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Richard Dawkins - KEYNOTE EVENT


 A British zoologist, born in Nairobi, in Kenya, Dawkins is one of the most prominent biologists alive today. Formerly Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford until his retirement, he is founder of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.

He is the author of a number of best-selling books, including The Selfish Gene, The Ancestor's Tale, Unweaving the Rainbow, The God Delusion, and The Greatest Show on Earth.

James Randi
RANDI1 Has an international reputation as a magician and escape artist, but today he is best known as the world's most tireless investigator and demystifier of paranormal and pseudoscientific claims. Randi has pursued "psychic" spoonbenders, exposed the dirty tricks of faith healers, investigated homeopathic water "with a memory," and generally been a thorn in the sides of those who try to pull the wool over the public's eyes in the name of the supernatural.

He has received numerous awards and recognitions, including a Fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in 1986.

On October 19, 1993, the PBS-TV NOVA program broadcast a one-hour special dealing with Randi's life work, particularly with his investigations of Uri Geller and various occult and healing claims being made by scientists in Russia.

He is the author of numerous books, including The Truth About Uri Geller, The Faith Healers, Flim-Flam!, and An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural. His lectures and television appearances have delighted - and vexed - audiences around the world.

In 1996, the James Randi Education Foundation was established to further Randi's work. Randi's long-standing challenge to psychics now stands as a $1,000,000 prize administered by the Foundation. It remains unclaimed.

Phil Plait
plait_phil An astronomer, author, and blogger. His new book, Death from the Skies!, is about all the ways cosmic catastrophes can wipe out life on Earth. His Bad Astronomy blog is now hosted by Discover magazine and was recently chosen as one of the Top 25 Blogs of 2009 by Time magazine. He has attended every single TAM and has no plans to stop any time soon.

Jennifer Michael Hecht
jennifermichaelhecht The author of award-winning books of philosophy, history, and poetry. Her Doubt: A History (HarperOne, 2003) demonstrates a long, strong history of religious doubt from the origins of written history to the present day, all over the world. Hecht's The End of the Soul: Scientific Modernity, Atheism and Anthropology (Columbia University, 2003), won the Phi Beta Kappa Society's 2004 prestigious Ralph Waldo Emerson Award “for scholarly studies that contribute significantly to interpretations of the intellectual and cultural condition of humanity.”

Hecht's first poetry book, The Next Ancient World won the Poetry Society of America's 2002 Norma Farber First Book Award. Her most recent poetry book, Funny, won the University of Wisconsin's 2005 Felix Pollak Poetry Prize, and Publisher's Weekly called it “one of the most original and entertaining books of the year.”

Dr. Michael Shermer
shermer_michael 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 last book was Why Darwin Matters: Evolution and the Case Against Intelligent Design, and he is the author of Science Friction: Where the Known Meets the Unknown, about how the mind works and how thinking goes wrong. His book The Science of Good and Evil: Why People Cheat, Gossip, Share Care, and Follow the Golden Rule, is on the evolutionary origins of morality and how to be good without God. He wrote a biography, In Darwin's Shadow, about the life and science of the co-discoverer of natural selection, Alfred Russel Wallace. He also wrote The Borderlands of Science, about the fuzzy land between science and pseudoscience, and Denying History, on Holocaust denial and other forms of pseudohistory. 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.

Dr. Shermer received his B.A. in psychology from Pepperdine University, M.A. in experimental psychology from California State University, Fullerton, and his Ph.D. in the history of science from Claremont Graduate University (1991). He was a college professor for 20 years (1979-1998), teaching psychology, evolution, and the history of science at Occidental College (1989-1998), California State University Los Angeles, and Glendale College. Since his creation of the Skeptics Society, Skeptic magazine, and the Skeptics Distinguished Science Lecture Series at Caltech, he has appeared on such shows as The Colbert Report, 20/20, Dateline, Charlie Rose, Larry King Live, Tom Snyder, Donahue, Oprah, Lezza, Unsolved Mysteries (but, proudly, never Jerry Springer!), and other shows as a skeptic of weird and extraordinary claims, as well as interviews in countless documentaries aired on PBS, A&E, Discovery, The History Channel, The Science Channel, and The Learning Channel. Shermer was the co-host and co-producer of the 13-hour Family Channel television series, Exploring the Unknown.

