Prof Stephen Hawking

Director of Research, Centre for Theoretical Cosmology, University of Cambridge

Stephen Hawking CH, CBE, DSC(hon), FRS was born in Oxford in 1942, exactly 300 years after the death of Galileo. He studied physics at Oxford University and went on to pursue his graduate studies at Cambridge. In his early twenties he was diagnosed as having Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, known in the UK as Motor Neurone Disease. He held Newton’s chair as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics from 1979-2009. He is the recipient of countless awards including the Copley Medal (2006), and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2009). He is the author of many books, and a prolific contributor to all areas of gravitational physics, in particular the origin and evolution of the universe. Best known for his work on Black Holes and for his popular best-sellers, ‘A Brief History of Time’ (1988), ‘The Universe in a Nutshell (2001) and most recently ‘The Grand Design’ (2010). His first venture into writing children’s books, with his daughter Lucy Hawking, has resulted in the hugely popular ‘George’ trilogy (2007, 2009 and 2011). He is currently Director of Research for the Centre of Theoretical Cosmology at Cambridge University, Great Britain.

Updated - Jan 20th, 2012 Professor Stephen Hawking is currently unwell. His judging responsibilities during the finalist stage for YouTube Space Lab will therefore be taken up by his friend and colleague, Professor Paul Shellard at the University of Cambridge, while he focuses on getting better. We are incredibly sad to hear about Professor Hawking's ill health and the fact that he will unable to serve as a YouTube Space Lab judge. We are proud, humbled and grateful for Professor Hawking's tremendous ongoing support for Space Lab.

Eric Istasse

ESA Astronaut

Eric is the Head of the Mission Science Office in the Directorate of Human Spaceflight and Operations since 2005. With an extensive academic background which includes 2 masters degrees and a PhD in fluid physics, Eric has the crucial task to ensure all selected experimental payloads are current, scientifically relevant and importantly yield successful results.

Dr Neil Turok

Director, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics

Neil Turok has led the scientific and strategic growth of Perimeter Institute since October 2008. Like his colleague and collaborator Stephen Hawking, Neil’s field of research is theoretical cosmology: understanding the universe and its origins. He predicted two key features of the cosmic background radiation, subsequently observed, which confirmed the presence of dark energy and helped fix the character of the density variations which gave rise to galaxies. Neil pioneered two of today's leading cosmological theories: open inflation and the cyclic universe, and efforts to understand the big bang singularity. He has contributed to many fields of physics, from models of the origin of matter now being tested at the Large Hadron Collider to the topological defects observed in liquid crystals. Prior to joining Perimeter, Neil was Professor of Theoretical Physics at Princeton and then held the Chair of Mathematical Physics at Cambridge. Born in South Africa, he founded the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), a growing network of centres which is helping to unlock and nurture scientific talent across the African continent and now a centerpiece of Perimeter's
Global Outreach efforts.

Prof Colin Pillinger  

Professor of Planetary Science, Open University

Planetary scientist at the Open University in the UK. He is probably best known as the principal investigator for the Beagle 2 Mars lander project, the attempt to land a British built spacecraft on Mars on Christmas day 2003, to search for evidence of life on the Red planet, and has done much work studying a group of Martian meteorites. Colin has been involved in space exploration for nearly 40 years since he joined the NASA Apollo programme in 1968. Throughout that time he has tried to share his experiences with the public through lectures, exhibitions, newspaper articles, books, radio and tv interviews.

Kim Nergaard   

ESA Astronaut

Kim is the Head of the Future Studies section in the Human Spaceflight and Operations Directorate in the European Space Agency (ESA). Kim's main focus is to define concepts for the operations of space missions, with or without humans in flight, that are being planned at ESA. He obtained his Cand.Scient. Degree in Cybernetics at the University of Oslo. Kim is also the Ground Segment and Operations Manager for METERON, a project defined to carry out robotic experiments on the ISS in preparation of future human missions to other heavenly bodies


Arimasa Naitoh

Lenovo Fellow and Vice President of Development, Product Group

Known as the “Father of ThinkPad,” Naitoh led the development of more than 20 different series of ThinkPad laptops. 

