1961/1981 Human Spaceflight: BIOGRAPHIES
The conference has ended
Michael F. Robinson (Keynote)
Michael Robinson is an associate professor of history at Hillyer College, University of Hartford. His work focuses on the history of scientific exploration. His book The Coldest Crucible: Arctic Exploration and American Culture (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006) won the 2008 Book Prize from the Forum of the History of Science in America. He writes a blog about science, history, and exploration called Time to Eat the Dogs. He is currently working on a book about the cultural history of exploration in America.
Alexander C.T. Geppert
Dr. Alexander C.T. Geppert directs the Emmy Noether Research Group "The Future in the Stars: European Astroculture and Extraterrestrial Life in the Twentieth Century" at the Friedrich-Meinecke-Institut, Freie Universität Berlin. He received his PhD from the European University Institute in Florence in 2004, and has since held various long-term fellowships at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, the German Historical Institute in London, the IFK Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften in Vienna, the Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut in Essen, and at Harvard University. Recent book publications include Fleeting Cities: Imperial Expositions in Fin-de-siècle Europe (Basingstoke/New York 2010); New Dangerous Liaisons: Discourses on Europe and Love in the Twentieth Century (Oxford/New York 2010, co-ed.); Wunder: Poetik und Politik des Staunens im 20. Jahrhundert (Berlin 2011, co-ed.); as well as Imagining Outer Space: European Astroculture in the Twentieth Century (New York/Basingstoke, forthcoming 2011, ed.). At present he is writing a book on the cultural history of outer space in the European imagination of the twentieth century.
James Spiller received his Ph.D. in American History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1999. He has taught the histories of American science, technology, and environment, and 20th century American culture and economics at The College at Brockport, SUNY since 2000. He is Associate Professor of History and, since January 2010, Associate Dean of Graduate Education and Faculty Scholarship. He is finishing a manuscript on the cultural politics of U.S. space and Antarctic exploration titled "Frontiers for the American Century: Outer Space, Antarctica, and U.S. Cold War Nationalism."
Steven J. Dick served as the NASA Chief Historian and Director of the NASA History Office from 2003-2009. Prior to that he worked as an astronomer and historian of science at the U. S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C. for 24 years. He obtained his B.S. in astrophysics (1971), and MA and PhD (1977) in history and philosophy of science from Indiana University. Among his books are The Biological Universe (1996), Life on Other Worlds (1998), and (with James Strick) The Living Universe: NASA and the Development of Astrobiology (2004). He also served as editor of Societal Impact of Spaceflight (NASA SP 4801, 2007), NASA’s First 50 Years: Historical Perspectives (NASA SP-2010-4704), and with Mark Lupisella, Cosmos and Culture: Cultural Evolution in a Cosmic Context (2009). Dr. Dick is the recipient of the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Medal, the NASA Group Achievement Award for his role in NASA’s multidisciplinary program in astrobiology, the NASA Group Achievement Award for the book America in Space, and the 2006 LeRoy E. Doggett Prize for Historical Astronomy of the American Astronomical Society. He has served as Chairman of the Historical Astronomy Division of the American Astronomical Society, as President of the History of Astronomy Commission of the International Astronomical Union, and as President of the Philosophical Society of Washington. In 2009 the International Astronomical designated minor planet 6544 stevendick in his honor.
Margaret A. Weitekamp
Margaret A. Weitekamp, Ph.D., is a curator in the Division of Space History at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. She oversees over 4000 individual pieces of space memorabilia and space science fiction objects, including toys and games, clothing and stamps, medals and awards, and buttons and pins, as well as comics and trading cards. Recently, she acquired for the Smithsonian an eight-foot lighted turning star from Astroland, the space-themed amusement park in Coney Island, Brooklyn that opened in 1962 and ceased operations in 2008. She is the author of Right Stuff, Wrong Sex: America’s First Women in Space Program (2004), which won the Eugene M. Emme Award for Astronautical Literature given by the American Astronautical Society. She earned her B.A. at the University of Pittsburgh and her Ph.D. at Cornell University.
