Cruise Ship Speakers

Astronomy & Space Science
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Raymond Arvidson
Planetary Scientist, Geologist & Astronomer
James S McDonnell University Professor
Coming from: Saint Louis,  Missouri  USA
Raymond Arvidson received a Ph.D. from Brown University in 1974. He is presently the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor Washington University in St. Louis, and Director of the Earth and Planetary Remote Sensing Laboratory. He focuses on teaching and research about current and past environments on the Earth, Mars, and Venus. Arvidson has lectured (and engaged passengers in numerous conversations) on planetary geology and astronomy, local and global geology, climate change, oceans, and how study of other planets fits into a better understanding of the Earth.

Dr William Bendel
Journey Through Space and Time
Coming from: Westminster,  Colorado  USA
Dr. Bill Bendel is an internationally recognized educator and has worked in partnership with NASA and the European Space Agency bringing innovative visualizations of the solar system’s planets and moons to worldwide audiences. His contemporary lectures include the latest news on Mars, Elon Musk and Exoplanets. He enjoys traveling and using his anecdotal lecturing style to make complex subjects easy to understand and to entertain cruise audiences about the mysteries of the universe. Dr. Bendel has provided enrichment lectures over the past 18 years to cruise ship audiences.

Dan Benedict
Astronomer & Astronomical Historian
Journalist, Educator, FRAS
Coming from: Dayton,  TN  USA
Astronomy journalist and educator Dan Benedict's interest in astronomy began at an early age and he is an avid practitioner of naked-eye astronomy, observing those celestial objects and phenomena that can be easily seen by the casual stargazer with the unaided eye. Selected as a participating journalist for a 1998 total solar eclipse cruise, Dan developed a particular interest in astronomy in the unique environment found aboard cruise ships, which he has been sharing with passengers ever since. An avid member of the Travelers' Century Club, he has sailed to more than 150 countries.

Harriet Brettle
Planetary Science & Space
B.Sc. PG Cert, FRAS
Coming from: Pasadena,  California  USA
Harriet is a PhD student in planetary sciences at the California Institute of Technology. Her research focuses on Jupiter and the Galilean moons; she is currently observing Europa using the Keck telescope on Hawaii and, separately, modelling storms on Jupiter their stability. As an active science communicator, Harriet is passionate about sharing her enthusiasm for space exploration with the public. She has covered the space industry for a number of organizations and regularly gives talks ranging from stand-up pub talks to school workshops.

Dr Ann Burgess
Naturalist, Ornithology, Astronomy and Destination Speaker
Coming from: Parksville,  British Columbia  Canada
Dr Ann Carroll Burgess is an award-winning writer, photographer, and lecturer who has had a varied and distinguished career in several disciplines. After graduation, she was hired by the Museum of Science in Boston as a planetarium lecturer, the youngest and only the second woman to hold that position at that time. Fifteen years ago Ann took up the challenge of lecturing at sea, sharing her passion for nature and astronomy as an enrichment lecturer. She continues to write and her Deck Chair Naturalist website is devoted to how you can to best observe nature from a ship.

Frank Buzzard
Astronomy and Space Exploration
Coming from: Vail,  Colorado  USA
Frank Buzzard spent a distinguished 30 year career with NASA at the Johnson Space Center retiring in 2003 after leading the NASA Columbia Accident Investigation Task Force. He then served as Program Manager for the International Space Station (ISS) Mission Integration Contract from 2003-2005. During his NASA career Mr. Buzzard served as Chief Engineer of the Space Shuttle, Chief Engineer of the ISS, and ISS Program Director/Senior System Integration Manager at NASA HQ. Mr Buzzard loves talking about Astronomy and Space Exploration.

Valerie Calderbank
Coming from: Wantage,  Oxfordshire  UK
Valerie graduated in Physics from King's College, London where she specialised in Nuclear Physics and Biophysics. When she took early retirement in the 1990s, she was able to pursue her lifelong interest in Astronomy and bought her own telescope. In recent years Valerie has put her knowledge to practical use by giving numerous talks on Astronomy. In recognition of this The Royal Astronomical Society appointed her as a Fellow in 2011.

Prof. Michael Chriss
Astronomy, History of Science & Astronomy
Coming from: Tucson,  Arizona  USA
Michael Chriss has spent a lifetime in teaching and popularizing science through public lectures and planetarium programs. He was Professor of Astronomy and Humanities at the College of San Mateo, and its Planetarium Director. He received his degrees in astronomy at the University of Arizona with further studies in History of Art and Science at Berkeley, Stanford, and Oxford University. Since 1985, when Halley's Comet appeared in the skies, he has lectured aboard cruise ships on astronomy and other topics. He currently is Associate Lecturer in Astronomy at the University of Arizona.University of Arizona.

Gary Fildes
Lead Astronomer at the Kielder Observatory
Coming from: Hexham,  Northumberland  UK
Gary is the Founder CEO and lead Astronomer at the Kielder Observatory in the UK. Having observed the skies and studied astronomy since the age of 8 - he built a world renowned observatory. However, he had an unlikely beginning in science - Starting off life as a bricklayer! He says: “I dreamt of building an observatory where we could all share the universe and the night sky, so I built the Kielder Observatory.” Gary has a wealth of knowledge in astronomy as well as an ability to communicate complex concepts in an easy to understand format. As a recognised author, TV presenter and inspirational speaker he is determined to spread the message about how astronomy can change lives!

