Trey Parker and Matt Stone (Scheduled) are co-creators of the award-winning animated series "South Park." They first met at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Their most recognized work, "South Park," follows the misadventures of four irreverent grade-schoolers in the quiet, dysfunctional town of South Park, Colorado, and it recently ended its 9th season on COMEDY CENTRAL.. Click here for more.
John Rennie is only the seventh editor in chief in the nearly 155-year history of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN magazine. Since his appointment in late 1994, he has been the creative force behind the modernization and reinvigoration of this great publishing institution. For several years, Rennie also worked by night as a sketch and improvisational comedian in New York, Boston and college venues. These days his major hobby is the study of karate, in which he holds the rank of nidan (2nd degree black belt). Click here for more.
Christopher Hitchens is an author, journalist and literary critic. He has been a columnist at Vanity Fair, The Nation and Slate; additionally, he is an occasional contributor to many other publications. Mr. Hitchens has appeared regularly at the Amazing Meeting, and is an old friend of the JREF. Click here for more.
Adam Savage is co-host of the Discovery Channel’s highly rated MythBusters. Adam is a master builder, with a rich background in model building for the entertainment industry. He has created props and models for more than 100 television commercials and 12 feature films, including Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Galaxy Quest, Terminator 3, A.I. and the Matrix sequels. He is also a talented sculptor and artist, and has been one of the most popular and entertaining speakers at TAM. Click here for more.
Dr. Phil Plait is a real live astronomer currently working in the physics and astronomy department at Sonoma State University, a member of the California State University system. Phil earned his Ph.D. in 1994 from the University of Virginia He currently works on a NASA-sponsored public outreach program for a satellite named GLAST (Gamma Ray Large Area Space Telescope). Phil runs the excellent BadAstronomy.com, and has participated in each and every TAM thus far. Click here for more.
Dr. Richard Wiseman started his working life as an award-winning professional magician, and was one of the youngest members of The Magic Circle. He earned a doctorate in psychology from the University of Edinburgh. For the past twelve years he has been the head of a research unit at the University of Hertfordshire, and in 2002 was awarded Britain's first Professorship in the Public Understanding of Psychology. Prof Wiseman’s research has been featured on over 150 television programs. Click here for more.
Penn and Teller have performed together for 30 years; skewering the genre of magic, their sold-out audiences, and themselves -- very often all at the same time, within one mind-boggling evening. They call themselves “a couple of eccentric guys who have learned how to do a few cool things.” They have appeared, well, everywhere on television, and have been great supporters and friends of the JREF since it began. Click here for more.
Dr. Eugenie C. Scott, a former college professor, is Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education, Inc., a not for profit membership organization in Oakland, CA, of scientists, teachers, and others that works to improve the teaching of evolution, and of science as a way of knowing. She has held elective offices in the American Anthropological Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Scott is the current president of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists. Honors include the Bruce Alberts Award of the American Society for Cell Biology, the Isaac Asimov Science Award from the American Humanist Association, the First Amendment Award from the Playboy Foundation, the James Randi Award from the Skeptic Society, and the Distinguished Alumna Award from the University of Missouri College of Arts and Sciences. Click here for more.
Peter Sagal has been the host of Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! since May, 1998. A native of Berkeley Heights, N.J., he attended Harvard University and subsequently worked as a literary manager for a regional theater, a stage director, an actor, an extra in a Michael Jackson video, a travel writer, an essayist, a ghost writer for a former adult film impresario and a staff writer for a motorcycle magazine. He is the author of numerous plays that have been performed in large and small theaters around the country and abroad. He has also written a number of screenplays. With Wait Wait, Peter has traveled around the country, playing to sold-out theaters from Seattle to Akron, Ohio, and many points in between. He's asked Salman Rushdie about PEZ dispensers, Sen. John McCain about drive-through topless joints, and inquired as to Madeleine Albright's weightlifting accomplishments. He also wrote the introduction and contributed much of the material to the Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! quiz book, and can juggle three balls pretty well. Click here for more.
Dr. Neil Gershenfeld is the Director of MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms. His unique laboratory investigates the relationship between the content of information and its physical representation, from molecular quantum computers to virtuosic musical instruments. Technology from his lab has been seen and used in settings including New York's Museum of Modern Art and rural Indian villages, the White House/Smithsonian Millennium celebration and automobile safety systems, the World Economic Forum and inner-city community centers, Las Vegas shows and Sami herds. He is the author of numerous technical publications, patents, and books, and has been selected as one of the top 100 public intellectuals. Dr. Gershenfeld has a BA in Physics with High Honors and an honorary Doctor of Science from Swarthmore College, a Ph.D. from Cornell University, was a Junior Fellow of the Harvard University Society of Fellows, and a member of the research staff at Bell Labs. Click here for more.
Dr. Nick Gillespie is editor-in-chief of Reason, a libertarian monthly named one of "The 50 Best Magazines" for two straight years by The Chicago Tribune. Established in 1968 and a four-time finalist for National Magazine Awards, Reason has a print circulation of about 55,000. Reason Online, the magazine's Web edition, draws around 1 million visits per month. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Slate, Salon, and many other publications. He is a frequent commentator on radio and television programs such as National Public Radio's All Things Considered, CNN's American Morning, Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, and C-SPAN's Washington Journal. Click here for more. Click here for more.
Ron Bailey is the award-winning science correspondent for the libertarian monthly magazine of culture and politics, Reason. He is the author of the new book Liberation Biology: The Moral and Scientific Case for the Biotech Revolution (Prometheus), and his work appears in the The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2004. In April, 2006, Baileywas shortlisted by the editors of Nature Biotechnology as one of the 22 personalities who have made the most significant contributions to biotechnology in area of society and ethics in the last 10 years. Click here for more.