Dr. Andrew Jenks, an Associate Professor of history at California State University, Long Beach, received his Ph.D. in history from Stanford University. He is the author of Russia in a Box: Art and Identity in an Age of Revolution (Northern Illinois University Press, 2005), Perils of Progress: Environmental Disasters in the Twentieth Century (Pearson, 2010), and articles in the journals Cahiers du Monde Russe, Technology and Culture, Environmental History, Kritika as well as numerous essays in collected editions. In addition to two essays on Gagarin forthcoming in edited volumes with University of Pittsburgh Press and Cambridge University Press, he also has a forthcoming biography on Gagarin entitled The Cosmonaut Who Couldn't Stop Smiling: the Life and Legend of Yuri Gagarin.
John M. Logsdon
John M. Logsdon is Professor Emeritus of Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. He was the founder and from 1987-2008 Director of the Elliott School's Space Policy Institute. He began his faculty service at GW in 1970. Dr. Logsdon is the author of John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon (2010) and The Decision to Go to the Moon: Project Apollo and the National Interest (1970) and is general editor of the eight-volume series Exploring the Unknown: Selected Documents in the History of the U.S. Civil Space Program. He has written numerous articles and reports on space policy and history, and authored the basic article on "Space Exploration" for the most recent edition of Encyclopedia Britannica. Dr. Logsdon is a member of the Exploration Committee of the NASA Advisory Council. In 2003 he served as a member of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the International Academy of Astronautics. From September 2008 through August 2009, Dr. Logsdon held the Charles A. Lindbergh Chair in Aerospace History at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum.
Megan Prelinger is an independent scholar, library builder, artist, and naturalist. Her research interests include technological history; space exploration; Cold War era history; western landscape history; aquatic avian species; nature–culture interface; and the social structure of access to cultural history. She is co-founder and architect of information design of the Prelinger Library, an independent, appropriation-friendly research library in San Francisco that has been open to the public since 2004. The library is an American cultural history collection of 40,000 books, documents, and pieces of printed ephemera. She consults widely with museums on exhibits relating to landscape observation and technological history. She has been a project advisor at the Exploratorium since 2005, and has taught courses through the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art since 2009. Her installation work has shown at galleries in both New York and San Francisco. She lectures widely on space history, technological history, and library design and construction, most recently to classes at the California College of the Arts, at the San Francisco Art Institute, and on a 2010 national speaking tour. She is the author of Another Science Fiction: Advertising the Space Race 1957-62 (Blast Books, 2010), and the forthcoming Inside the Machine: Electronics and the Modern Century (W.W. Norton, 2013). She holds a B.A. in Anthropology from Reed College.
Guillaume de Syon
Guillaume de Syon teaches history at Albright College in Reading, PA. Prior to that time, he worked as a contributing editor on the Einstein Papers Project. He is the author of Zeppelin! Germany and the Airship, 1900-1939 (2002) and of various articles on the cultural history of aerospace, especially the perception of technology in popular culture. He is currently completing a history of transatlantic flight.
Trevor Rockwell currently resides in Edmonton,
Alberta, Canada, where he is finishing his PhD (History) on how official Soviet
and American propaganda magazines explored the theme of space exploration
between 1957 and 1976. He expects to complete this degree in the summer of
2011. Previously, Mr. Rockwell has published articles on how closely Yuri
Gagarin's autobiography complied with Soviet propaganda directives, and on how
science and technology themes proliferated in American propaganda during the
early Cold War.
George C. Herring (Keynote)
George Herring, Professor Emeritus and formerly Alumni Professor of History, has been connected to the Patterson School from the early Vince Davis years. He received his B.A. from Roanoke College in 1957 and his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in 1965. Professor Herring retired after thirty-six years at the University of Kentucky. He served as chair of the Department of History from 1973-1976 and 1988-1996, and he was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. In 1993, he was a visiting professor at the U.S. Military Academy and in 2001 at the University of Richmond. In 2002, he was awarded the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations’ Norman A. Graebner Prize for distinguished contributions to the field. Professor Herring’s research centered on U.S. foreign relations. His most recent work is From Colony to Superpower: American Foreign Relations Since 1776, (part of the Oxford History of the United States). His other published works include Aid to Russia, 1941-1946: Strategy, Diplomacy, the Origins of the Cold War; with Thomas M. Campbell, eds., The Diaries of Edward R. Stettinius; America’s Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950-1975; The Secret Diplomacy of the Vietnam War: The "Negotiating Volumes" of the Pentagon Papers; and LBJ and Vietnam: A Different Kind of War. Professor Herring is one of the nation’s foremost experts on the Vietnam War.