For his dedication and passion to the industry, IBM named him an IBM Fellow, the highest honor awarded by the company to a technologist. An instrument engineer by training, Naitoh spent the last three decades with IBM in several high-profile technology, engineering and development positions. When Lenovo acquired the IBM Personal Computing Division in 2005, Naitoh joined the company to continue his vision and passion for creating innovative technology. In January 2011 he became Chief Development Officer of Lenovo’s Product Group,responsible for engineering commercial and consumer PC products

Martin Zell

ESA Astronaut

Martin is responsible for the European research programme (ELIPS) in life and physical sciences. With his team he coordinates a suite of ground-based preparatory human research for exploration and a broad utilisation portfolio in ESA's Columbus laboratory and ISS. He is actively fostering international collaboration among the ISS partners in order to maximize the research yield.

Prof Ehud Behar

Head of Asher Space Research Institute at the Technion ((Israel Institute of Technology)

Ehud is an X-ray astrophysicist, who researches active stars and black hole sources from way back in the early universe to our contemporary cosmic neighborhood. As head of the Technion's Asher Space Research Institute (ASRI) he leads projects in space science and engineering, including collaborations with the industry, and is involved in educational activities that bring young students closer to science and to future technologies through the numerous opportunities enabled by space.


Guy Laliberté

Cirque du Soleil & One Drop

An accordionist, stilt-walker and fire-eater, Guy founded Quebec's first internationally-renowned circus, Cirque du Soleil with the support of a small group of accomplices. Since 1984, he has guided the creative team through the creation of every show and contributed to elevating the circus arts to the level of the great artistic disciplines. With 21 unique productions, Cirque du Soleil has become an international organization touching over 100 million spectators on five continents.

In October 2007, Guy entered into a second lifetime commitment by creating One Drop to fight poverty around the world by providing sustainable access to safe water. In September 2009, he became the first Canadian private space explorer.  His mission, the first Poetic Social Mission in space, was dedicated to raising awareness on water issues facing humankind on planet earth.

Marshall David Brain

Founder, HowStuffWorks

Marshall Brain is best known as the founder of HowStuffWorks.com. The site was purchased for $250 million by Discovery Communications in 2007. As a well-known public speaker, Marshall frequently appears on radio and TV programs nationwide. He has appeared on everything from The Oprah Winfrey Show to CNN. He is the host of National Geographic's "Factory Floor With Marshall Brain". Marshall has written more than a dozen books and a number of widely known web publications including "How to Make a Million Dollars", "Robotic Nation", and "Manna". Today Marshall resides in Cary, NC with his wife and family.

Dr Peter Diamandis

Chairman and CEO,
The X PRIZE Foundation

An international leader in the commercial space arena, Founder of Zero Gravity Corporation, the only FAA approved provider of commercial weightless flights for the general public. He is the Chairman & Co-Founder of the Rocket Racing League as well as the Co-Founder and Director of Space Adventures.

Mariette DiChristina

Editor-in-chief, Scientific American

Mariette DiChristina oversees Scientific American, ScientificAmerican.com, Scientific American MIND and all newsstand special editions. She is the eighth person and first female to assume the top post in Scientific American’s 166-year history. Scientific American won the 2011 National Magazine Award for General Excellence. DiChristina is the former president (in 2009 and 2010) of the 2,500-member National Association of Science Writers. Previously, she spent nearly 14 years at Popular Science in positions culminating as executive editor. She is former chair of Science Writers in New York (2001 to 2004) and a member of the American Society of Magazine Editors and the Society of Environmental Journalists

Lucy Hawking

Physicist and Science Journalist

Lucy Hawking is a British author and journalist, best known for her trilogy of adventure novels for young readers about the wonders of the universe. The third and final of these books – George and the Big Bang - describes the early universe for a school-age audience. It is the first book about cosmology for this age group, written as an adventure story. The ‘George’ series is published in 37 languages and features contributions from some of the world’s leading scientists, making their work accessible to a young readers for the first time.
Last year, Oxford graduate Lucy Hawking was inaugural writer in residence at the Origins Project and Visiting International Scholar at the Institute for Humanities Research at ASU. As part of Lucy’s role at the Origins Project, she conceived and ran the Dear Aliens competition, which asked school students to describe humanity and Planet Earth to an intelligent alien life form. Lucy Hawking has written for many major British newspapers as well as making TV and radio appearances. She has toured the world as a speaker on physics and astronomy for young people, including a lecture as part of NASA’s 50th Birthday series. She is the recipient of the Sapio Prize 2008 for Popularizing Science