Lori Lipman Brown served as Nevada State Senator from 1992 to 1994. Her legislative record in the arenas of public education, mental health care and the repeal of consensual sex crimes resulted in her being named Civil Libertarian of the Year by the Southern Nevada chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and Legislator of the Year by the Nevada chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. Brown has been a frequent political commentator on television and radio and a regular columnist in a variety of print media. She has facilitated or presented at numerous events, including conferences of the American Humanist Association, the Secular Student Alliance and the Humanist Association of Las Vegas and Southern Nevada. She also served as the National Education Association's diversity trainer from 1996 to 2000. She is currently Director of the Secular Coalition for America. Click here for more.
Dr. Hal Bidlack (Lt Colonel, USAF, Ret) is your Master of Ceremonies and Panel Host. He served over 25 years in the Air Force, as an Associate Professor of Political Science at the USAF Academy, on the National Security Council Staff at the White House, as a military advisor in the Department of State, as well as being a military cop. He has a long history with the JREF, and has previously performed as Master of Ceremonies, speaker, and presenter. He is a father of three, and a widower, who is not quite sure what he believes in. Click here for more.
Margaret Downey was born into a multi-cultural family in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Growing up in a highly prejudiced southern society in the 1950s, Margaret became concerned about persecution from an early age. She has devoted her life to ending any and all discrimination against any and all peoples of the world. She became an openly declared Atheist and activist in her twenties. Free from the constraints of religious dogma and patriarchal systems, Margaret became involved with the feminist movement. Margaret fought for basic rights such as freedom of expression, freedom of choice, personal family leave for working parents, equal pay, and promotional opportunities for women. In 1980 Margaret became a business woman when she established her own interior design service. The independence of being the sole owner of a business enabled Margaret to become more involved in modern day issues. She is active in issues such as maintaining the Jeffersonian wall of church/state separation, freedom from religious intrusion, freedom of choice, and death with dignity. Click here for more.
Bob Carroll authored The Skeptic's Dictionary, published in August 2003 by John Wiley & Sons. The book is based on his popular website. This tremendous resource has been used by tens of thousands as the go-to source for valid and reliable information on a cornucopia of skeptical issues and concerns. Click here for more.
Scott Dikkers Scott Dikkers is a founder and current editor-in-chief of The Onion, the world's most popular humor publication, with over 5 million readers a week both online and in print. The Onion spinoff "The Onion Radio News" reaches 12 million listeners on radio stations across the country and is frequently the #1 most downloaded podcast on iTunes. Scott was ranked as one of the nation's top 50 Internet Movers and Shakers by Time magazine, was listed on the "It List" of Entertainment-industry power players in Entertainment Weekly magazine, and was named in Rolling Stone as one of readers' top 10 favorite writers. He is the author of several humor books, including "You Are Worthless," a self-help parody, "Destined for Destiny: the Unauthorized Autobiography of George W. Bush," and "Our Dumb Century," a #1 bestseller and winner of the Thurber Prize for American Humor. Click here for more.
Ray Hall is a physics professor at California State University at Fresno and a researcher in the field of experimental high energy physics. He is a member of the D0 Collaboration at Fermi National Laboratory and is part of the team that discovered and studies the fundamental particle known as the top quark.  Ray also develops and teaches general education courses on critical thinking (Science and Nonsense) and an honors cours on the philosophy of science. He's presented at the JREF Sunday sessions at TAM1 and TAM2 and has coordinated the paper sessions for the past two years. Click here for more.
Diane Swanson is the author of more than 60 books on science and nature, including Nibbling on Einstein's Brain: The Good, the Bad & the Bogus in Science  and   Turn it Loose - The Scientist in Absolutely Everybody. She is a much sought after speaker and presenter, and has won many awards for her writing. Click here for more.
Jamy Ian Swiss is a magician in the same way that Rembrandt was a painter. His artistry with cards and other tools of the trade is unmatched. An acclaimed master of the challenging art of sleight of hand, Swiss has performed magic throughout the United States for presenters ranging from Fortune 500 companies to the Smithsonian Institution. He has lectured to magicians in 13 countries and made numerous television appearances in the United States, Europe and Japan, including U.S. appearances on CBS 48 Hours, PBS Nova and the PBS documentary The Art of Magic, and Comedy Central.Generously involved with each TAM thus far, Swiss is as nice a man as he is skilled in conjuring. Click here for more.
Banachek is often described as the "Cream of the Crop" when it comes to entertainers, and is the world's leading Mentalist. His talents are so incredible that he is the only mentalist ever to fool scientists into believing he possessed 'Psychic powers' but to later reveal he was fooling them. Performers around the world such as the colorful Penn & Teller, "The Amazing" James Randi and television's unique magician David Blaine seek his performing expertise. Banachek, one of the "Alpha Kids," has been a great friend of the JREF for many years. Click here for more.
Julia Sweeney has combined a keen intellect with a superb gift for communicating in three critically acclaimed one-woman shows. Her most recent, Letting go of God won numerous awards, and will soon be released on
DvD. While most famous for her four years on Saturday Night Live, Sweeney's credits include many films and TV shows, as well as her solo shows and performances. Sweeney has often been rated as a top speaker at previous TAMs. Click here for more.
Jill Sobule is a musician of exceptional skill and passon. Her work is at once deeply personal and socially conscious, seriously funny and derisively tragic. Over five albums and a decade of recording, the Denver-born songwriter/guitarist/singer has tackled such topics as the death penalty,anorexia, shoplifting, reproduction, the French resistance movement, adolescence, and the Christian right. She entertains, amuses, provokes, and more often then not, takes her audiences on an emotional roller coaster, from comedy to pathos in a few bars of music. Click here for more.
James "The Amazing" Randi is the Founder and President of the James Randi Educational Foundation. Click here for more.