Keynote speaker: Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist, and director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History. He served on George W. Bush’s Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry, and was awarded the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal for his work.

He is President of The Planetary Society, and has authored eight books, including his memoir, The Sky is not the Limit: Adventures of an Urban Astrophysicist.

Tyson is the host of the PBS program Nova, and is a regular guest on The History Channel’s The Universe.

Here is a short 2 minute video podcast from Nova Science Now with Neil DeGrasse Tyson. This video gives you a little insight into Tyson so we recommend you watch it. Once you're done with this one follow some of the links to watch a few other video podcasts with Tyson from the NOVA shows.

These are some of our favorites.
Origins - 5 min: youtube.com/watch?v=5ItM53Rurn8
Are we alone - 6 min: youtube.com/watch?v=7odVBe
The Elements - 4 min: youtube.com/watch?v=B-LXUHJ

There are many more great videos with Dr Tyson available on YouTube. For a full list visit this link
http://youtube.com/results?search_query=neal+tyson&search_type=&search=Search

James Randi

James “The Amazing” Randi has an international reputation as a stage magician and escape artist, but today is known as a tireless investigator and debunker of paranormal and pseudoscientific claims.

Randi has written numerous books on the subject of the paranormal, including Flim-Flam!, Faith Healers, An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural, and The Truth About Uri Geller.

Audiences around the world have been fascinated by Randi’s unrelenting battle against supernatural claims, driving him to form the James Randi Educational Foundation in 1996. The JREF offers the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge, which will award one million dollars to any individual capable of demonstrating paranormal powers in a controlled setting.

Adam Savage "Mythbusters"

Adam Savage has spent his life gathering skills to take what's in his brain, and make it real. The son of a filmmaker/painter and a psychotherapist, he's been making his own toys since he was allowed to hold scissors, and has never stopped.

Since 1993, Adam has concentrated on the special-effects industry, honing his skills through more than 100 television commercials and a dozen feature films, including Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and Episode II: Attack of the Clones.

In addition to co-hosting Discovery Channel's MythBusters, Adam also teaches advanced model making, most recently in the industrial design department at the San Francisco Academy of Art.

Our good friend Phil Plait did a mini interview with Adam Savage at TAM 5 about how much he enjoys attending The Amaz!ing Meetings. Here is the link to that video on YouTube. http://youtube.com/watch?v=Yn_7bofChUg

Dr. Arthur Benjamin

Dr. Arthur Benjamin is a professor of mathematics and a magician who has combined his talents to become “Mathemagic.” Benjamin can perform mathematical calculations faster than a calculator, a process he explains in his book, Secrets of Mental Math.

Benjamin has presented his talents on The Today Show and CNN, and articles about his work have been featured in Scientific American, The New York Times, and USA Today.

There is much more information about Dr. Arthur Benjamin available on his personal website http://www.math.hmc.edu/~benjamin/

Banachek

Banachek is a world-renowned mentalist whose work has astounded audiences around the world. He participated in the Project Alpha experiments, where his talents as a magician allowed him to fool scientists into believing he had psychic powers.

He has consulted for a wide range of magicians, including David Blaine and Penn & Teller, and has worked with Criss Angel on the television shows Mindfreak and Phenomenon.

The fantabulous mentalist, Banachek, reads minds better than any psychic around - without the benefit of telepathy. A great video from the show Unscrewed which appeared on TechTV can be seen at youtube.com/watch?v=aeND2djUnZ4.

You can read more information on Banachek on his website, check him out at banachek.org.

Benjamin Radford

Ben Radford is the editor of Skeptical Inquirer and Pensar. His columns have been featured in Corrales Comment newspaper, as well as Skeptical Inquirer, and on Livescience.com, and CSICOP.org. He has authored and co-authored works on hoaxes and myths, as well as lake monsters, and the role of the media in belief.

Radford has been interviewed on The Discovery Channel, CNN, and The Learning Channel.

Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens is an author, journalist, and literary critic, and was a columnist for Vanity Fair. He is a political activist, outspoken atheist, and authored the bestselling book God is Not Great, which was nominated for a National Book Award.

Christopher Hitchens is antitheist and antireligious. Hitchens often speaks out against the Abrahamic religions, or what he calls "the three great monotheisms" (Judaism, Christianity and Islam). In his book, God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, Hitchens expanded his criticism to include all religions, including those rarely criticized by Western antitheists such as Hinduism and neo-paganism.

Hitchens is known for having unpredictable political views that are often highly-controversial. For instance, he became very critical of the Islamic fatwa when they took a stand against his longtime friend Salman Rushdie, and he has been a strong supporter of US military activity in Iraq and Afghanistan. Although formerly a Trotskyist, Hitchens has moved away from the Left and adopted a more diverse view of the world. In June 2004 Hitchens strongly attacked Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” and stirred up much controversy. He has also lashed out against political figures (such as Mother Teresa and Ghandi) that many might consider to be saintly and above criticism. Hitchens books include Blood, Class, and Nostalgia: Anglo-American Ironies (1990), The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice (1995), No One Left to Lie To: The Triangulations of William Jefferson Clinton (2000), The Trial of Henry Kissinger (2001), and Love, Poverty, and War: Journeys and Essays (2004).

