Cruise Ship Speakers

Astronomy & Space Science
  Click on photo for full profile and contact details.

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.

David Baker
Aerospace/Aviation/Military History & Espionage
Coming from: Brede, Nr. Rye,  East Sussex  UK
British born, Dr David Baker has had a lifelong involvement with the NASA space programme, helping send men to the Moon in the 1960's, working to develop the re-usable Shuttle in the 1970's, helping countries around the world use space applications in their everyday lives during the 1980's, advising on space policy during the 1990's and lecturer and historian in the new century. An award-winning author David has written more than 100 books, academic and popular, on many aspects of science, aviation, space, defence and astronomy and the development of the technologies and the politics that underpinned the Cold War.

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.

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.

Edmund Derbyshire
Space & Satellites
Coming from: Havant,  Hampshire  UK
Ed first learned to walk on a ship bound for Australia where he spent seven years before returning to the UK in 1967 where he attended the local grammar school. In 1975 he joining the Merchant Navy as a Radio Officer before entering the space industry for the next 30 years working with a number of major satellite design, launch and operation companies. Ed is a capable and experienced speaker and is very keen to share his experiences with people in a friendly and easily digestable way.

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.

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.

Dan Ostler
Enrichment Speaker - Destinations
Coming from: Kemble,  Ontario  Canada
Dan Ostler graduated in Biophysics from the University of Waterloo and pursued a career in medical radiation physics. Working in the areas of forefront research and product design, Dan travelled internationally staging leading-edge seminars focusing on the implications of the latest medical imaging advances. Now in retirement Dan is a perennial shipboard favorite, presenting entertaining informative lectures on cruises all over the world. His dynamic presentations weave the charms of the destinations with the applicable science, history and anthropology.

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.

Glenn Patrick
Physics, Cosmology & Earth Sciences
BSc, PhD, CPhys, FInstP, FRAS
Coming from: Wantage,  Oxfordshire  UK
Glenn is a particle physicist who has spent most of his career working on large international experiments using accelerators at the CERN Laboratory in Geneva. Glenn is based at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory where he is now an Honorary Scientist and is also a Visiting Professor at the University of Portsmouth, where he teaches. Glenn regularly gives public talks to a wide variety of audiences and specialises in explaining the concepts of physics, cosmology and astronomy in everyday language.

Paul Riley
Popular Science, Astronomy & Food Science
BSc, MSc, PhD
Coming from: Wirral,    UK
After academic life reading chemistry Paul joined Unilever’s Personal Care Products Group. He has talks on the history of everyday products, often humorous with amusing anecdotes, that we use on a daily basis thinking little about them: tea, coffee, fizzy drinks, sugar, makeup, deodorants, toothpaste and soap. For the festive season Paul has talks on the history of our Christmas traditions. With his academic background he has talks on astronomy but from the perspective of chemistry – looking at the world around us how did its building blocks and those for life originate?

Dave Roberts
Anthropologist & Historian
Central & South American History
Coming from: La Mesa,  California  USA
Dr. Dave Roberts holds a BA in anthropology/cognitive science from Southern Illinois University and a doctorate from United States International University. He worked in the field of applied anthropology for over 35 years, and his area of expertise included Central and South America. Since retirement in 2010, Dr. Roberts has worked as a docent, photographer, and curator at several museums in the San Diego area designing new exhibits, giving tours of the museum, and functioning as the museum’s event and curatorial photographer. He regularly speaks on cruise ship, on various topics including anthropology, and local and global historical events.

Alan Smith
Space, Astronomy & Science
Coming from: Cranleigh,  Surrey  UK
Professor Alan Smith is the Director of the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, part of University College London. He has been working in space science for more than 35 years and has been involved with space mission involving all of the major space agencies including NASA, the European Space Agency, Japan, Russia and China. His current interests include astrophysics, planetary science and satellite instrumentation. Alan's talks are highly visual in nature, based upon astronomy and space science images and photography.

