Speakers

Paul Kurtz

Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo, chairman of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI), the Council for Secular Humanism, and Prometheus Books, and editor-in-chief of Free Inquiry Magazine. He is also founder and chairman of the Center for Inquiry, Transnational. He is a former Co-President of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU). BA, New York University; MA and PhD, Columbia University. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Humanist Laureate and President of the International Academy of Humanism.

Paul Kurtz is the author of 850 articles. He is also author or editor of 45 books, including, The Fullnes of Life (1974); The Transcendental Temptation; A Critique of Religion and the Paranormal (1985), The New Skepticism: Inquiry and Reliable Knowledge (1992), In Defense of Secular Humanism (1984), Forbidden Fruit: The Ethics of Humanism (1988); Eupraxsophy: Living Without Religion (1989); Philosophical Essays in Pragmatic Naturalism (1990); Toward a New Enlightenment: The Philosphy of Paul Kurtz (ed by Vern Bullough and Tim Madigan,1994);The Courage to Become (1997); Embracing the Powers of Humanism (2000); Skepticism and Humanism: The New Paradigm (2001); Skeptical Odysseys (2001); Affirmations (2004); Science and Religion (with Barry Karr, 2003).

Paul Kurtz has taught at Trinity, Union and Vassar Colleges as well as The New School for Social Research and City University of New York. He has lectured widely at Universities all over the world, including Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, University of Callifornia, University of Michigan, Heidelberg, London, Sydney, Moscow State University and University of Warsaw.

Daniel Dennett

The author of Breaking the Spell (Viking, 2006); Freedom Evolves (Viking, 2003) and Darwin's Dangerous Idea (Simon &Schuster, 1995), is University Professor and Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy, and Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University. He lives with his wife in North Andover, Massachusetts, and has a daughter, a son, and a grandson. He was born in Boston in 1942, the son of a historian by the same name, and received his B.A. in philosophy from Harvard in 1963. He then went to Oxford to work with Gilbert Ryle, under whose supervision he completed the D.Phil. in philosophy in 1965. He taught at U.C. Irvine from 1965 to 1971, when he moved to Tufts, where he has taught ever since, aside from periods visiting at Harvard, Pittsburgh, Oxford, and the Ecole Normal Superieure in Paris.

His first book, Content and Consciousness, appeared in 1969, followed by Brainstorms (1978), Elbow Room (1984), The Intentional Stance (1987), Consciousness Explained (1991), Darwin's Dangerous Idea (1995), Kinds of Minds (1996), and Brainchildren: A Collection of Essays 1984-1996 (MIT Press and Penguin, 1998). He co-edited The Mind's I with Douglas Hofstadter in 1981. He is the author of over two hundred scholarly articles on various aspects on the mind, published in journals ranging from Artificial Intelligence and Behavioral and Brain Sciences to Poetics Today and the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism.

Sir Harold Kroto

Sir Harold Walter Kroto is an English chemist and one of the winners of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

He is currently on faculty at Florida State University, which he joined in 2004, and prior to that he spent a large part of his working career at the University of Sussex.

Kroto was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1990, and was awarded a knighthood (becoming Sir Harold Kroto) in 1996. Later that year he received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

His alma mater, the University of Sheffield, awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1995 at the undergraduate degree congregation.

In 2001, Kroto won the Royal Society's prestigious Michael Faraday Award. The award is given annually to a scientist who has done the most to further public communication of science, engineering or technology in the United Kingdom.

In 2002 he was elected as president of the Royal Society of Chemistry where he is a fellow and served until 2005 in what could be considered as one of the most successful tenures in history.

Murray Gell-Mann

Murray Gell-Mann was born on 15th September 1929, in New York City. He obtained his B.Sc. at Yale University in 1948, and his Ph.D. in 1951 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1952 he became a member of the Institute for Advanced Study, during 1952-1953 he was instructor at the University of Chicago, from 1953 to 1954 he was Assistant Professor, in 1954 he was appointed Associate Professor for research on dispersion relations. In this period he developed the strangeness theory and the eightfold way theory. In 1956 he was appointed Professor, his research then turned more to the theory of weak interactions.

