Speakers

The following is a current listing of confirmed speakers for TAM 2012.

Banachek

At the age of 18, Banachek became a test subject at a heavily funded university psychic research facility. For two years, scientists closely studied and tested his “psychic abilities”. Using only his skills as a self-taught magician and mentalist, Banachek astounded the scien­tists and made them believe! Only to immediately reveal it was all a hoax. Described as the “Cream of the Crop” when it comes to entertainers, Banachek is now without a doubt the world’s leading mental­ist, performing over 200 college shows a year. Companies and theaters across the globe seek him for his outstanding performances. As a tribute to his expert perform­ing abilities he has been awarded the coveted Psychic Entertainers Creativity award for his outstanding original contributions and inven­tions in the world of Mental Entertainment, the College Entertainer of The Year two years in a row, and the College Novelty Act Of The Year, beating out top bands, comedians and other variety performers from around the world. Banachek’s media credits are extensive. Demonstrating his abilities on the international and national stage, his personal credits include The Today Show, CNN Live, Frontline, Magic or Miracle, and Nightline, amongst hundreds of others. Banachek is also the director of the James Randi Educational Foundation’s Million Dollar Challenge.

Deirdre Barrett

Deirdre Barrett, Ph.D. is a psychologist on the faculty of Harvard Medical School’s Behavioral Medicine Program. She is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Dreaming: The Journal of the International Association for the Study of Dreams. Dr. Barrett has published dozens of academic articles and chapters on health, hypnosis, and dreams. Most recently Barrett has written on evolutionary psychology, especially the concept of supernormal stimuli—the idea that technology can create an artificial object which pulls an instinct more strongly than that for which it evolved.

Evan Bernstein

Evan Bernstein is a co-host of The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe radio show, as well as a co-cost of The Skeptics’ Guide 5×5 podcast. He serves as the chairman of the Connecticut Chapter of the New England Skeptical Society. Since 1996, Evan has been active in the skeptical movement as an investigator of paranormal claims, as well as serving as a technical adviser for The NESS. In 2011, Evan was published in Skeptical Blog Anthology, a book of blog posts nominated by readers of skeptic blogs from around the world.

Robert Blaskiewicz

Bob Blaskiewicz is a Marion L. Brittian Postdoctoral Fellow who teaches writing and 20th-century American literature at Georgia Tech. He specializes in WWII veterans’ writings, extraordinary/paranormal claims, and conspiracy theory. He is a co-editor of the website Skeptical Humanities, writes as “The Conspiracy Guy” on the CSI website, is editing a series of posts by fellow educators on the JREF Swift Blog, and is co-authoring a book about skepticism and the humanities. In the fall, he will be a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire.

Bryan Bonner & Matthew Baxter

Bryan Bonner and Matthew Baxter have been walking the fine line between dealing with skeptics and believers for almost two decades. They have done countless investigations covering all manner of paranormal claims, executed several different approaches of skeptical outreach, and have worked very hard to expose frauds within the paranormal community. Their approach can vary between extremely straightforward, sensitive, or humorous. Bryan and Baxter have been spending a portion of their time recently assisting Banachek with the MDC.

Kelly Carlin

Kelly began her showbiz life working in TV production for her mother and father on various shows for HBO. While at UCLA, Kelly discovered her voice as a writer, which lead her to a brief career in writing for film and TV with her writing partner and husband Robert McCall where they penned the Rose McGowan b-movie thriller Devil in the Flesh, and an episode of Fox’s The George Carlin Show. Currently, she is selling out theaters with her one woman show A Carlin Home Companion and hosting a weekly podcast, Waking from the American Dream at smodcast.com.

Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll is a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology, and a blogger at Cosmic Variance. He has appeared on TV shows such as The Colbert Report and Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman. His most recent book is From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time.

