Do They Do It?, Netflix’s The Mortified Guide, and NPR’s All Things Considered and The Moth Radio Hour. He co-hosts the Science Channel’s Outrageous Acts of Science, currently filming its eighth season.
His day job is as Associate Director of Vaccine Stabilization & Logistics, developing a malaria vaccine at Sanaria Inc. Adam lives with his wife, Marina Koestler Ruben, and their two children, Maya and Benjamin, in Washington, DC.
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.