In 1959 Professor Gell-Mann was awarded the Dannie Heineman Prize of the American Physical Society. He is a Fellow of this society and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. In 1969 Murray Gell-Mann won the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Jean-Claude Pecker

Pecker is a leading scientist, author and rationalist in France. He was Professor at Collège d' France from 1964 to 1988 and Director of Institute of Astrophysics from 1972 to 1979. At present he is the General Secretary of International Astronomical Union and Secretary of the International Academy of Humanism. He has authored several books and hundreds of papers on astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, human rights, pseudo-sciences, science & society and history of astronomy.

Selected books: Le Ciel (1959), Astrophysique Générale (w. Schatzman 1959), Astronomie Expérimentale (1969), Les Laboratoires Spatiaux (1969), 1971, Papa, dis-moi, qu'est-ce que c'est que l'Astronomie (1971), Clefs pour l'Astronomie (1981), Sous l'Étoile Soleil (1984), Astronomie Flammartion (Dir.1986), Pour comprendre l'Univers (w.Delsemme & Reeves 1988), L'avenir du Soleil (1990), Le Promeneur du Soleil (1992), Le Soleil est une étoile (1992), 1999, Understanding the Heavens (1999).

Honours and awards: Cmdr Légion d'honneur, Gd.Officer Ordre Nat. Mérite, Cmdr Palmes Acad.; Prizes: Forthuny (Ac.Sc.Paris), Manley-Bendall, Stroobant (Ac.Roy.Belgium), Jean Perrin (Soc.Fr.Phys.), Lodén (Astr.Soc. Uppsala, Sweden), Trois-Physiciens, Union Rationaliste, and others; Medals: Silver CNRS, Janssen (Soc.Astron.Fr.), Janssen (Soc. Fr.Photogr.), ADION medal and others.

Johan Galtung

Norwegian professor, working at the Transcend Institute. He is seen as the pioneer of peace and conflict research and founded the PRIO - International Peace Research Institute in Oslo. He is also one of the authors of an influential account of news values, the factors which determine coverage given to a given topic in the news media. Galtung also originated the concept of Peace Journalism, increasingly influential in communications and media scholarship.

Academic career

Galtung, after founding the institute, became head of research until 1966 and eventually Director in 1970. In 1964 he founded the Journal of Peace Research. From 1969 to 1977 he was the first professor of peace and conflict research in Scandinavia, employed at the University of Oslo. He has also had a lot of professorates at worldwide Universities, including Santiago in Chile, at the UN-university in Geneva, and at Columbia, Princeton and the University of Hawaii in USA. He has also been entitled an emeritus at several other academic institutions.

Galtung has had several positions of trust in international research councils and has been an advisor to several international organisations. Since 2004 he is member of the Advisory Council of the Committee for a Democratic UN.

Moreover he has also written large quantities of empirical and theoretical articles, especially treating with issues of peace and conflict research. His works is engraved with his special ability of expression and his strong will of innovation and interdiscipline.

In over 40 conflicts all over the world he participated as mediator, such as in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, the Caucasian area, and Ecuador. He has also advised Hawaiian sovereignty groups seeking to end what they see as a foreign occupation by the United States.

Mario Bunge

Bunge is an Argentinian philosopher and physicist mainly active in Canada.

Bunge began his studies at Universidad Nacional de La Plata, graduating with a Ph.D. in physico-mathematical sciences in 1952. He was professor of theoretical physics and philosophy, 1956 - 1966, first at La Plata then at Universidad de Buenos Aires. Dissatisfied with the political climate of his country, he chose to emigrate. After a few years teaching in American, Mexican and German universities, he has taught philosophy at McGill University in Montreal, Canada since 1966. He holds the Frothingham chair of Logic and Metaphysics at the University.

Bunge set out his philosophical thinking systematically in his Treatise on Basic Philosophy, a monumental work in 8 volumes, comprising semantics, ontology, epistemology, philosophy of science, and ethics. There, and in more than 80 books and 400 papers, Bunge develops a comprehensive scientific outlook which he then applies to the various natural and social sciences. His thinking embodies global rationalism, scientific realism, materialism and consequentialism. Bunge has repeatedly and explicitly denied being a logical positivist, and has written on metaphysics, dismissed by the Vienna Circle as meaningless. In the political arena, Bunge has defined himself as a "Left-wing liberal", in the tradition of the Argentine "positivist" movement of José Ingenieros and Carlos Octavio Bunge (his uncle).