Michael Smith
Professor of Astronomy, PhD, FRAS
Coming from: Herne Bay,  Kent  UK
Michael Smith is Professor of Astronomy at the University of Kent, Director of the Centre for Astrophysics and Planetary Science and Director of the Kent Space School. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and a member of the International Astronomical Union. He studied at Imperial College, London, and Magdalen College, Oxford. He has written two books, over 200 scientific papers and is Editor-in-Chief of an international journal. He has contributed to television, radio and newspapers, acted as expert witness, and held many public lectures.

David Southwood
Astronomy & Space Science
Space Robotics
Coming from: Wimbledon,  London  UK
David was formerly the Director of Science and Robotic Exploration at the European Space Agency in Paris. Before going to Paris, he was a space scientist at Imperial College, London. He is an expert on the aurora and magnetism of earth and other planets. He has been involved in astronomy, space missions and space exploration since 1966 and has a long experience of public communication about space and space exploration which provides inspiration for his talks.

Ben Still
Physics & Science
Coming from: London,    UK
Ben is a national multi-award-winning science communicator, scientist, and author. Not your average scientist; Ben uses clear visuals and everyday metaphors, allowing all audiences to appreciate the beauty of even the most abstract of sciences. An experienced speaker, he enthralls audiences of all ages through engaging talks and hands on LEGO® workshops. His books have been translated into multiple languages and are finding success around the globe.

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.

Lou Thieblemont
Former Airline Pilot, Astronomical Society of Harrisburg, PA
Coming from: Camp Hill,  PA  USA
Lou Thieblemont has always been fascinated by the sky. Even before graduating from New York Institute of Technology, he was working for Air France Flight Dispatch at JFK airport making computerized flight plans. After graduation, he worked for 37 years as a commercial airline pilot, first for TWA and then for American Airlines when the two carriers merged. Since his retirement Lou has been an active volunteer for a number of organisations and offers a series of talks on topics as diverse as astronomy, aviation, Antarctic exploration, optical illusions, and computer graphics.

Robert Turner
Astronomy & Astro Physics
Earth Sciences & Archaeology
Coming from: Worthing,  West Sussex  UK
University and further education teacher in Astronomy and Archaeology Bob Turner has over 50 years experience in Astronomy and 10 years experience in pre history Archaeology and Lithics. As a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and a 50 year plus member of the British Astronomical Association he has toured all over the World co lecturing with Patrick Moore. He has also acted as tour guide on many occasions in his pursuit of total eclipses with three different tour companies. Bob has run many courses up and down the UK for amateurs and semi professional Astronomers and is often found lecturing on cruise ships.

Prof. Chandra Wickramasinghe
Astronomy, Astrobiology & Life in the Universe
Coming from: Cardiff,  Wales  UK
Professor Wickramasinghe is a world-renowned astronomer who has made important contributions to the theory of cosmic dust. Together with the late Sir Fred Hoyle he pioneered the modern theory of panspermia which argues for life being a cosmic phenomenon. He is an award winning poet, and the author of over 22 books and 350 scientific papers. He has held professional appointments in a large number of universities and has at one time been advisor to the President of Sri Lanka. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Sir Arnold Wolfendale
Physics & Astronomy
14th Astronomer Royal
Coming from: Durham,  County Durham  UK
Sir Arnold Wolfendale is an astrophysicist who is still actively engaged in research. He was President of the Royal Astronomical Society from 1981 – 1983, the Institute of Physics from 1994 – 1996, and was the 14th Astronomer Royal from 1991 – 1995. He was President of the European Physical Society. A prominent feature of his presentations is his humour, and the fact that all in attendance are given an authgraphed, crested, 'Astronomer Royal' photograph.

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.

Stephanie Yardley
Astronomy & Solar Physics
PhD, MPhys, BSc, FRAS
Coming from: St Andrews,  Fife  UK
Stephanie is a PhD student at UCL’s Department of Space and Climate Physics based at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory in Surrey and studies magnetic activity on the Sun’s surface. The Sun’s magnetic field can be highly concentrated in patches known as active regions. The understanding of what drives these structures to become unstable and erupt would hugely benefit space weather prediction. Stephanie is very enthusiastic about her research and loves to share this with the public by giving talks, writing articles and visiting schools.