Matthew H. Hersch
Dr. Matthew H. Hersch is a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow with the Aerospace History Project of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West. He received his J.D. from New York University School of Law and his Ph.D. in the History and Sociology of Science from the University of Pennsylvania. During his studies he served as an HSS/NASA Fellow in the History of Space Science and a Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Fellow of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum. He is currently completing a labor history of American astronauts.
Amy Paige Kaminski currently serves as Senior Policy Advisor to the Chief Scientist at NASA Headquarters and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies at Virginia Tech. She previously served as a program examiner at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), where she was responsible for providing objective analyses of NASA programs and making recommendations to White House policy makers regarding budgets and ways to improve the performance of NASA’s Earth and space sciences and education programs. Before joining OMB, Ms. Kaminski was an analyst in the Federal Aviation Administration's Office of the Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation. Prior to joining FAA, she served as policy and outreach administrator at the National Space Society. She is a former editor of the American Astronautical Society's Space Times magazine. Ms. Kaminski holds a master's degree in Science, Technology, and Public Policy from The George Washington University. She received her bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in Earth and Planetary Sciences. She has written several articles and book chapters on space policy and history topics and is co-editor of NASA's Exploring the Unknown: Selected Documents in the History of the U.S. Civil Space Program, Volume V: Exploring the Cosmos.
Dr. Valerie Neal is a space history curator at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, where she engages in scholarly research, artifact collection, exhibit development, and public service. Her main area of responsibility is U.S. human spaceflight since the 1970s. She has published two books and several articles on space history; been part of the creative team for two IMAX films; and curated three major exhibitions on the Space Race, human spaceflight, and the challenges of future exploration. She also led the effort to restore the space shuttle Enterprise for permanent display and to acquire SpaceShipOne and flown-in-space IMAX cameras for the national collection. Her current project is a book on spaceflight in the shuttle era. Before joining the Smithsonian, Valerie was very much involved in Shuttle missions in the 1980s. She served as writer, editor, and manager for 50 NASA publications on shuttle and Spacelab missions, the space sciences, the Great Observatories and astrophysics, and NASA history. She also participated in astronaut training activities and worked in mission support on four shuttle missions. She brings that experience with spaceflight to her work in the Museum and seeks to link it to her scholarly research. With graduate degrees in American Studies, Dr. Neal has taught at the University of Minnesota, the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and Vanderbilt.
Dr. Roger Handberg, chair of the Political Science Department, specializes in space policy, national security policy, and judicial politics. He also teaches courses dealing with government policies in science and technology, economic and business policy, and American security policy, particularly military space policy and ballistic missile defense. Handberg has worked at UCF since 1972. He has published nine books and more than 156 articles and book chapters plus presented over 125 papers. His recent books include “Chinese Space Policy: A Study in Domestic and International Politics,” “International Space Commerce: Building from Scratch” and “Reinventing NASA and the Quest for Outer Space.” Handberg previously served for two years in the U.S. Army. He earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of North Carolina. He has been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, NPR, BBC, LA Times, Space News, Time Magazine, USA Today and local and regional media outlets.
Dean Cheng is currently the Research Fellow for Chinese Political and Military Affairs at the Heritage Foundation. He is fluent in Chinese, and uses Chinese language materials regularly in his work. Prior to joining the Heritage Foundation, he was a senior analyst with the China Studies Division (previously, Project Asia) at CNA from 2001-2009. He specialized on Chinese military issues, with a focus on Chinese military doctrine and Chinese space capabilities.Before joining CNA, he was a senior analyst with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) from 1996-2001. From 1993-1995, he was an analyst with the US Congress’ Office of Technology Assessment in the International Security and Space Division, where he studied the Chinese defense industrial complex. He has written a number of papers and book chapters examining various aspects of Chinese security affairs. Recent publications include: “Chinese Views on Deterrence,” Joint Force Quarterly (#60, January 2011); “Through a Jingzi, Darkly,” Joint Force Quarterly (#58, July 2010); and “Prospects for China’s Military Space Efforts,” in Beyond the Strait: PLA Missions Other than Taiwan, ed. by Roy Kamphausen, David Lai, and Andrew Scobell (Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, 2009). He has spoken at the National Space Symposium, the US National Defense University, and MIT, and has appeared frequently on CNN International, Voice of America, and the New Scientist.
Ashok Maharaj is a PhD candidate in the School of History, Technology, and Society at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is currently the Guggenheim Fellow at the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.