Paul Kurtz
paulkurtzFounder and chair emeritus of the Center for Inquiry Transnational in Amherst, N.Y. and its federated organizations, including the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (founded 1976) and the Council for Secular Humanism (founded 1980). Kurtz also founded Prometheus Books. Kurtz is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

The Peepshow Trio


Featuring Gary Stockdale, composer for Penn & Teller: BULLSHIT! and Amy Engelhardt from the hit vocal group The Bobs.

Collectively, THE PEEPSHOW TRIO peeps have shared the stage, screen or studio with everyone from Barbra Streisand to Buckethead, Henry Mancini to Oasis to Neil Diamond, Cop/Rock to Jim Henson’s Muppets, Neil Young to Florence Henderson, and from Lalo Schifrin to Al Jardine (The Beach Boys) to Harry Shearer.  They’ve performed for the crowned heads of Europe, the bald heads of Hoboken, and the Deadheads of Santa Cruz.  And Al Gore.

Their set will showcase original music by Stockdale and Engelhardt as well as truly original takes on tunes from the pop lexicon.

Penn & Teller

While they were scheduled to appear, Penn & Teller regret that they won't be able to join us at this year's TAM due to unplanned overseas travel. They hope to be back next year, bigger than ever.

Defying labels, and at times, good taste. They’ve 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.

September is an exciting month for the duo as they celebrate their fifth year as headliners in their own theater at the Rio All-suite Hotel & Casino, as well as two Emmy nominations for their Showtime series, Penn & Teller: Bullshit!.

And along the way, Penn & Teller have made the hardest trick of all – a remarkable career that ranges from stage to television to three best-selling books – look easy. And they’ve done it all on their own, distinctively offbeat terms.

They call themselves “a couple of eccentric guys who have learned how to do a few cool things.” Since first teaming up in 1975, when they combined Teller’s silent, occasionally creepy, magic with Penn’s clown college education and juggling expertise, the two have created an entertainment success story that went from the streets to small clubs to national theater tours, and now to a current, multi-year engagement at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

Adam Savage
adam_savage Spent his life gathering skills to take what's in his brain, and make it real. He's built everything from ancient buddhas, to futuristic weapons, from spaceships to dancing vegetables, from fine art sculptures to animated chocolate- and just about anything else you can think of.

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. Having held positions as a projectionist, animator, graphic designer, carpenter, interior and stage designer, toy designer, welder, scenic painter, and worked with every material and process he could get his hands on; metal, paper, glass, plastic, rubber, foam, plaster, pneumatics, hydraulics, animatronics, neon, glassblowing, mold-making, and injection molding to name a few.

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, Galaxy Quest, Terminator 3, A.I. and the Matrix sequels. He's also designed props and sets for Coca-Cola, Hershey's, Lexus and a host of New York and San Francisco theater companies.

His skills don't end there. Not only has he worked and consulted in the research and development division for toy companies, and made several short films, but he's also acted in several films and commercials — including a Charmin ad, in which he played Mr. Whipples' stock boy. And a Billy Joel music video, Second Wind, in which he drowns.

And now, 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. And somehow, he also finds time to devote to his own art; his sculptures have been showcased in over 40 shows in San Francisco, New York and Charleston, W.V.

Dr. R. Elisabeth Cornwell

cornwellDr. R. Elisabeth Cornwell is the Executive Director of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. She has been responsible for bringing Richard Dawkins to a number of universities across the US and Canada as part of a general outreach program to students. She initiated the OUT Campaign and more recently Non-Believers Giving Aid, which raised over $500,000 for Doctors Without Borders and the International Red Cross for Haiti relief. In addition to her work with the Foundation, she is an evolutionary psychologist whose research includes examining the underlying mechanisms of human mate selection. More recently she has been exploring the relationship of various psychological traits to religious belief, across the spectrum from strong theism to strong non-theism.

Dr. Rachael Dunlop
rachaeldunlopWith her PhD from Sydney University Medical School, "Dr. Rachie" works full time in heart disease research and is a member of the New South Wales committee of Australian Skeptics. She is also part of the Mystery Investigators show for schools and co-organises the Sydney Skeptics meet-up group, and contributes to The Sceptics' Book of Pooh-Pooh blog. In a previous life, Rachael worked as a copywriter for an advertising agency writing commercials for televison, radio and press and then as a graphic designer. Rachael has a passion for combining her knowledge of art and science through scientific communication.