Lawrence Krauss

Department of physics at Case Western Reserve University , is the author of a half-dozen books, ranging from The Physics of Star Trek, to his most recent astrobiology book, Atom, which takes up the classic challenge to see the universe in an atom--and vice versa.

Stephen Hawking wrote that "Lawrence Krauss has Carl Sagan's knack of expanding the imagination and explaining the mysteries of the universe in simple terms." Unique to his authoritative writing, Krauss draws on his experience and judgements as an active research cosmologist with over 180 scientific publications and numerous popular articles discussing issues related to physics, science, and society. In 2003, his recent astrophysical research article was the January 3rd cover for the prestigious Science magazine [The Age of Globular Clusters in the Milky Way: Constraints on Cosmology].

He also regularly appears in national media for public outreach in science, and has written many editorials for The New York Times. He is most famous for his advocacy against intelligent design as a result of his involvement on the issue with the state school board of Ohio.

Lionel Tiger

Lionel Tiger is the Charles Darwin Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers University. His title reflects his pioneering role in introducing biosocial data into the social sciences. Since the mid-1960's he has been deeply involved in bridging the gap between the natural and social sciences. He has asserted that the words used appear to imply that human social behavior is somehow not natural. But of course it is. Exploring how and why is Tiger's central adventure. As a teacher, writer of books and articles which have been widely published and translated and as co-Research Director of the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, he has been an influential figure in broadening our knowledge about why we do what we do

Susan Blackmore

Sue Blackmore is a freelance writer, lecturer and broadcaster, and a Visiting Lecturer at the University of the West of England, Bristol. She has a degree in psychology and physiology from Oxford University (1973) and a PhD in parapsychology from the University of Surrey (1980). Her research interests include memes, evolutionary theory, consciousness, and meditation. She practices Zen and campaigns for drug legalization.

She writes for several magazines and newspapers, a blog for the Guardian newspaper and is a frequent contributor and presenter on radio and television. She is author of over sixty academic articles, about forty book contributions, and many book reviews. Her books include Beyond the Body (1982), Dying to Live (on near-death experiences, 1993), In Search of the Light (autobiography, 1996), The Meme Machine (1999); and Test Your Psychic Powers (with Adam Hart-Davis, 1997).

Her textbook Consciousness: An Introduction was published in June 2003 (Hodder UK, OUP New York), and A Very Short Introduction to Consciousness in 2005 (OUP). Her latest book is Conversations on Consciousness (November 2005 OUP Oxford) due out in the USA in January 2006.

Adam Hart Davis

Adam Hart-Davis is a freelance photographer, writer, and broadcaster of many science and history programs on British television and radio. He has written several books, including World's weirdest 'true' ghost stories , Thunder, flush, & Thomas Crapper (an encycLOOpedia), What the Victorians, Tudors, Stuarts, Greeks, Egyptians etc. did for us , Talking science, Why Does a Ball Bounce? and more. A Companion of the Institution of Lighting Engineers, a member of the British Toilet Association, the Bureau of Freelance Photographers, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Adam has collected eleven honorary doctorates, and many medals and awards for his work.

Adam Hart Davis is the inventor and producer of Scientific Eye, the most successful school science series on TV, which was used in 70% of UK secondary schools. He has worked with television networks across the world including the Japanese TV company NHK and the Discovery Channel.

In 1977 Adam worked as a researcher with Magnus Pyke, a well-known British scientist and eccentric media personality who has inspired the public understanding of science across the world. After Don't Ask Me and Don't Just Sit There (studio shows with Magnus Pyke and David Bellamy) Adam worked on Where There's Life (with Miriam Stoppard and Rob Buckman), and Arthur C Clarke's Mysterious World. In 1985 Adam produced Arthur C Clarke's World of Strange Powers.

Peter Atkins

Fellow and professor of chemistry at Lincoln College in the University of Oxford. He is a prolific writer of popular chemistry textbooks, particularly Physical Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, and Molecular Quantum Mechanics, three of the world's most popular chemistry textbooks. Atkins' Physical Chemistry is now in its 8th edition; Atkins' Molecular Quantum Mechanics is in its 4th. Atkins is also the author of a number of popular science works, including Atkins' Molecules and Galileo's Finger: The Ten Great Ideas of Science.