Bertrand Piccard

Co-founder and Chairman, Solar Impulse
Bertrand Piccard is a psychiatrist, aeronaut, internationally renowned lecturer, president of the humanitarian foundation "Winds of Hope" and goodwill ambassador for the United Nations. His success as pilot in command of the first non-stop round the world balloon flight in 1999 pushed him to the fore as a “savanturier” (scientist-adventurer). Piccard created the Solar Impulse project in 2003 to take on a new challenge: flying round the world in an airplane propelled uniquely by solar energy, without fuel or pollution, in order to promote the immense potential of renewable energies and their new technologies. Piccard has been decorated with the Legion of Honour, the Olympic Order and the highest distinctions of the International Aeronautical Federation, the National Geographic Society and the Explorer's Club. He is an honorary professor, an honorary doctor in science and letters, and has also received the Grand Prix of l’Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques

Anthony Aveni, Ph.D

Russell Colgate Distinguished University Professor of Astronomy, Anthropology, and Native American Studies at Colgate University, where he has taught since 1963

Aveni helped pioneer the field of archaeoastronomy and is one of the founders of Mesoamerican archaeoastronomy, noted for his research in the astronomical history of the Maya Indians of ancient Mexico. 

Aveni is a lecturer, speaker and editor/author of more than two dozen books on ancient astronomy, most recently “The End of Time: The Maya Mystery of 2012.”


Akihiko Hoshide  

JAXA Astronaut

Akihiko Hoshide is a JAXA astronaut. In June 2008, he flew to the ISS on the STS-124 mission to install Pressurized Module on the ISS. He is assigned as one of the crew members for Expedition 32/33 and going back to the ISS in June 2012.

Samantha Cristoforetti    

ESA Astronaut

Samantha is an ESA astronaut and a Captain in the Italian Air Force. She graduated from the Technische Universität Munich, Germany, with a master’s degree in aerospace engineering and completed a bachelor degree in aeronautical science at the Air Force Academy. She was trained as a military pilot and has logged more than 500 hours flying time on six types of military aircraft, including SF-260, T-37, T-38, MB-339A, MB-339CD, AM-X. Samantha was selected as ESA astronaut in May 2009 and has completed her basic training in November 2010. She is now training mainly in Cologne, Houston and Moscow for a future assignment as crew member of the International Space Station

Frank de Winne

ESA Astronaut

After an extensive and distinguished career in the Belgian air force logging 2300 flight hours, Frank was selected as an ESA astronaut in 2000 and has flown twice to space. From 30 October to 10 November 2002, De Winne participated in the Odissea mission, a support flight to the ISS. He served as flight engineer on the updated Soyuz TMA spacecraft during ascent, and on Soyuz TM during reentry. From 27 May to 1 December 2009 De Winne performed the OasISS mission, a long-duration spaceflight to the International Space Station. During this flight De Winne became the first European and the first non-American and non-Russian Commander of the ISS (expedition 21).

Chris Hadfield

CSA Astronaut

Chris Hadfield joined the Canadian Space Agency in 1992. In November 1995, he flew on space shuttle Atlantis for mission STS-74 and became the first and only Canadian to visit the Russian Space Station Mir. His second space mission, STS-100, occurred in April 2001 aboard space shuttle Endeavour. During this mission to the International Space Station, he marked Canadian history once again as he became the first Canadian to perform a spacewalk when he installed Canada’s contribution to the Space Station, Canadarm2. In 2009, he served as the backup for Canadian astronaut Dr. Robert Thirsk for Expedition 21/21, a long-duration spaceflight. He is scheduled to launch aboard a Russian Soyuz Rocket as part of Expedition 34/35 in November 2012. During the second part of his six months stay in orbit, he will be the first Canadian Commander of the International Space Station.

Major Tim Peake

ESA Astronaut

ESA Astronaut. Peake graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst as an officer in the Army Air Corps. He served as a Platoon Commander in Northern Ireland, prior to commencing flying training. He served four years as a reconnaissance pilot and flight commander in Germany, the Former Republic of Yugoslavia, Northern Ireland, Kenya and Canada. After an exchange posting with the US Army flying Apache helicopters, he was employed as an Apache helicopter instructor on his return to the UK, during which time he was instrumental in introducing the Apache into service with the British Army. Peake was the senior Apache test pilot, in addition to test pilot for Special Forces aircraft projects.

SoYeon Yi (PH.D.)