Beth L. O’Leary
Dr. O’Leary is an assistant college professor, specializing in cultural resource management in the Department of Anthropology, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM. For the last 11 years she has been involved with the cultural heritage of outer space and the preservation of historic sites related to space exploration. Dr. O’Leary has become a recognized expert in the emerging field of Space Heritage and has been interviewed by the media in the US, Canada, Europe, Australia and China. She has co-chaired international symposia on Space Heritage at the World Archaeological Congresses (WAC), (where she is member of the WAC Space Heritage Task Force) and Society for American Archaeology meetings; and was the keynote speaker at the International Council on Monuments and Sites in Cairns, Australia. Since 2003 she has served as the Governor appointed vice chair of the Cultural Properties Review Committee. A recipient of a grant from the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium (NASA), she investigated both the archaeological assemblage and the international heritage status of the Apollo 11 Tranquility Base site on the Moon. http://spacegrant.nmsu.edu/lunarlegacies/index.html. In 2009, she published The Handbook of Space Engineering, Archaeology and Heritage, by CRC Taylor and Francis Press with co-editor Ann Darrin (Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory). In 2010, working with colleagues and graduate students, the objects and structures at Tranquility Base were placed on both the California and New Mexico Registers of Cultural Properties. In January 2011, she was an invited by NASA to a workshop at Kennedy Space Center in Florida to discuss and create a white paper for any spacecraft (commercial, NASA, international) visiting the Apollo landing sites.
Lisa Westwood is a Registered Professional Archaeologist with over 16 years of cultural resource management, contract archaeology, historic preservation, museum curation, and teaching experience. She holds a B.A.degree in Anthropology from the University of Iowa and an M.A. degree in Anthropology (Archaeology) from Eastern New Mexico University. She is a co-founder of the Apollo 11 Preservation Task Force, a volunteer group of historic preservation professionals working toward designation of Tranquility Base on the moon as a World Heritage site. She led the successful efforts to list the Objects Associated with Tranquility Base on the California Register of Historical Resources and New Mexico State Register of Cultural Properties, which were achieved in 2010, and is actively working with members of Congress to have the site designated a National Historic Landmark. She is the author of the Tranquility Base National Historic Landmark Act, currently under consideration by Congress. Ms. Westwood serves as the Cultural Resources Manager at ECORP Consulting, Inc., an environmental consulting firm headquartered near Sacramento, California. She also teaches part time in the anthropology departments at California State University-Chico and Butte College.
David H. Onkst
Onkst is a Ph.D. candidate in the History Department at
Erinn McComb is a Ph.D. candidate at Mississippi State University. She is currently writing her dissertation entitled, "Why Can’t a Woman Fly: The Cult of Masculinity and NASA, 1958-1972." Her dissertation advisor is Dr. Alan I Marcus. At Mississippi State University, Erinn has specialized in the two history department's nodes of excellence, International Security and Internal Safety (ISIS), and the History of Science and Technology (HoST). Last fall Erinn presented her paper "Consuming Gender in NASA: Paradoxical Masculine Images of the Astronaut, 1958-1964" at the Society for the History of Technology conference (SHOT) in Tacoma, Washington. In 2009 Erinn was the Outstanding Paper Competition Winner for the MSU Gender Studies Program. In 2008 she was awarded the William E. Parrish Teaching Award. Her academic interests are the influences of gender upon science, technology, and diplomacy in the Post Cold War era.
De Witt Kilgore
De Witt Douglas Kilgore is an Associate Professor of English and American Studies at Indiana University. He is the author of Astrofuturism: Science, Race and Visions of Utopia in Space (2003). Recent publications include “Difference Engine: Aliens, Robots, and Other Racial Matters in the History of Science Fiction” in Science Fiction Studies and “C/SETI as Fiction: On James Gunn’s The Listeners,” in Proceedings of the Societal Impact of Spaceflight Conference edited by Steven J. Dick and Roger Launius. He currently working on a book examining the ways in which SETI science has gained cultural credibility through fiction and non-fiction narrative.
Margaret L. Dean
Margaret Lazarus Dean is the author of The Time It Takes to Fall (Simon & Schuster, 2007), a novel about the Challenger disaster that won an NEA award and a Hopwood prize for the novel. She holds an MFA from the University of Michigan and is a professor of English at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.