Steven Novella, MD

novella_steveFounder and currently Executive Editor of Science-Based Medicine, SteveNovella is an academic clinical neurologist at the Yale University School of Medicine. He is also the president and co-founder of the New England Skeptical Society, the host and producer of the popular weekly science podcast, The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe, and the author of the NeuroLogicaBlog, a daily blog that covers news and issues in neuroscience, but also general science, scientific skepticism, philosophy of science, critical thinking, and the intersection of science with the media and society. Dr. Novella also contributes every Sunday to The Rogues Gallery, the official blog of the SGU.

Carol Tavris
caroltavris A social psychologist and author. She received a Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Michigan, and has taught psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles and the New School for Social Research. She is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science and the Center for Inquiry and has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Times Literary Supplement, and other publications.

She will be speaking on the subject of her latest book, written with Elliot Aronson, Mistakes Were Made (but not by ME)—or why it is that all of us, including skeptics, prefer to justify our bad decisions, dated beliefs, and harmful mistakes. She is also author of The Mismeasure of Woman; Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion; and, with Carole Wade, several leading psychology textbooks.

D.J. Grothe
grothe_dj President of the James Randi Educational Foundation. A contributing editor to Skeptical Inquirer magazine, he lectures and debates frequently on topics surrounding science and central beliefs at colleges and universities throughout the United States. He hosts the podcast and radio show, For Good Reason, discussing fundamental questions with the world's thought-leaders, exploring the implications of the scientific outlook for society's most cherished convictions. Formerly a "mind-reader" and magician, he studies the processes of deception and self-deception.

Simon Singh
simonsingh MBE is a British author of Punjabi background, who has specialized in writing about mathematical and scientific topics in an accessible manner. He is the youngest of three brothers, his eldest brother being Tom Singh, the founder of the UK New Look chain of stores.

His written works include Fermat's Last Theorem (in the United States titled Fermat's Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical Problem), The Code Book (about cryptography and its history), Big Bang (about the Big Bang theory and the origins of the universe) and Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial (about complementary and alternative medicine).

He has also produced documentaries and works for television to accompany his books, is a trustee of NESTA, the National Museum of Science and Industry and co-founded the Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme.

In 2008, Singh was sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association for criticizing their activities in a column in The Guardian.

Martin Gardner [by Video]
martingardner(born October 21, 1914) is an American recreational mathematician and author of the long-running but now discontinued 'Mathematical Games' column in Scientific American. Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Martin Gardner more or less singlehandedly sustained and nurtured interest in recreational mathematics for most of the 20th century. His interests are wide, ranging from science and philosophy to magic and the skeptical movement associated with James Randi. He lives in Norman, Oklahoma.

Occasional conferences of people sharing his interests, known as the Gatherings for Gardner, are held in his honour. The first was held in 1993.

Debbie Goddard
debbiegoddardDebbie Goddard is a campus organizer at the Center for Inquiry.  Before working for CFI, she participated in local freethought groups in the greater Philadelphia region and helped organize and support campus groups internationally as a volunteer.  She has also been involved with progressive issues and activism.

Jamy Ian Swiss
swiss_jamyian [www.jamyianswiss.com] has appeared internationally for presenters ranging from Fortune 500 companies to the Smithsonian Institution. He is the author of books including a collection of essays entitled Shattering Illusions, and The Art of Magic. His U.S. television appearances include CBS 48 Hours, PBS Nova and the PBS documentary The Art of Magic, Comedy Central, and repeat appearances on The Today Show. He has produced and written for television, including Penn & Teller's Sin City Spectacular.