Hai-Ting Chinn

American mezzo-soprano Hai-Ting Chinn has been heard and seen in opera, concert, recital, and a number of unclassifiable hybrid shows that have found some use for her talents. She is currently featured in the revival of Philip Glass’ and Robert Wilson’s Einstein on the Beach, showing at venues around the world through March 2013. Other career highlights include roles with New York City Opera, The Wooster Group, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Waverly Consort, OperaOmnia, and P.D.Q. Bach/Peter Schickele; and appearances on the stages of Carnegie Hall, the Mann Center in Philadelphia, the Edinburgh Festival, the Verbier Festival, and London’s West End. With composer and fellow skeptic Matthew Schickele, Hai-Ting co-hosts the weekly podcast Scopes Monkey Choir, the podcast where music and sound meet science and skepticism (www.scopesmonkeychoir.com). At the HERE Arts Center in Manhattan, Hai-Ting is currently developing Science Fair, a staged solo show of science set to music. Her website: www.hai-ting.com


Miranda Celeste Hale

Miranda Celeste Hale is an English professor, freelance writer, and blogger whose research interests include the intersection of skepticism and rhetoric/composition pedagogy, public understanding of and engagement with the humanities, and the relationship between clear and precise writing and the effective dissemination of knowledge. She writes about a variety of topics related to language, rhetoric, education, atheism, skepticism, the Catholic Church, and the negative effects of childhood religious indoctrination.


Elisabeth Cornwell

Dr. R. Elisabeth Cornwell is Executive Director of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (US). 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.

Christopher DiCarlo

Dr. Christopher DiCarlo is a fellow, advisor, and board member of the Society of Ontario Free Thinkers and the Center for Inquiry Canada. He has been invited to speak at numerous national and international conferences and has written many scholarly papers on topics ranging from bioethics to cognitive evolution. His latest book, entitled How to Become a Really Good Pain in the Ass: A Critical Thinker’s Guide to Asking the Right Questions was released world-wide by Prometheus Press in August, 2011. He is a past Visiting Research Scholar at Harvard University in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences: Department of Anthropology and the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. Here, he conducted research for two books he is currently writing, entitled The Comparative Brain: The Evolution of Human Reasoning and The Evolution of Religion: Why Many Need to Believe in Deities, Demons, and the Unseen. In April, 2008 he was awarded TVO’s Big Ideas Best Lecturer in Ontario Award. In August, 2008, he was honoured with the Canadian Humanist of the Year Award from the Humanist Association of Canada. In September, 2008, he was awarded the UOIT Complementary Faculty Teaching Award.


Rachael Dunlop

Rachael Dunlop PhD is a campaigner for science-based medicine in Australia, with a special interest in refuting the claims of the anti-vaccination movement. She works as a science communicator and medical researcher with an interest in the links between algae and ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Rachael is a reporter for The Skeptic Zone podcast and blogs at the Skeptics Book of Pooh Pooh and Skeptics.com.au. She is also a vice president of the Australian Skeptics, and a member of Mystery Investigators science show for children. In 2010, Rachael won the Shorty Award in the Health category for the most interesting health and science information on Twitter. As an ex-graphic designer and copywriter, Rachael enjoys combining her love of science, art and social media as a means of communicating science to the public.

Brian Dunning

Science writer Brian Dunning is the host and producer of the podcast Skeptoid: Critical Analysis of Pop Phenomena (skeptoid.com), applying critical thinking to urban legends and popular pseudoscientific subjects promoted by the mass media. Skeptoid has a weekly audience of 193,000 listeners. Brian is also the author of four books based on the podcast. A computer scientist by trade, Brian uses new media to showcase the rewards of science and critical thinking. He has appeared on numerous radio shows and television documentaries, and also hosts the science video series inFact with Brian Dunning (infactvideo.com). He is a member of the National Association of Science Writers.

Sean Faircloth

Sean Faircloth is the Director of Strategy and Policy of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (US). He is author of Attack of the Theocrats: How the Religious Right Harms Us All and What We Can Do About It. Prior to joining the RDFRS, Faircloth was executive director at the Secular Coalition for America. Faircloth also served ten years in the Maine legislature. In his final term he was elected Majority Whip by his caucus colleagues. He speaks widely on separation of church and state, the Constitution, and secular strategy.

Stuart Firestein

Stuart Firestein is professor and chair of the department of biological sciences at Columbia University, where his highly popular course on ignorance invites working scientists to come talk to students each week about what they don’t know. His new book is Ignorance: How It Drives Science.

Julia Galef

Julia Galef is the co-founder of the Center for Applied Rationality, an organization teaching math- and cognitive science-based techniques for effective decisionmaking. In her spare time, Julia serves on the board of the New York City Skeptics, co-hosts their official podcast, Rationally Speaking, and writes and lectures on science and rationality. Julia received her B.A. in Statistics in 2005.

