Category: Science Guest

Jack Clemons

Jack Clemons is a published author with a Master’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering. He was an engineer and team leader on NASA’s Apollo and Space Shuttle Programs. He also appeared in the “Command Module” segment of Moon Machines, the Discovery Science Channel’s award-winning six-part documentary about the Apollo Program, and in the National Geographic Channel documentary Apollo: Back To The Moon.

His award-winning book Safely to Earth: The Men and Women Who Brought the Astronauts Home, a memoir of his time on NASA’s Apollo and Space Shuttle programs, was published by University Press of Florida in September 2018.

He has authored several works of historical fiction and science fiction and is an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. 

In 2018, he was awarded an Established Artist Fellowship Grant for Literary Fiction by the Delaware Division of the Arts for his short stories that are based on his hidden-history novel, The Outliers (Secant Publishing, 2021). 

Jack is a frequent speaker at events across the Mid-Atlantic region—including RavenCon, Balticon, and the SFWA tent at the Baltimore Book Festival. Topics he covers include the Apollo and Space Shuttle programs, science, science fiction, and historical fiction. He also does readings from The Outliers at these and other venues.

Dr. Ben Davis

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.

Meri Elena

Meri Elena is a speculative fiction writer living in Raleigh, NC. She studied botany and genetics, but her greatest passion is storytelling. Meri has published several works of short fiction, and the first two novels in her YA urban fantasy series, Nightfall and Blood Magic, have been published through Prospective Press.

Angela Giddings

Angela Giddings wears many hats. She’s an independent filmmaker, a self-published author, and a molecular biologist. She has been involved both behind and in front of the camera for Sick Chick Flicks. She likes creating stories that live in the murky borderlands between fantasy and horror. When she is not working on film projects, she is busy writing a series of novels set in a post-apocalyptic alien world or playing with proteins.

Christopher A. Jones

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.

Paula S. Jordan

Paula S. Jordan, a former orbit analyst, writes moderately hard, character-driven science fiction, with (so far) three stories in Analog. Her first novel, a present-day alien contact story set in western North Carolina, is nearing completion. Working title: Of Seas and the Stars. The story connects a small-town group of friends with a centuries-old alien-watch network to defend humans and friendly aliens against anti-human alien invaders.

After BA degrees in history and drama and several years as a freelance writer, Paula earned a BS degree in physics and worked with Computer Sciences Corporation supporting 30+ unmanned science and weather missions for both NASA and NOAA, including the Clementine mission that first detected water on the moon.

Darin Kennedy

Darin Kennedy, born and raised in Winston-Salem, NC, is a graduate of Wake Forest University and Bowman Gray School of Medicine. After completing family medicine residency in the mountains of Virginia, he served eight years as a United States Army physician and wrote his first novel in the sands of northern Iraq.

His novel, The Mussorgsky Riddle, was born from a fusion of two of his lifelong loves: classical music and world mythology. The Stravinsky Intrigue continues those same themes, and his Fugue & Fable series culminates in The Tchaikovsky Finale. His The Pawn Stratagem contemporary fantasy series, Pawn’s Gambit and Queen’s Peril, combines contemporary fantasy with the ancient game of chess. His short stories can be found in numerous anthologies and magazines.

Doctor by day and novelist by night, he writes and practices medicine in Charlotte, NC. Find him online at darinkennedy.com.

Andrew Owens

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.

Matt Simon

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.

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