As a public speaker, Jamy uses "magical metaphors" to address business audiences, from advertising giant Publicis to technology and design groups at Adobe, Intuit, and Electronic Arts. An expert in deception, he has lectured to magicians in 13 countries; to prosecutors and law enforcement about con games and street scams; to casino and gaming industry executives about cheating and gaming protection; and to scientists and academics on "The Illusion of Psychic Powers". A founder of the National Capital Area Skeptics, and of the New York City Skeptics, he hosted and performed for the opening night of the very first TAM, and he continued to perform or lecture at the second, third, fourth, and fifth TAMs.
In an in-depth profile about Jamy and the art of magic in the New Yorker, Adam Gopnik writes, "Swiss is widely thought to have one of the most masterly sleight-of-hand techniques in the world today ... like seeing Yo-Yo Ma practicing scales at Carnegie Hall."

Described as the "Cream of the Crop" when it comes to entertainers, Banachek 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' – and then he later revealed he was fooling them., Performers around the world such as the colorful Penn & Teller, James “The Amazing” Randi and television's unique street magician Criss Angel seek his performing expertise.

Massimo Pigliucci
massimopigliucciProf. Pigliucci has a Doctorate in Genetics from the University of Ferrara (Italy), a PhD in Evolutionary Biology from the University of Connecticut, and a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Tennessee. He has done post-doctoral research in evolutionary ecology at Brown University and is currently Professor of Philosophy at the City University of New York. His research interests include the philosophy of biology, in particular the structure and foundations of evolutionary theory, the relationship between science and philosophy, and the relationship between science and religion.

Karen Stollznow
karenstollznowDr Karen Stollznow is a Host of the Center for Inquiry’s Point of Inquiry podcast, and the Skeptics Society’s Monster Talk podcast. A prolific skeptical writer and investigator of pseudoscience and the paranormal, she is the “Naked Skeptic” web columnist for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and the “Bad Language” columnist for Skeptic magazine. Dr Stollznow is a frequent contributor to many sites and publications, including Skeptical Inquirer, the Skepbitch and Skepchick blogs, and is the managing editor of CSI’s Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice. She is a linguist and Researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, and a Director of the San Francisco Bay Area Skeptics.

Joe Nickell
nickell_joeHe has been called "the modern Sherlock Holmes," the "real-life Scully" (from the X-Files), and other appellations. He is well into his fourth decade as an investigator of historical, paranormal, and forensic mysteries, myths and hoaxes. In contrast to mystery-mongerers on the one hand and so-called debunkers on the other, he believes that mysteries should actually be investigated with a view toward solving them. Nickell is the world's only full-time professional paranormal investigator -- the "Investigative Files" writer for Skeptical Inquirer science magazine who travels around the world investigating strange mysteries at the very fringes of science. The role utilizes his varied background: former stage magician (Resident Magician at the Houdini Hall of Fame), private investigator (for a world-famous detective agency), and academic (Ph.D in English, focusing on literary investigation and folklore, and author of some two dozen books).

Rebecca Watson
rebeccawatson Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org, co-hosts the weekly podcast The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe, produces pin-up calendars of scientists and skeptics, and attempts to rock harder each year. She currently lives in London where she works as a freelance writer in order to fund her hardcore skepticism habit. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. She does nothing in moderation and hopes it shows.

Bob Novella
bobnovellaA cofounder and Vice-President of the New England Skeptical Society, Bob has written numerous articles that are widely published in the skeptical literature and has a special interest in physics and astronomy, their abuse by pseudoscientists, and methods of self-deception.

Jay Novella
jaynovellaA skeptical satirist who lends his unique wry perspective on all things wacky and weird, Jay creates and maintains the internet technology including www.theness.com and www.theskepticsguide.org.

Evan Bernstein
evanbernsteinThe co-host of The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe and is the producer and co-host of The Skeptics Guide 5x5 weekly science podcasts, he posts a blog each Monday at The Rogues Gallery, the official blog of the SGU. Evan serves as the Connecticut Chapter Chairman for The New England Skeptical Society. He is also a technical adviser for official NESS investigations, and has been an active participant in the skeptical movement since 1996. Evan's profession is in television production, and he holds a BA in Communications from Central Connecticut State University.

The Skeptics Guide to the Universe
evanbernsteinThe Skeptics Guide to the Universe is a weekly Science podcast produced by the New England Skeptical Society (NESS) in association with the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) : discussing the latest news and topics from the world of the paranormal, fringe science, and controversial claims from a scientific point of view.