Pamela Gay

Pamela Gay is an astronomer, writer, and podcaster focused on using new media to engage people in science and technology. She is perhaps best known for her work on the Astronomy Cast podcast and with the CosmoQuest citizen science community. In addition to her podcasting, Pamela also communicates astronomy to the public through her blog Star Stryder. Her writing has also appeared in Lightspeed MagazineAstronomy magazine and Sky and Telescope magazine. Pamela received a B.S. in astrophysics from Michigan State University in 1996 and a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Texas in 2002. Today, she teaches at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.  She serves on the council of the American Association of Variable Star Astronomers and is part of the US organizing team for the 2008 Year of Astronomy.

David Gorski

David Gorski is an academic surgeon at Wayne State University School of Medicine, where he specializes in breast cancer surgery and serves as the Medical Director of the Alexander J. Walt Comprehensive Breast Center at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute. When not actively engaged in breast cancer research or taking care of patients, he is also the managing editor of the Science-Based Medicine blog and, working with Steve Novella, does his best to educate readers about what constitutes science- and evidence-based medicine and to combat the infiltration of pseudoscience into medicine, not to mention that he is responsible for a very popular skeptical blog written under a pseudonym that is not too difficult to find.

D. J. Grothe

D. J. Grothe is 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.

Harriet Hall

Harriet Hall, MD, aka “The SkepDoc,” is a retired family physician and former Air Force flight surgeon who writes prolifically about science, critical thinking, alternative medicine, and quackery. She is a CSI fellow, a contributing editor to both Skeptic and Skeptical Inquirer magazines, an editor of the Science-Based Medicine blog, an adviser to the Quackwatch website, a founding fellow of the Institute for Science in Medicine, and is on the editorial review board of the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database.


Jennifer Michael HechtJennifer Michael Hecht is the author of four history books and three volumes of poetry.  Her bestseller Doubt: A History demonstrates a long, strong history of religious doubt.  Hecht’s The End of the Soul: Scientific Modernity, Atheism, and Anthropology won the Phi Beta Kappa Society’s 2004 Ralph Waldo Emerson Award “for scholarly studies that contribute significantly to interpretations of the intellectual and cultural condition of humanity.”  Her most recent book, The Happiness Myth brings a skeptical eye to modern wisdom about the good life.  Hecht’s poetry books are The Next Ancient World which won three poetry awards, and Funny which Publisher’s Weekly called “one of the most original and entertaining books of the year.”  In 2010 she served as one of the five judges for the Nonfiction category of the National Book Award.  Her prose and poetry appear in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Boston Globe, and The Washington Post.  Hecht earned her Ph.D. in the History of Science from Columbia University in 1995 and now teaches in the Graduate Writing Program at The New School University and the MFA Writing Program of Columbia University. Her new prose book, Stay: A History of Suicide and a Philosophy Against It will be coming out with Yale University Press in 2013 and her new poetry book, Who Said, will also be coming out next year, with Copper Canyon.

Sharon Hill

Sharon Hill has been an active member of the skeptical community since 1993. In 2006, she began her blog Doubtful (idoubtit.wordpress.com) which covers topics relating to paranormal happenings, cryptozoology, anomalous natural phenomena, science & society and general skeptical goodness. Her day job is geologist and policy specialist. She has a Masters degree in education, specializing in Science and the Public, and runs the critical thinking newsblog, Doubtfulnews.com.

Bruce Hood

Bruce is a cognitive neuroscientist. He received his Ph.D. from Cambridge University, and was a visiting scientist at M.I.T. and associate professor at Harvard before returning to the UK to take up the Chair of Developmental Psychology at the University of Bristol. Last year, he delivered the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures Meet Your Brain broadcast on the BBC. The Christmas Lectures is the most prestigious appointment in public science engagement with former lecturers including David Attenborough, Richard Dawkins and Carl Sagan. Bruce is the author of SuperSense (2009) and The Self Illusion (2012).

George Hrab

George Hrab has gained international notoriety in the skeptic community with his award-winning weekly show The Geologic Podcast. Hrab brilliantly serves up the news of the week through sketches, music, and skeptical/free-thinking commentary with a bit of help from a cast of extraordinary characters straight out of his fertile imagination. A multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, producer, composer, and heliocentrist, Hrab has written and produced six independent CDs; performed for President Clinton; shared the stage with Elton John, Bernie Worrell, and many others; and has traveled across the country both as a drummer for the nationally recognized Philadelphia Funk Authority and as defacto President for Life of The Geologic Orchestra. Humbly following in the footsteps of such icons as Frank Zappa, Mark Twain, Carl Sagan, Will Rogers, and, yes, even Penn & Teller, Hrab has made it a personal quest to improve the cognitive thinking skills of each and every American by reaching them through their funny bones and dancing shoes.