Astronaut and Senior Researcher, Korea Aerospace Research Institute

Soyeon Yi was born in 1978 in the Republic of Korea. In December 2006, she was selected as one of two final Korean astronaut candidates, and started working at the Korean Astronaut Project Division, KARI as a researcher. From March 2007 until April 2008 she undertook general space training to be a Space Flight Participant at the Y. Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center. On 8 April 2008, she was launched into space on board Soyuz TMA-12, with two Russian cosmonauts, Sergei Volkov and Oleg Kononenko. Soyeon returned to Earth along with ISS crew members Peggy Whitson and Yuri Malenchenko aboard Soyuz TMA-11 on April 19, 2008. Since her flight, she has been a senior researcher at KARI as well as Korea's S&T ambassador. Soyeon holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering and a Ph.D. in Bio and Brain Engineering.


Leland Melvin  

Associate Administrator for Education, NASA

Leland Melvin is responsible for NASA’s education programs that strengthen both student involvement and public awareness about NASA’s scientific goals and missions. Melvin also serves on the White House National Science and Technology Council's Committee on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education and as the U.S. representative and chair of the International Space Education Board. Melvin began his NASA career in 1989 as an aerospace research engineer and entered NASA’s astronaut corps in 1998 where he served as a mission specialist operating the robotic arm on two space shuttle missions to the International Space Station. Melvin received a BS degree in chemistry from the University of Richmond, a MS degree in materials science engineering from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and holds honorary doctorates from Centre College, St Paul's College and Campbellsville University


Richard Garriott   

Vice Chairman, Space Adventures
Garriott is a British-American award-winning computer game developer, entrepreneur and philanthropist. On October 12, 2008, Garriott launched aboard Soyuz TMA-13 to the International Space Station as a self-funded tourist, returning 12 days later.
Watch Richard's video.

William H Gerstenmaier

Associate Administrator for Space Operations, NASA

William Gerstenmaier directs NASA's human exploration of space and oversees the international space station, space shuttle, space communications and space launch vehicles. Gerstenmaier began his NASA career in 1977 and most recently served as the program manager of the International Space Station Office at NASA's Johnson Space Center where he was responsible for the overall management, development, integration, and operation of the International Space Station. Gerstenmaier has been awarded three NASA Certificates of Commendation, two NASA Exceptional Service Medals, a Senior NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, and the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Executives. He received a BS degree in aeronautical engineering from Purdue University and a MS degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Toledo.

Dr David Williams

Chief Executive, UK Space Agency

Dr David Williams is the Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, which manages all UK civil space activities. David is also Chairman of the European Space Agency. Previously David spent 10 years as Head of Strategy and International Relations with Eumetsat, an organisation managing the European Weather Satellites. His earlier experience includes previous work in the UK with the BNSC, the Natural Environment Research Council, industry and academia.

Dr Stamatios (Tom)

Head Emeritus Space Department, Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Stamatios Krimigis received his B. Physics from the University of Minnesota (1961), his M.S (1963) and Ph.D. (1965) in Physics from the University of Iowa, and served on the faculty there. In 1968 he moved to the Applied Physics laboratory of Johns Hopkins University, became Space Department Head in 1991, and Emeritus Head in 2004. He is Principal Investigator on several NASA spacecraft, including Voyagers 1 and 2 to the Outer Planets and the Voyager Interstellar Mission, and the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and Titan. He has designed and built instruments that have flown to all eight planets, and also the New Horizons mission currently headed to Pluto. He has published more than 500 papers in journals and books on the physics of the sun, interplanetary medium, planetary magnetospheres, and the heliosphere. He is recipient of NASA’s Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal twice, is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, American Geophysical Union, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, recipient of COSPAR’s Space Science Award in 2002, a recipient of the Basic Sciences Award of the International Academy of Astronautics where he chairs the Board of Trustees for Basic Sciences, an Academician at the Academy of Athens since 2005 occupying the Chair of “Science of Space”, and chairman of Greece’s National Council of Research and Technology.

Bruno Gardini  

ESA Astronaut

Bruno is the Senior Advisor to the ESA’s Director of Human Spaceflight and Operations at ESTEC in the Netherlands. He has more than 35 years experience in space mission design, both in industry and at the Agency, and has been project Manager of some of ESA’s major projects (ENVISAT, Rosetta). In 2011 he was part of the core team which defined the Aurora programme, responsible for the definition of the Moon and Mars Exploration Programme including ExoMars, Mars Sample Return preparatory activities and technology development. He is now involved in the Lunar Lander and Human Exploration programmes.