Donald R. Prothero
donprotheroDonald Prothero is Professor of Geology at Occidental College in Los Angeles, and Lecturer in Geobiology at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. He earned  M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. degrees in geological sciences from Columbia University in 1982, and a B.A. in geology and biology (highest honors, Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of California, Riverside. He is currently the author, co-author, editor, or co-editor of 25 books and over 200 scientific papers, including five leading geology textbooks and three trade books as well as edited symposium volumes and other technical works. He is on the editorial board of Skeptic magazine, and in the past has served as an associate or technical editor for GeologyPaleobiology and Journal of Paleontology. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America, the Paleontological Society, and the Linnaean Society of London, and has also received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Science Foundation. He has served as the Vice President of the Pacific Section of SEPM (Society of Sedimentary Geology), and five years as the Program Chair for the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. In 1991, he received the Schuchert Award of the Paleontological Society for the outstanding paleontologist under the age of 40. He has also been featured on several television documentaries, including episodes of Paleoworld (BBC),Prehistoric Monsters Revealed (History Channel), Entelodon and Hyaenodon (National Geographic Channel) and Walking with Prehistoric Beasts (BBC).

Sean Faircloth
seanfaircloth Hired as the Secular Coalition for America’s Executive Director in June of 2009.
He served a decade in the Maine State Legislature. In his last term he was elected the Majority Whip by his colleagues.  Sean Faircloth was an accomplished legislator, successfully spearheading over thirty pieces of legislation, including the deadbeat dad child support law, which saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. Faircloth had numerous legislative successes in children's issues and justice system reform.  While in office, he was selected to chair a Sex Crime Commission, the Early Childhood Commission, and a Commission on the Citizen's Initiative Process.
Faircloth was a strong advocate of the separation of church and state and received many awards of recognition including the 2006 Legislator of the Year Award from the Maine People's Alliance, the 2005 Excellence in Advocacy Award from the American Heart Association's Northeast Affiliate, and Legislator of the Year awards from the Maine Chapters of the American Academy of Pediatrics, The American Psychological Association, the National Association of Social Workers, and the Software Developers Association.

James McGaha
jamesmcgahaJames McGaha is a retired USAF pilot, astronomer and director of the Grasslands Observatory. He held a TOP SECRET compartmented security clearance and was involved in numerous classified operations including operations in the so-called "Area 51." His current work includes astrometry and photometry of asteroids and supernovae. He has discovered 15 Asteroids and 52 Comets and has over 1700 M.P.E.C. publications on Near Earth Asteroids. He is the winner of the 2002 Shoemaker NEO Grant. He has appeared widely in the media, having actively promoted science and debunked pseudoscience for over 35 years, focusing on belief in UFOs and astrology. He is the founder and chairman of the Tucson Skeptics and a Scientific Consultant to the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.

Ray Hyman
rayhymanRay Hyman is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Oregon and one of the leading figures of modern skepticism. He was a founding member of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (formerly CSICOP). He has been a consultant with the U.S. Department of Defense, helping investigate parapsychology for the government and is the author of many books, such as The Elusive Quarry, and many articles in the scholarly literature, such as his popular manuscript that teaches people how to appear to have psychic powers by using "cold reading." A former magician and mentalist, he has been featured on the cover of The Linking Ring, the magazine of the International Brotherhood of Magicians. Hyman was a co-recipient of the 2005 Robert P. Balles Prize in Critical Thinking, and also CSI's In Praise of Reason Award. For almost 20 years, he has run the popular Skeptics Toolbox, which trains rationalists in the best methods of advancing skepticism in our society..

Richard Saunders
richard_saunders_theonePodcaster, Vodcaster and TV Skeptic as seen on 'THE ONE', Richard is also Vice President of Australian Skeptics NSW. In his free time (free time?) he is also part of the Mystery Investigators show for schools. Richard is also an origami expert and author of 30 books for children. He travels often to the USA to speak at conventions and meetings. Richard founded Sydney Skeptics in the Pub.

Heidi Anderson

heidiheadshotHeidi Anderson is the Development Coordinator for a domestic violence/rape crisis center in Spartanburg, South Carolina and a freelance writer/speaker on sexuality. She is also a co-host of Parenting Beyond Belief, the official podcast for the Foundation Beyond Belief. She is the mother of two incredibly smart sons and the wife of one incredibly patient man. She can be reached through her Web site, fatoneinthemiddle.com, where essays on sexuality, skepticism, parenting, and body image can be found.