Lawrence Krauss

Lawrence Krauss is a theoretical physicist and Director of the Origins Project at the Arizona State University and is the author of several bestselling books, including The Physics of Star Trek and most recently A Universe from Nothing. He is the winner of numerous international awards, and is the only physicist to have received major awards from all three US physics societies, the American Physical Society, the American Institute of Physics, and the American Association of Physics Teachers. In addition, he serves as co-chair of the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and on the Board of Directors of the Federation of American Scientists.

Lyz Liddell

Lyz Liddell is the Director of Campus Organizing for the Secular Student Alliance, coordinating the campus organizing team to deliver the SSA’s services and resources to affiliate groups and individual students. She will be speaking on the future of skepticism on college campuses.

Stephen Macknik

Stephen L. Macknik received his PhD at Harvard University, and he was a postdoctoral fellow with the Nobel Laureate Prof. David Hubel at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Macknik led his first laboratory at University College London, and is currently a Laboratory Director at the Barrow Neurological Institute. In his new book Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals About Our Everyday Deceptions (published in 15 languages and > 100 countries) he and his collaborator Susana Martinez-Conde have convinced some of the world’s greatest magicians to reveal their techniques for tricking the brain. They are columnists together for Scientific American Mind, the world’s premier lay magazine of mind and brain. Their fascinating work has taken them on a multi-year, worldwide exploration of illusions as well as magic and its ancient principles, and how they can be explained using the latest findings of cognitive neuroscience. The secrets behind illusions and magic tricks reveal how your brain works not just when watching experiencing entertainment, but also in everyday situations. He trained with professional magicians and is a member of the prestigious Magic Castle in Hollywood, and the Magic Circle in London. Stephen is among the premier science communicators in the United States and has appeared in dozens of television and radio appearances around the world including Discovery Channel’s Head Games and Daily Planet shows, NOVA:scienceNow, CBS Sunday Morning, NPR’s Science Friday, and PRI’s The World. Stephen’s research and scientific outreach activities have been featured in print in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Wired, The LA Chronicle, Quo, El Pais, The Times (London), The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, Der Spiegel, among hundreds of media stories all around the globe. He’s given over 100 public presentations about their work and published over 100 publications in journals including Nature, Nature Neuroscience, Neuron, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Susana Martinez-Conde

Susana Martinez-Conde received a BS in Experimental Psychology from Universidad Complutense de Madrid and a PhD in Medicine and Surgery from the Universidade de Santiago de Compostela in Spain. She was a postdoctoral fellow with the Nobel Laureate Prof. David Hubel and then an Instructor in Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Martinez-Conde led her first laboratory at University College London, and is currently the Director of the Laboratory of Visual Neuroscience at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix. Dr. Martinez-Conde has published her academic contributions in Nature, Nature Neuroscience, Neuron, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, and written dozens of popular science articles for Scientific American publications. She has a regular column in Scientific American: MIND, the world’s premier lay magazine of mind and brain, on the neuroscience of illusions. Dr. Martinez-Conde has collaborated in research and outreach projects with many world-renowned magicians and is a member of the prestigious Magic Castle in Hollywood and the Magic Circle in London. She is the Executive Producer of the annual Best Illusion of the Year Contest, and has worked with numerous international science museums, foundations and nonprofit organizations to promote neuroscience education. Her international bestselling book Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals About Our Everyday Deceptions has been published in 19 languages, distributed worldwide, and listed as one of the 36 Best Books of 2011 by The Evening Standard, London. Dr. Martinez-Conde has  been featured in print in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Wired, The LA Chronicle, Quo, El Pais, The Times (London), The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, Der Spiegel, among hundreds of media stories all around the globe. She is among the premier science communicators in the United States and has appeared in dozens of television and radio appearances around the world, including Discovery Channel’s Head Games and Daily Planet shows, NOVA:scienceNow, CBS Sunday Morning, NPR’s Science Friday, and PRI’s The World.