HRH Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud

Chairman of the Board of Directors, Prince Salman Center Foundation and Center for Disability Research (PSCDR)
Prince Sultan was born in Riyadh on the 27th of June, 1956, married with 3 children. Masters Degree in Social and Political Science, the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs – Syracuse University, USA 1999.
He is an avid pilot with more than 7000 flight hours since 1976, and holds an Airline transport pilot certificate from the USA/Saud Arabia & France, with qualifications to fly several types of Jets and Helicopters and gliders, as well as being qualified as desert and mountain pilot. He is the President & Chairman of the Board of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) since 2008. The Commission was established in 2000, Prince Sultan was the Secretary General until 2008. In June 17th 1985, Prince Sultan was chosen to represent Arab Sat-the Arab world’s satellite agency, to be among the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery as Payload Specialist on its Mission STS 51G. Shortly afterwards, he joined the Royal Saudi Air Force as a fighter pilot, from which he retired in 1996 with the rank of Colonel. Prince Sultan was elected Chairman of the Board of the Disabled Children's Association (DCA) since 1988, and Chairman of the Executive Committee since 1999. In 1996 he founded Al-Turath (Heritage) a non-profit since foundation, and serves as its president.
Founder and Chairman of the Board of the Saudi Aviation Club (SAC) since 2001. Member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Presidency of Civil Aviation in Saudi Arabia since 2005. Chairman of the Board of Directors, Prince Salman Center Foundation and Center for Disability Research (PSCDR) since 2008.


Becky Parker

Head of Physics, Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys, Canterbury

After a physics degree and research at the University of Chicago I taught in a variety of schools and was a Senior Lecturer in physics at the University of Kent. I have been involved in a number of initiatives to develop physics education, for example introducing particle physics into A level courses. I was a Special Adviser to the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology. I am now Head of Physics at Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys, Canterbury, and Director of the Langton Star Centre at the school. The Langton Star Centre allows school students to work alongside research scientists giving them opportunities to be involved in authentic research. The impact this is having in our school is significant with 200 students doing A level physics this year. We have many exciting projects in development including putting a new style cosmic ray detector LUCID (Langton Ultimate Cosmic ray Intensity Detector) on the Techdemosat satellite which flies in 2012. Associated with this we have set up a network of school based detectors called CERN@school where students take data and collaborate to analyse it. We work with Queen Mary and GridPP to develop ways to extend access to this data more widely. This will then link all schools to data from the satellite and from Earth. We also use the Faulkes Telescopes and run a major Plasma Project with Imperial College. I was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2008 and co presented a recent BBC2 Horizon programme on Quantum Theory.

Watch Becky's video.

Prof Gerry Gillmore

Professor of Experimental Philosophy,
Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge

Gerry's main focus is near-field cosmology. This is the use of precision studies of kinematics, dynamics, stellar populations, chemical abundances; for the oldest systems in the local universe to deduce the fundamental properties of structure formation and the nature of dark matter in the early Universe. Gerry obtained his PhD in New Zealand, and spent five years at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh.

Dr Jeffrey Alberts   

Professor of Psychological and Brain Science, Indiana University

Professor of Psychological and Brain Science. The Alberts Lab has three times participated in space flight experiments. “Pregnant rats in space” has been it's payload moniker. The lab brings the approaches of developmental psychobiology to the space program, which previously has not included behavior as an important topic.
Star Enterprises, Inc. is a small business that was launched to pursue science-based, animal-guided hardware development for spaceflight research. The company was a leader in equipping the planned laboratory for the U.S. Centrifuge Facility on the International Space Station, until the science module was abandoned. Star Enterprises continues to function in the field of space biology, and is also venturing into allied pursuits in biotechnological research.

Prof Tshilidzi Marwala

Dean of Engineering, University of Johannesburg

Tshilidzi Marwala is a Dean of Engineering at the University of Johannesburg. He was a Full Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand. He is a recipient of the Order of Mapungubwe and holds a BSc in Mechanical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University, an MSc from the University of Pretoria, PhD from University of Cambridge and a Post-doctorate from Imperial College. His research interests include applications of artificial intelligence to engineering, social science and medicine. He has successfully supervised 45 masters and doctoral students, published over 210 refereed papers, registered 3 patents, and published 4 books.

Watch Professor Tshilidzi Marwala's video.

Nigel Savage

ESA Astronaut

Nigel is the Head of Education unit in the Human Spaceflight and Operations Directorate at the European Space Agency (ESA). The goal of the Education Unit is to utilise the ISS and astronauts to encourage school children and university students to become much more involved in STEM subjects. Nigel is a Cell Biologist, has a PhD in immunology with over 15 years experience in science and is a firm believer in nurturing the younger generations’ minds.