Julia Galef

juliagalefAfter graduating with a B.A. in statistics from Columbia in 2005, Julia Galef spent several years doing research with social science professors at Columbia, Harvard and MIT, including a year writing case studies on international economics for Harvard Business School. She is currently a full time writer and editor in New York, NY, and has covered a wide variety of subjects.

She is a blogger at Rationally Speaking, and with philosopher of science, Massimo Pigliucci, co-hosts the Rationally Speaking podcast, sponsored by the NYC Skeptics.

K.O. Myers
Founder of Grassroots Skeptics. He is a proud husband and father, a graduate of the Inaugural Class of the Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law, and was recently certified to practice law in Pennsylvania. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife and infant daughter. Grassroots Skeptics is his attempt at encouraging skepticism to make the transition from community to social movement.

Maria Walters
maria_headshotMaria Walters (a.k.a. Masala Skeptic) has spent a lot of time in ‘furrin parts,’ including Hong Kong, Trinidad, and Pittsburgh. Although her passport is from India, she’s spent most of her adult
life in the United States. She is the organizer of the Atlanta Skeptics and has a healthy obsession with making skepticism and
skeptical events a part of everyday life. She’s also a pop culture fanatic and often uses books, movies, advertising and comics as her reference material when she blogs at Skepchick.org and Masala-Skeptic.com. She lives in Atlanta with two smelly but
affectionate dogs and a husband, who is often less smelly.

Travis Roy
Travis4Co-founder and president of Granite State Skeptics. With over 10 years experience in the IT field he uses this experience to leverage technology to advance skepticism on the grassroots level. Along with monthly skeptics in the pub meetings, Granites State Skeptics has been involved in press communications and conducting investigations of allegedly haunted locations.

Harriet Hall, MD
hall_harrietHarriet Hall, MD also known as The SkepDoc, is a retired family physician who writes about pseudoscience and questionable medical practices. She received her BA and MD from the University of Washington, did her internship in the Air Force (the second female ever to do so),  and was the first female graduate of the Air Force family practice residency at Eglin Air Force Base. During a long career as an Air Force physician, she held various positions from flight surgeon to DBMS (Director of Base Medical Services) and did everything from delivering babies to taking the controls of a B-52. She retired with the rank of Colonel.  She recently published Women Aren’t Supposed to Fly: The Memoirs of a Female Flight Surgeon.

Jeff Wagg
jeffwagg The Communications and Outreach Coordinator of the JREF. During his five years at with the foundation, he has planned several Amazing Meetings, created the Amazing Adventure program (including a trip to the Galapagos), started the JREF scholarship program, and has overseen the forum with the stellar assistance of the volunteer administrators and moderators. A frequent lecturer and contributor to Swift, Jeff likes to focus on the philosphical side of skepticism, promoting the idea that the skeptics' movement should include anyone who's willing to question his/her beliefs. Jeff is also co-host of the weekly radio program and podcast, Rational Alchemy.

Alison Smith
smith_alison A retired private investigator, founder of Skeptical Analysis of the Paranormal Society, and Research Assistant for the JREF where she negotiates protocols for the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge. Her opinions on the critical thinking and the paranormal have been featured in eSkeptic, Skeptic Report, the newsletter of the Secular Student Alliance, MSNBC.com, and the LA Times blog. She has been interviewed on multiple radio shows and podcasts, and was one of the stars of truTV's Door to the Dead. Alison's investigations into the paranormal have led her all over the world, and she continues to post reports on critical thinking on her organization's web site.

Maggie McFee
Boston Skeptics

Ken Frazier 

Since 1977 he has been the editor of Skeptical Inquirer, the journal published by CSICOP. Frazier received a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Colorado and a M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University. He is a member of the National Association of Science Writers and the American Geophysical Union.

Frazier was the earth sciences editor of Science News in 1969–70. He was named managing editor in 1970–71, then editor from 1971 to 1977, and remained a contributing editor until 1981. In August 1977 he became the editor of the Skeptical Inquirer, a position he holds as of 2006.