Sara E. Mayhew

International award-winning mangaka, Sara E. Mayhew, is a writer and illustrator that the prestigious Applied Arts magazine called “young blood commanding our attention”. The world renowned TED (Technology Entertainment Design) conference accepted Sara into their TED Fellowship program, a class of young world-changers on the cutting edge of their fields, for her work to promote science education through manga. In 2010, Nokia featured her in their Responsiveness campaign video on communicating the values of science literacy through art. The Ontario Arts Council recently awarded her a grant of $10,000 from their Northern Arts program for her latest series, Legend of the Ztarr, featured on the March/April 2012 issue cover of Skeptical Inquirer.

Bob Novella

Bob Novella is a co-founder and Vice-President of the New England Skeptical Society. He co-hosts the Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe podcast and blogs for SGU’s Rogues Gallery. He has also written numerous articles that are widely published in skeptical literature. Bob’s scientific interests lie in the extremes, from the gargantuan to the infinitesimal: astronomy and cosmology to particle physics and quantum mechanics. He is especially fascinated by the human capacity for self-deception and anticipated future technologies such as nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, and human augmentation.

Jay Novella

Jay has been a skeptical activist for 15 years who serves as a co-host and producer of The Skeptics’ Guide To The Universe, a popular science podcast. Jay is also the producer and director of SGU Video Productions whos videos can be seen on the SGU YouTube channel. He also is the Director of Marketing and Technology for The New England Skeptical Society, a not for profit organization focused on promoting higher standards of education, especially in the areas of science and critical thinking. For the past 3 years, Jay has served on the board of directors for the Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism, a yearly conference held in NYC. Jay also is a regular contributor to The Rogues Gallery, a popular science and skepticism blog.


Steven NovellaFounder and currently Executive Editor of Science-Based Medicine, Steve Novella is a JREF senior fellow and 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 of neuroscience and critical thinking. He is the author of two courses by The Teaching Company, including Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills.

Penn & Teller

Penn & Teller are eccentric magicians with a psychotic twist–defying labels and, at times, good taste. They’ve performed together for 30 years, skewering the genre of magic as well as their sold-out audiences and themselves–very often all at the same time within one mind-boggling evening. Along the way, Penn & Teller have made the hardest trick of all–a remarkable career that ranges from stage and 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 to do a few cool things.” Catch them live in Vegas.


Carrie PoppyCarrie Poppy is an actress, writer, activist and paranormal investigator. She is co-host of Oh No, Ross and Carrie!, a show that doesn’t just don’t just report on spirituality, fringe science and the paranormal; but actually participates in and experiments with such claims.

Paul Provenza

Paul Provenza is an actor, comedian and filmmaker, a self-professed skeptic currently based in Los Angeles. He is the host of the Showtime’s The Green Room, and co-author of ¡SATIRISTAS! Paul currently directs Kelly Carlin in her solo show, A Carlin Home Companion.

Benjamin Radford

Benjamin Radford is deputy editor of Skeptical Inquirer science magazine and a Research Fellow with the non-profit educational organization the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He has written over a thousand articles on a wide variety of topics, including urban legends, the paranormal, critical thinking, and science literacy. He is author of six books including Scientific Paranormal Investigation: How to Solve Unexplained Mysteries, and Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore. Radford is a regular columnist for LiveScience.com, Discovery News, and Skeptical Inquirer magazine. He has done first-hand research into mysterious phenomena including psychics, ghosts and haunted houses; exorcisms, miracles, Bigfoot, stigmata, lake monsters, UFO sightings, reincarnation, and crop circles, and many other topics. Radford has appeared on the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, the National Geographic Channel, the Learning Channel, CBC, CBS, BBC, CNN, and other networks with three letters.

James Randi

James Randi 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.

Amy Davis Roth

Amy Davis Roth writes for the popular blog Skepchick and is co-founder of the science, skepticism, and art blog Mad Art Lab. She also runs a handmade art business called Surly-Ramics where she along with her husband, Surly Johnny create hand-formed and hand-painted ceramic jewelry. Their “Smart Jewelry” line has been seen on intelligent, sexy skeptics from Australia to Canada and back. She is a 4th generation visual artist who resides in the heart of Hollywood, California.