Atkins, who is an atheist, has also written and spoken on issues of humanism, atheism, and what he sees as the incompatibility between science and religion. He is the Senior Member for the Oxford Secular Society and an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society.

Atkins studied chemistry at the University of Leicester, obtaining a bachelor's degree in chemistry and in 1964 a Ph.D. for research into electron spin resonance and other aspects of theoretical chemistry. In 1969, he won the Royal Society of Chemistry's Meldola Medal. Atkins then taught physical chemistry at UCLA and later at Lincoln College, Oxford, where he has been ever since.

Kendrick Frazier

Kendrick is a well-known science writer and editor with long-standing interests in astronomy, space exploration, the geophysical sciences, archaeology, technology, the history of science, public issues of science, and the critical examination of pseudoscience and fringe-science.

Frazier is editor for Skeptical Inquirer, a unique, bimonthly international journal that evaluates fringe-science claims from a responsible, scientific point of view. He has edited five books based on articles from this publication, all published by Prometheus Books.

Before his work as Editor in Chief for Skeptical Inquirer magazine, Kendrick worked as editor of Science News in Washington, DC, for which he also covered the earth sciences and science policy. He is author or editor of nine books. He wrote People of Chaco (W.W. Norton & Co., 1986; paperback, 1987, now in its eighth printing); Solar System (Planet Earth series, Time-Life Books, 1985); Our Turbulent Sun (Prentice-Hall, 1982); and The Violent Face of the Nature (Morrow, 1979).

Kendrick's articles have appeared in many periodicals, including Science News, Smithsonian, Air & Space, Science 80/81, Omni, New Scientist, Reader's Digest, Physics Today, Encyclopeadia Britannica Yearbook of Science and the Future (three major feature articles), and Mosaic (National Science Foundation, eight major articles). He is a member of the National Association of Science Writers and the American Geophysical Union. He has been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Scott Atran

Research Director at the National Center for Scientific Research in Paris, France. He is also a research scientist at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research (ISR) and an adjunct professor in the U-M departments of anthropology, psychology and natural resources and environment. His wide-ranging, interdisciplinary approach to social, psychological and cultural issues, along with the unusual breadth and depth of his personal experience in both the Arab and Israeli Middle East, provides Atran's analysis of the roots of suicide terrorism a rare blend of intellectual and practical force.

His broadly interdisciplinary scientific studies have appeared in Science magazine, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Journal of the History of Biology, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, Annales-Economies-Sociétés-Civilisations, Politics and Society, Current Anthropology, American Ethnologist, Mind and Language, and Psychological Review. Work on the religious roots of suicide terrorism has been featured around the world by Reuters, the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, the Wall Street Journal, the Sunday Times, El Mundo (Spain), La Recherche (France), Der Spiegel (Germany), Il Sole 24 Ore (Italy), the BBC National and World Service, CTV (Canada), National Public Radio, ABC, MSNBC, Discovery Channel, and CNN radio and television.

His books include the Cognitive Foundations of Natural History: Towards an Anthropology of Science, In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion, and The Native Mind: Cognition and Culture in Human Knowledge of Nature (co-authored with Douglas Medin and forthcoming from Oxford University Press). In addition to his work on the roots of terrorism, Atran conducts on-going research in Guatemala, Mexico, and the U.S. on universal and culture-specific aspects of biological categorization and environmental reasoning and decision making funded by France's Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, and by the U.S. National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health.

Edward Kruglyakov

Edward Kruglyakov was born in Krasnodar (Russia). He completed his work with the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology in 1998 and since that time he has been a collaborator of the Institute of Nuclear Physics.

At present, Eduard Kruglyakov is Academician of Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), Head of laboratory and Deputy Director of the largest Russian scientific institute (Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics, Novosibirsk), Professor and Head of Chair of Plasma Physics of Novosibirsk State University. He is the USSR State Prize laureate, Artsimovitch Prize winner. Eduard Kruglyakov is the Chairman of the Committee of the Presidium of RAS against pseudo science and falsification of scientific results.

His publications include two books describing how extrasensory individuals, astrologers, and pseudo scientists swindle people. At present, Eduard Kruglyakov is completing a third book where he demonstrates how pseudo science penetrates the societies of different countries.