Michael Goudeau
goudeau_michael Writer, executive producer, and all of the big head costume characters for Penn & Teller: Bullshit! That arm holding a bone in the photo is Teller.  Goudeau was also part of the Penn Jillette radio show and is a relatively well known comedy juggler but really, how far can you ride that?

Michael Weber
Michael_with_badgerMichael Weber inhabits a unique position in the world of theprofessional wonder-worker. He holds Masters andDoctorate degrees and has performed before three U.S.Presidents and the Prime Minister of the Great Britain.

Weber's fascination and facility with "Forbidden Knowledge"spans nearly four decades. His lifelong interest in deception,brainwashing,  lock picking, camera-less photography, hypnosis,mind reading and cryptography have permitted him access toworlds of experts and experiences which remain well-hiddenfrom the general public.

Widely respected for his problem-solving abilities, hisprofessional insights have been sought around the globe.Scientific American described him as "...a walking Swiss Army Knife."

Weber co-founded the consulting company DeceptivePractices which provides "Arcane Knowledge On a Need-To-Know Basis " to film, theater and television and has workedwith writers and directors ranging from Scorsese to Zemekis.Recent examples of his work can be seen in the feature films The Illusionist,The Prestige and Ocean's 13. He is currently consulting onthe upcoming Broadway musical HOUDINI starring Hugh Jackman.

Michael Feldman


Michael Feldman has been active in the skeptical community for over ten years, beginning with a college internship at the James Randi Educational Foundation. He is the co-founder and president of New York City Skeptics and a co-founder of "Drinking Skeptically." He is also a principal organizer of the Northeast Conference on Science & Skepticism.

Michael graduated Boston University School of Law in 2003. He began his legal career practicing securities litigation in the New York City offices of Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP. His current practice includes estate planning and administration, real estate, and public benefits law. He is a member of the New York, New Jersey, and Florida bar associations and is a Department of Veterans Affairs accredited attorney.

Jennifer Newport

jennewportJennifer Newport is the organizer for Chicago Skeptics and is vice-president of the Women Thinking Free Foundation.  She is smack dab in the middle of the process of taking a small meet-up group to the next level.  How do you let people know you’re out there?  How do you keep up the momentum?  How do you afford activities?  How do you appeal to diverse audiences?  Dr. Newport is a pediatrician who likes little more than giving out good vaccine advice and letting people know that those homeopathic teething tablets are really baby candy.


swoopyRobynn "Swoopy" McCarthy is an American skeptic and podcaster. She is the producer and co-host, with Derek Colanduno, of the talk show Skepticality, the official biweekly podcast of The Skeptics Society's Skeptic magazine. She is the Director for the Podcasting fan track at Dragon*Con.

Roy Zimmerman
royzimmerman What's funny about war, poverty, ignorance, bigotry, neo-conservatism, homophobia, greed, lust and fear? Ask Roy Zimmerman. He's been writing satirical songs for twenty years. The Los Angeles Times says, "Zimmerman displays a lacerating wit and keen awareness of society's foibles that bring to mind a latter-day Tom Lehrer." Tom Lehrer himself says, "I congratulate Roy Zimmerman on reintroducing literacy to comedy songs. And the rhymes actually rhyme, they don't just 'rhyne.'" Joni Mitchell says, "Roy's lyrics move beyond poetry and achieve perfection." There's a decidedly Lefty slant to his lyrics. "We used to have a name for Right Wing satire," he says. "We called it 'cruelty.'"

Barry Karr
Executive Director of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) and the Center for Inquiry both headquartered in Amherst, New York.

Benjamin Radford
Benjamin Radford A scientific paranormal investigator, Managing Editor for Skeptical Inquirer magazine, and author or co-author of three books and hundreds of articles on skepticism, critical thinking, and paranormal investigation. He also wrote and directed two short films, and takes on extra projects in an apparent effort to deplete any free time.

Bruce M. Hood
Bruce M. Hood Currently the Director of the Bristol Cognitive Development Centre in the Experimental Psychology Department at the University of Bristol. He has been a research fellow at Cambridge University and University College London, a visiting scientist at MIT and a faculty professor at Harvard. He has been awarded an Alfred Sloan Fellowship in neuroscience, the Young Investigator Award from the International Society of Infancy Researchers, the Robert Fantz memorial award and recently voted to Fellowship status by the society of American Psychological Science.

