Dr. Katie Mack: Science Guest of Honor
(a.k.a. Dr Katherine J Mack) astrophysicist/cosmologist, occasional freelance science writer, connoisseur of cosmic catastrophes
Dr Katie Mack is a theoretical astrophysicist who studies a range of questions in cosmology, the study of the universe from beginning to end. She received her undergraduate degree at Caltech and PhD from Princeton before going on to postdoctoral fellowships at Cambridge University and Melbourne University. Katie currently holds the position of Assistant Professor of Physics at North Carolina State University, where she is also a member of the Leadership in Public Science Cluster. Throughout her career she has researched dark matter, the early universe, galaxy formation, black holes, cosmic strings, and the ultimate fate of the cosmos. Alongside her academic work, she is an active science communicator and has been written for a number of popular publications such as Scientific American, Slate, Sky & Telescope, and Cosmos Magazine, where she is a columnist. Next year, look for her book about the end of the Universe, to be published by Scribner. You can find her on Twitter as @AstroKatie.
Bonnie Burton: Fan Guest of Honor
TV Writer. Author: Art of Abominable, Star Wars Craft Book, Girls Against Girls, Wizarding World, Crafting with Feminism &more Writer: @CNET
Los Angeles-based author Bonnie Burton writes pop culture books on everything from magic to mean girls.
Her books include: The Art of the Abominable Movie (Cameron Books), Live or Die? Survival Hacks (Becker & Mayer/Scholastic), J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World: Movie Magic Volume Three: Amazing Artifacts (Penguin Random House), Crafting with Feminism (Quirk Books), The Star Wars Craft Book (Penguin Random House), Star Wars The Clone Wars: Planets in Peril (DK Readers), Draw Star Wars The Clone Wars (Klutz Books), You Can Draw: Star Wars (DK Publishing), Girls Against Girls: Why We Are Mean to Each Other and How We Can Change (Zest Books), and Never Threaten to Eat Your Co-Workers: Best of Blogs (Apress).
Her comics can be found in Pros & (Comic) Cons (Dark Horse Comics), Womanthology: Heroic (IDW Publishing), Womanthology: Space (IDW Publishing), Girls Guide to Guys Stuff (Friends of Lulu), among others.
Bonnie has written for Lucasfilm, Disney, CBS, NBC, Apple, Wired, Playboy, Organic Living, entertainment and weird science news at CNET.com, and more. She can also be found on her website Grrl.com, as well as on Twitter and Instagram as @bonniegrl.
Tom Smith: Toastmaster
That guy who does A Boy And His Frog and Rocket Ride.
For thirty-five years, back to the beginning of Reagan’s second term, Tom Smith has been amusing, delighting, and just plain weirding out fandom with his energetic combination of folk-rock comedy, dark fantasy, and stupefying puns. One of the only artists to appear on both NPR’s Sound and Spirit and The Doctor Demento Show, Tom has recorded over two dozen albums, and is a founding member of The Funny Music Project (thefump.com). His shows are audience participation and his hugs are great, so check out his music at tomsmith.bandcamp.com – better yet, come on down and live the myth of Smith!
Dr. Mohamed Noor: Science Guest of Honor (appearing virtually)
Dr. Mohamed Noor is professor of biology and dean of natural sciences at Duke University, and a contracted science consultant for the Star Trek universe. He merges his passions by teaching biology concepts using depictions from Star Trek in the classroom, in writings, in online videos, and in presentations at conventions.
Jess Beauchamp: Artist Guest of Honor
Jess Beauchamp is an Indianapolis based artist/maker that has made a garage-studio based career out of nerd culture creations. From hand-painted bath bombs to fine art watercolors, no medium is safe from Jess’s artistic meddling. She has been very successful in gaining an audience using humor balanced with aesthetics. Professional works include staff artist for Eli Roth’s, Crypt TV as well as painting dozens of theatrical scenery sets on stage as well as television.