Peter Sammut

Physics Teacher

Studied at Edinburgh and Oxford universities. He has taught physics at various British schools and has been at St Paul’s school in London for the last 22 years.

Lt. Col. (USAF-ret.) Steve Heck

Pathfinder Astronaut, Teachers in Space Program & Math and Science Teacher, Milford Exempted Village School District, Ohio.
Steve Heck served as a Command Pilot in the United States Air Force where he amassed over 2700 hours of jet flight time and holds two world flight records. Steve was nominated for one of President Bush’s “Points of Light” Award for his work in education. Steve was awarded five Meritorious Service Medals and was an Outstanding Graduate from the USAF’s Air War College.

Steve is a 6th grade Math and Science teacher in the Milford Exempted Village School District, Ohio. In 2005, Steve garnered the Martha Holden Jennings Scholar Award for excellence in teaching, was named Teacher of the Year by the Cincinnati Chapter of the Air Force Association (AFA) and Educator of the Year for Milford-Miami Township and Clermont County in 2010.

Steve is a Pathfinder Astronaut in the new Teachers in Space Program and is a NASA Endeavor Fellow at Columbia University in New York. He has a three-year appointment to the Aerospace Advisory Board for NSTA.

James Kuhl

Pathfinder Astronaut, Teachers in Space Program &
Earth Sciences Teacher, Central Square Middle School, Syracuse, NY
Professionally, I initially encountered space when I applied for the original NASA Teacher in Space Program in 1984. I did not receive serious consideration, but used the application as a plan for subsequent professional development activities. A measure of success came in 2004 when I made it onto the final selection list for NASA’s Educator Astronaut Program. The highlight of my quest came in 2009 when I was chosen to train for a spaceflight with the new Teachers in Space Program (TIS). Part of the application for TIS involved developing an experiment to fly in space. Mine will soon fly commercially into space!

Mike Schmidt

Pathfinder Astronaut, Teachers in Space Program &
Math Teacher, University High School, Tuscon, Arizona
Mike is a teacher at University High School in Tucson, Arizona. He currently teaches calculus and an introduction to engineering course in conjunction with the University of Arizona. In 2009, he was selected as one of the seven Pathfinder Astronauts in the Teachers in Space program. When commercial space flights begin in a few years, Mike will participate in a suborbital flight and then return to his classroom to share the experience and excitement with his students.

Rachael Manzer

Pathfinder Astronaut, Teachers in Space Program & STEM Coach, Annie Fisher STEM Magnet School, Hartford, Connecticut
Rachael Manzer is a STEM Coach, at Annie Fisher STEM Magnet School in Hartford, CT. She has been in education for 18 years. For two of those years she worked at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA. Over the years, she has won numerous awards. Most recently in 2010, she was awarded the National Aerospace Educator of the Year by both the National Space Club and the Civil Air Patrol. Then in 2009, she was awarded the National Award for Educator Achievement by the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics. Mrs. Manzer is the President of the Connecticut Science Teachers Association and was selected as the Program Chair for the National Science Teachers Association Regional Conference coming to Hartford in October 2011. In 2011, she was selected from candidates across the nation to be part of the first ever LEGO Education Advisory Panel. As a STEM Coach at Annie Fisher STEM Magnet School, Mrs. Manzer works with teachers and students in the classroom on implementing new and innovative STEM educational materials.

Dr. Todd Boyett

Director of the Morehead Planetarium at UNC-Chapel Hill

Dr. Todd Boyette became the Morehead Planetarium's fifth director in July 2006 after an international search. 

Boyette is an accomplished science center director having previously serves as the president and CEO of the Health Adventure in Asheville N.C, and Imagination Station in Wilson, N.C. He is also a past president of the North Carolina State University, including a doctorate in science education, a masters degree in science education and bachelors degree in science education and chemistry. He also has experience as program co-ordinator for N.C State's Science House, a lab manager at UNC-Chapel Hill and as a classroom chemistry teacher


Elizabeth Stage

Director of the Lawrence Hall of Science, the public science center of the University of California, Berkeley

Elizabeth Stage is director of the Lawrence Hall of Science, the public science center of the University of California, Berkeley; its mission is to inspire and foster science and math learning for all, so it designs and implements programs and materials for visitors, schools, afterschool programs, and homes.  

She has taught middle school through graduate students, done research and evaluation of curricula and professional development programs, worked on standards and assessments nationally and internationally, and now works to increase the likelihood that the Hall will provide people with opportunities to engage in science wherever they are, whenever they are interested