Lizabeth A. Allison is Chancellor Professor of Biology at William & Mary. She received her Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Washington, specializing in molecular and cellular biology. Before coming to William & Mary, she spent eight years as a faculty member at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Liz teaches introductory biology for majors and upper-division molecular biology and molecular genetics courses. She has mentored graduate students and more than 120 undergraduate research students, many of them coauthoring papers with her on intracellular trafficking of the thyroid hormone receptor in normal and cancer cells. Liz is the recipient of numerous awards, including a State Council for Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV) Outstanding Faculty Award in 2009, a Plumeri Award for Faculty Excellence in 2012, and the Ruth Kirschstein Diversity in Science Award from the American Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology in 2020. She is lead author on Biological Science, now in its seventh edition, and author of Fundamental Molecular Biology, now in its second edition, with a third edition under way.
Category: Science Guest
Ben Davis has a Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics and an M.S. in Nuclear Astrophysics from the University of Notre Dame. His career has included software development and industrial controls engineering (robot programming and electronics are truly as fun as they seem). As a lifelong fan of science fiction, his main avocations now involve history, futurism, and skepticism. He is semi-retired and works as a college professor. “Dr. Ben” lectures on a number of subjects ranging from computer programming and math to, of course, astronomy and physics. When not traveling with his wife, playing with his dogs, climbing rocks, or attending cons, he spends his spare time pondering general relativity, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence and more recently, the science of explosives. Sometimes, he hunts for true psychics, ghosts, and other paranormal phenomenon to no avail.
Chris is an aerospace engineer at the NASA Langley Research Center, and a science enthusiast with a concentration in building a better future for humanity. His areas of expertise include systems analysis for human and science space concepts, decision science, play-by-play announcing of robotics competitions, and the board game Terraforming Mars. His areas of anti-expertise include most of his golf game, anything connected to musical performance, artistic expression outside of PowerPoint, and spelling the word restaurant. Outside of work, he is the staff to two cats, and enjoys word games, racquetball, and live music in divey venues.
Dr. Andrew Owens is an aerospace engineer whose work focuses on space systems, particularly logistics, reliability, and maintenance and their impact on optimal technology investment, system development, testing, and planning for human missions beyond Low Earth Orbit. Originally from Atlanta, he studied mechanical engineering at Rice University and Space Systems Engineering at MIT before moving to Newport News once he (finally) completed his PhD in January 2019. He’s been passionate about spaceflight for as long as he can remember, and looks forward to the day we become an interplanetary species. When he’s not working on getting humans back to the Moon and on to Mars, he enjoys reading interesting stories, strategic board gaming, D&D (as a player and game master), running, and playing guitar.
Dr. Matthew Simon is a Habitation Design Lead at NASA Langley Research Center. He designs space habitats to support astronauts for missions to the Moon and Mars. Matt also has interests in the colonization of space and architecture for extreme environments. When not working, you’ll find Matt digging into science fiction and fantasy novels, sampling fine anime, or nerding out board gaming. Matt appears at this event in his personal capacity as an earthling; no official NASA endorsement is intended or should be implied.