Dr. Ginger Campbell
gingercampbell Has been an emergency physician since 1992 but she has a long-standing interest in mind-body medicine, the brain, and consciousness. In this podcast she shares recent discoveries from the world of neuroscience in a way that people of all backgrounds can enjoy. Dr. Campbell believes that understanding how the brain works gives us insight into what makes us human. She is also committed to showing how the scientific method has unraveled many long-standing mysteries.

Steve Craig
A man who knows his way around music. Throughout the twenty-five years he has been a musician, he has acted as guitarist, drummer, bassist, and pianist. He can be seen playing six nights a week as John Lennon in Planet Hollywood’s Fab Four Live show, and also enjoys a prolific singer/songwriter career.

Mac King
Hailed by many as the premiere comedy magician in the world today, Mac King was just named “Magician of the Year” by the Magic Castle in Hollywood, just rocked on Late Night with David Letterman, just broke a Guinness World Record, just appeared on his seventh TV special for NBC-TV, just got voted the 6th best show in all of Las Vegas, and is currently starring in the long running The Mac King Comedy Magic Show at Harrah’s Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas, where he resides with his wife and their daughter. He hates contests.

Daniel Loxton

daniel_loxton_TAM8_headshotDaniel writes and illustrates Skeptic magazine's bound-in science periodical for younger readers, Junior Skeptic. He is a frequent Skeptic magazine cover artist, Skepticblog contributor, and the author and illustrator of the 2010 kids' science book Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be.

Before taking over Junior Skeptic, Daniel worked for ten years as a professional shepherd near the Alaska Panhandle.

Mike "Jonsey" Jones
A pianist playing timeless jazz. The man recreates a lost jazz art form. He has made a mission of carrying on the tradition of two handed solo piano jazz with a new twist. Mike's music encompasses styles ranging from James P. Johnson and Fats Waller through Art Tatum and up to Dave McKenna and Oscar Peterson. For years, Mike performed at the finest jazz clubs in the Northeast, including Zinno, and Toast in New York, and Scullers and the Regatta Bar in Boston. Mike even appeared daily on the Nancy Merrill Show, a live television show on the CBS affiliate WHDH Channel 7 in Boston, before finding himself on stage nightly with Penn and Teller in Las Vegas.

Hal Bidlack

halbidlackUSAF (Ret.), was born in Michigan in 1958 and resided there until his graduation from the University of Michigan in 1980. Beginning in 1981, he served for more than 25 years as an officer in the United States Air Force, retiring in September, 2006, as a Lt. Colonel. He now lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Hal served in the Political Science Department at the Air Force Academy, where he taught thousands of cadets — who often wrote in course evaluations that “the Colonel is the best teacher I ever had.” In the Fall of 2007, the Academy invited Hal to return to the faculty as a civilian. He is an expert on the Presidency, the U.S. Constitution, and the Founding Fathers. He is a recognized national authority on Alexander Hamilton.

Hal will once again be lending his considerable talents as the Master of Ceremonies for TAM 7. It should be noted that in 2008, Hal ran for the U.S. Congress and stressed critical thinking in his campaign. He lost.

Naomi Baker

naomibakerNaomi Baker is founder and co-organizer of the two-year-old Houston Skeptic Society.  She works as a director for a private company that specializes in technologies to develop CO2 processing, and applies her 30 years experience in the energy business and engineering to address issues on science and general skepticism.  As an occasional blogger and speaker, TAM8 is her ninth JREF function. Her two grown sons also attend TAM.

Michael Blanford

michaelblanfordMichael Blanford is Director of Educational Programs for the James Randi Educational Foundation.  He has spent the last 15 years promoting science literacy, science appreciation, and critical thinking in a variety of settings. Michael has developed science curricula, group programs, and informal content for a number of institutions, including schools, community centers and museums.  He served as lead science facilitator to The Center For Inquiry's Camp Inquiry in 2009 and will be returning in 2010. Before coming to the JREF, he was coordinator for the Saint Louis Science Center’s Life Science Lab. Michael is also active in promoting skepticism at the grassroots and has served as Vice President of the historic Rationalist Society of St. Louis. He is the founder and President of The Skeptical Society of Saint Louis.