George Hrab

Multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, skeptic, podcaster, producer, composer and heliocentrist George Hrab has written and produced five independent CDs; published one book; performed for President Clinton; shared the stage with countless musicians and acts; and traveled across the country, both as a drummer for the nationally recognized Philadelphia Funk Authority, and as de facto President for Life of The Geologic Orchestra.

Greydon Square

Greydon Square is a hip-hop artist and veteran of the Iraq War. His recent album, The Compton Effect, warns of the dangers of faith and religion. Square is a member of the Rational Response Squad, and has used Youtube as a forum to represent atheism, and appeared on Nightline to discuss the Blasphemy Challenge.

Greydon Square's brand of free thought rap has been turning heads and raising eyebrows across the Internet, and now he'll ply his wares for you. We'll let him speak for himself at myspace.com/greydonsquare. A recent article about him proclaimed "Atheist Rapper-African American Hip-Hop Artist Shatters Stereotype Tackling Age Old Theological Positions in Unique Form of Rap." Don't miss this.

Matthew Chapman

Matthew Chapman is a journalist, director, and author. He is the great-great grandson of Charles Darwin, and has written widely on the creation-evolution controversy in the United States. He authored 40 Days and 40 Nights: Darwin, Intelligent Design, God, Oxycontin, and Other Oddities on Trial in Pennsylvania, which focuses on the dissention surrounding the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial.

Dr. Michael Shermer

Dr. Michael Shermer is the Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine ( www.skeptic.com ), the Executive Director of the Skeptics Society, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, the host of the Skeptics Distinguished Science Lecture Series at Caltech, and Adjunct Professor of Economics at Claremont Graduate University.

Dr. Shermer's latest book is The Mind of the Market, on evolutionary economics. His book How We Believe: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God, presents his theory on the origins of religion and why people believe in God. He is also the author of Why People Believe Weird Things on pseudoscience, superstitions, and other confusions of our time.

For those that have been to previous TAM's will remember that Dr. Shermer is one of our regulars and a very well received regular. Here is a video of his presentation from TAM 3 which is available on our AmazingMeetingVideos YouTube channel.

There are also many more videos of Dr. Shermer on YouTube. Here is a page with all of them directly from Dr. Shermer.
Shermer on YouTube

Phil Plait

Phil Plait is an astronomer, writer, and longtime friend of the JREF. He has made a career of debunking astronomical silliness, and has broadened that into defending science from attacks by politics and religion as well. He runs the BadAstronomy.com website where he is always on the lookout for antiscience nonsense.

Dr. Paul Zachary Myers

PZ Myers is a biology professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris. He is an outspoken critic of intelligent design, and is an activist in the creation-evolution debate.

Myers maintains the blog Pharyngula, where he writes on creationism, biology, evolution, and scientific development. In 2005, Pharyngula won the Koufax Award for Best Expert Blog, which Nature describes at the top-ranked blog written by a scientist.

Richard Saunders

Richard Saunders is known as an international author and origami expert with 30 books published and the creator of Origami Pigasus. He is a past President of Australian Skeptics and is now a Technology Consultant for The Skeptic magazine (Australia) and Chief Spoon Bender of the organization.

Richard was awarded Life Membership of Australian Skeptics in 2001 for his work on The Great Skeptic CD and since then he has created the Great Skeptic CD2, the Great Water Divining DVD.

A founding member of Mystery Investigators, he delights in teaching critical thinking to school students and uncovering quackery.

Richard Wiseman

For over a decade, Professor Wiseman has worked with the media to help bring science and psychology to a wide and diverse audience.

His research has been featured in a large number of television programmes, including Horizon, Body Shock, 20/20, and Dateline.

Most recently, Professor Wiseman has helped devise and co-present a new 20-part BBC1 series on social psychology, scheduled to be broadcast in 2008.

Sharon Begley

Sharon Begley is a Senior Editor for Newsweek, where she is widely known for her accessible breakdowns of complex scientific theories in news stories. She has earned a Clarion Award for her work on the article “Your Child’s Brain,” which described how early childhood experiences become wired into the brain.

Begley has received numerous other awards for her writing, including The Educational Press Association’s Distinguished Achievement Award, the Aviation/Space Writers Association Premier Award, a Deadline Club Award for Public Service, and a National Magazine Award nomination.

Dr. Steve Novella

Dr. Steven Novella is the Director of General Neurology at Yale University School of Medicine, President of the New England Skeptical Society, host of The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe, and is a contributing editor for Quackwatch, a blog that uncovers unethical medical practices.

Novella writes the monthly Weird Science article for the New Haven Advocate, and maintains his own blog, Neurologica, a haven for those seeking information on neuroscience, critical thinking, and skepticism.