Richard Saunders

Richard Saunders is the producer of The Skeptic Zone podcast and can be seen on national TV in Australia as the Skeptical Judge on THE ONE. Richard is also a Vice President of Australian Skeptics in NSW. In 2009 Richard exposed the trickery behind the PowerBalance wrist band fad. In his free time he is part of the Mystery Investigators, a critical thinking show for schools. Richard is also an origami expert and author of 30 books for children. He often travels to the USA to speak at conventions and meetings. He also founded Sydney Skeptics in the Pub in 2003.

Eugenie Scott

Eugenie Scott, a former university professor, is the Executive Director of NCSE. She has been both a researcher and an activist in the creationism/evolution controversy for over twenty-five years, and can address many components of this controversy, including educational, legal, scientific, religious, and social issues. She has received national recognition for her NCSE activities, including awards from scientific societies, educational societies, skeptics groups, and humanist groups. She has received eight honorary degrees for her work at NCSE. A dynamic speaker, she offers stimulating and thought-provoking as well as entertaining lectures and workshops. Scott is the author of Evolution vs Creationism and co-editor, with Glenn Branch, of Not in Our Classrooms: Why Intelligent Design Is Wrong for Our Schools.

Michael Shermer

Michael Shermer is the Publisher of Skeptic magazine, Executive Director of the Skeptics Society, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, host of the Skeptics Distinguished Science Lecture Series at Caltech, and an Adjunct Professor at Claremont Graduate University and Chapman University. Shermer is the author of The Believing Brain, The Mind of the MarketWhy Darwin Matters, and Why People Believe Weird Things among others. 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 has appeared on such shows as The Colbert Report20/20DatelineCharlie RoseLarry King LiveTom SnyderDonahueOprahLezza, Unsolved Mysteries (but, proudly, never Jerry Springer!), 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.

Eve Siebert

Eve Siebert has a Ph.D. in English literature from Saint Louis University. Her primary area of study is Old and Middle English literature, with secondary concentrations in Old Norse and Shakespeare. She taught college composition and literature classes for many years. She has recently had an article on creationist interpretations of Beowulf accepted for publication in Skeptical Inquirer. She contributes to the JREF series of Swift Blog posts on education, co-edits skepticalhumanities.com and is co-authoring a book called Was Shakespeare an Alien? Skepticism and the Humanities.


Karen StollznowDr. Karen Stollznow is a linguist, Bad Language columnist for Skeptic magazine, and author of the forthcoming books Language Myths, Mysteries and Magic, and Red, White and (True) Blue. She is a long-term investigator of paranormal and pseudoscientific beliefs and practices, a co-host of Monster Talk, and is a Research Fellow for the James Randi Educational Foundation.

Jamy Ian Swiss

Jamy Ian Swiss has appeared internationally for presenters ranging from Fortune 500 companies to the Smithsonian Institution. He is the author of books including The Art of Magic, and two collections of essays, the most recent is Devious Standards. His U.S. television appearances include CBS’ 48 Hours, PBS’ Nova, The Today Show, and repeat appearances on The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson. 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, about subjects including user experience, interface design, creativity and more. 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 has continued to perform or lecture at all TAMs since.

Carol Tavris

Carol Tavris is a social psychologist, lecturer, and writer. Her most recent book, Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts (co-authored with Elliot Aronson), has become something of a touchstone for the skeptical movement, because it explains why so many people resist evidence that discredits their beliefs–preferring instead to hold on to beliefs and practices that are dangerous or self-deluding. Her other books include Anger; The Mismeasure of Woman; and (with Carole Wade) two leading introductory textbooks in psychology. Many of her critical essays and book reviews have been collected in Psychobabble and Biobunk: Using psychological science to think critically about popular psychology. She is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, a member of the editorial board of Psychological Science in the Public Interest, and a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.

Brian Thompson

Brian Thompson is the Field Coordinator for the James Randi Educational Foundation. For several years, he has promoted scientific skepticism through humor and entertainment on podcasts, blogs, and in print media.  His writing has appeared in Skeptical Inquirer and the Young Australian Skeptics Blog Anthology.  At the JREF, Brian works with grassroots skeptical organizations and multimedia content producers to promote science and reason to the widest possible audience.

Michael Vassar

Michael Vassar is a board member and former president of the Singularity Institute. Prior to that he did nanolithography at NIST, volunteered in the Peace Corps in Kazakhstan, worked as a teacher and as an actuary, and co-founded the music rights management website Sir Groovy.