Andy Green
Astronomy & Astronautics
Coming from: Milton,  Cambridge  UK
Andy has been actively involved in astronomy and space for over 43 years. He has travelled the world to promote astronomy, give presentations and lectures far and wide, visiting and talking to varied groups and visiting observatories as far afield as Hawaii, USA, Australia and Chile. He has visited several space agencies and their facilities including those at NASA and ESA. Andy has a degree in Geo-Science / Planetary Geology and is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. He is also a freelance space journalist/photographer and has had articles published in the British Interplanetary Society and Quest Magazine in the USA.

Ken Kelly
US Manned Space Programme: Mercury - Gemini - Apollo
Coming from: Leamington Spa,  Warwickshire  UK
Ken started his working life as a teacher and lecturer and taught Mathematics in the UK and Malaysia. Returning to the UK Ken swapped teaching for High Performance Sport. Awarded an Olympic Coach Scholarship in 1992, he has worked for a number of the UK’s leading sports bodies. As a counter-point to his professional work, Ken has studied the US and Soviet manned space programmes extensively, from Mercury to the Space Shuttle, Vostok to Soyuz. Ken is an experienced, innovative and engaging presenter having spoken extensively at conferences in the UK and abroad.

Professor John Lattanzio
Astronomy, Astrophysics & Astrobiology
Life in the universe
Coming from: Glen Waverley,  VIC  Australia
John is a Professor of astrophysics at Monash University. His specialty research areas are the lives of stars and the search for life in the Universe. He has published over 250 research papers, is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in the UK, and was made an Honorary Fellow of the Astronomical Society of Australia. He is the President of the International Astronomical Union's Commission on "Stellar Evolution ". John has a long record of delivering extremely successful and popular lectures to professional astronomers as well as the public.

John Maclean
Astronomy & Astrophysics
FRAS (Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society)
Coming from: Exeter,  Devon  UK
John is an experienced Science Communicator in the fields of Astronomy and Astrophysics and is an award winning Astro Photographer. He has a special interest in Cometary science and is a member of the UK Meteor Monitoring Network as well as participating as a communicator for NASA and ESA space missions. John is an experienced presenter with an engaging and humorous style accompanied with extremely professional graphic and audio presentations. John has the ability to communicate scientific concepts in a way that the audience both enjoys and understands. He is also able to provide "Stargazing" nights on board and can lead Aurora expeditions.

David (Michael) Mannion
Coming from: Canterbury,  Kent  UK
David Mannion is a highly qualified teacher with 26 years teaching experience including The Open University (12 years), Schools and Colleges and with overseas teaching experience in two International Schools. He has degrees in astronomy and is a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (elected in 1984). He has sat on the RAS Education Committee and has given numerous lectures on Astronomy to the general public over the last 30 years.

Michael Martin-Smith
Astronomer & Space Scientist
Coming from: Hull,  East Yorkshire  UK
Michael is retired from General Medical Practice. He has over 25 years experience in lecturing, broadcasting and presenting talks on Space and Astronomical subjects. He presents his positive, upfront and exhilarating lectures to a variety of audiences and is a member of several astronomical/ astronautical societies. He can also give demonstrations and guidance on the use of astronomical instruments.

Howard Parkin
Astronomer & Space Historian
Coming from: Onchan,  Isle of Man  UK
Howard, inspired by the first astronauts and the "Space Race" back in the early 60's, has been an astronomer and space enthusiast most of his life. He is a fully trained teacher and has been teaching astronomy and Astronautics to adult education classes since 1985. He is a member of the British Astronomical (BAA) and was a founder member of the Isle of Man Astronomical Society in 1989. Howard has been an accomplished speaker on cruise ships over many years.

Dr James Teslow
Space Science, Astronomy & Engineering
PhD Rockets, Star-gazing
Coming from: Camano Island,  Washington  USA
Dr. James Teslow is an educator who also practiced aerospace engineering for 30 years. He obtained his undergraduate degree at the University of Washington, and two Masters degrees and a PhD at the University of Colorado. His engineering positions included work in the areas of liquid and solid rocket propulsion system analysis and design, launch support, new technology research, and business development. James has taught several classroom and online courses in educational technology, research methods, and instructional development as an adjunct professor.

Ken Verderame
Astronomy & Space Travel
Coming from: Indialantic,  Florida  USA
Col Verderame is currently the Director of the Joint STARS Combined Test Force at Patrick Air Force Base. He is a graduate of the US Air Force Test Pilot School and has flown in 56 different aircraft. While on active duty he was a NASA flight control & propulsion astronaut instructor, teaching astronauts to fly the Space Shuttle. While new to cruise ship enrichment lecturing, Col Verderame has been public speaking for over 25 years to a diverse group of audiences from Astronauts to students and community groups with a down-to-earth, engaging style that takes complex subjects and makes them easily understandable to anyone.

Jonathan H. Ward, FRAS
Astronomy & Space Exploration
Coming from: Greensboro,  North Carolina  USA
Jonathan H. Ward is an astronomer, author, speaker, and space historian. Jonathan’s joy of bringing the space program to life for the public began in high school, when he served as a tour guide at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum during the Apollo era. Today he is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, a Solar System Ambassador for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and a frequent speaker on astronomy and space exploration to audiences ranging from schools to retirement communities to national conferences.

Alan Wright
Astronomy & Physical Sciences
Coming from: Wynyard,  Tasmania  Australia
Alan Wright has been a professional research astronomer for over 50 years, much of that time as the Chief Astronomer & Head of Operations at the world-famous Parkes Observatory in Australia, known to many as “The Dish”. He is a multiple graduate of London University and has worked in Canada, the USA and several European countries, as well as in Australia. Recently retired, he retains his passion for astronomy and takes a very active interest in all modern astronomical discoveries. He is also a dynamic and popular speaker who specialises in making “tricky” scientific subjects understandable to everybody.