E.O. Wilson, Chair
Edward O. Wilson, one of the world's most respected scientists, is the Pellegrino University Research Professor, Emeritus, at Harvard University. He has been hailed as "the new Darwin" by Thomas Wolfe, and one of "America's 25 Most Influential People" by TIME Magazine. Wilson twice received the Pulitzer Prize, for The Ants and On Human Nature. He has received 75 awards in international recognition for his contributions to science and humanity, including the U.S. National Medal of Science, Japan's International Prize for Biology, the Crafoord Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Germany's Terrestrial Ecology Prize, and the Franklin Medal of the American Philosophical Society. For his conservation work he has received the Audubon Medal of the National Audubon Society and the Gold Medal of the World Wide Fund for Nature. He is also the recipient of 27 honorary doctoral degrees from North America and Europe.
Ann Druyan is a cowriter with the late Carl Sagan of the Emmy and Peabody award-winning series Cosmos. Their twenty-year professional collaboration included NASA's Voyager Interstellar Message and many speeches, articles, and books, including Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors and Comet. She was co-creator with Sagan of the motion picture Contact, and a credited contributor to his Pale Blue Dot, The Demon-Haunted World, and Billions and Billions. She is co-founder and CEO of Cosmos Studios, as well as Program Director of Cosmos 1, the first solar sailing spacecraft mission. She and Carl Sagan were married until his death in 1996. They have two children.
David Helfand is Chair of the Department of Astronomy at Columbia University and Co-Director of the Columbia Astrophysics Laboratory. He joined Columbia in 1977 and received the 2002 Great Teacher Award from the Society of Columbia Graduates. His primary research interests include large-scale structure as derived from radio surveys; the origin and evolution of neutron stars and supernova remnants; and active galactic nuclei and the X-ray background. He is a regular contributor to Astronomical Journal, Astrophysical Journal, Nature , and Monthly Notes of the Royal Astronomical Society. He had a weekly stint on the Discovery Channel program Science News, discussing the latest astronomical discoveries, and has appeared on Comedy Central's The Daily Show.
Nat Hentoff is a nationally syndicated columnist and expert on the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights as well as jazz. He is a regular contributer to The Village Voice, The Wall Street Journal, and Free Inquiry. He was a Fulbright fellow at the Sorbonne in Paris in 1950. From 1953 through 1957 he was associate editor of Down Beat magazine. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in education and an American Bar Association Silver Gavel Award in 1980 for his coverage of the law and criminal justice in his columns. In 1985 he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Laws by Northeastern University. Hentoff's many books include The First Freedom: The Tumultuous History of Free Speech in America, Free Speech for Me But Not for Thee: How the American Left and Right Relentlessly Censor Each Other, and Speaking Freely: A Memoir.
Susan Jacoby is the author of ten books, a frequent contributor to national magazines and newspapers, and the recipient of numerous awards, including a 2001 appointment as a fellow of the New York Public Library’s Center for Scholars and Writers. An outspoken advocate of reason, she writes "The Spirited Atheist" column for On Faith at The Washington Post. She is a member of the advisory boards of the Secular Coalition for America and the Freedom from Religion Foundation, and was formerly program director of the Center for Inquiry-New York City. Her books include Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism, The Age of American Unreason, and Never Say Die: The Myth and Marketing of the New Old Age.
Clifford A. Pickover
Clifford A. Pickover received his Ph.D. from Yale University and is the author of over thirty highly-acclaimed books on such topics as computers and creativity, art, mathematics, black holes, human behavior and intelligence, time travel, alien life, and science fiction. He is a prolific inventor with dozens of patents, the associate editor for several journals, author of colorful puzzle calendars, and contributor to magazines geared to children and adults. His computer graphics have been featured in many popular magazines and on TV shows. He is author of Calculus and Pizza; The Mathematics of Oz; The Zen of Magic Squares, Circles, and Stars; The Paradox of God and the Science of Omniscience; Dreaming the Future; The Stars of Heaven; Wonders of Numbers: Adventures in Math, Mind, and Meaning; The Girl Who Gave Birth To Rabbits: A True Medical Mystery; Cryptorunes: Codes and Secret Writing; Surfing Through Hyperspace; The Science of Aliens; Time: A Traveler's Guide ; as well as the author of over 200 articles concerning topics in science, art, and mathematics.
Massimo Pigliucci is Chair of the Philosophy Department at City University of New York at Lehman College, and editor in chief for the journal Philosophy and Theory in Biology. His research is concerned with philosophy of science, the relationship between science and philosophy, and the relationship between science and religion. He has published over a hundred technical papers and several books; has columns in the magazines Philosophy Now and Skeptical Inquirer; pens the "Rationally Speaking" blog; hosts the podcast by the same name; and publishes the "5-minute Philosopher" videos on YouTube. His most recent book is Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science From Bunk. He has a doctorate in genetics from the University of Ferrara, Italy, a Ph.D. in botany from the University of Connecticut, and a Ph.D. in philosophy of science from the University of Tennessee. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Pigliucci was formerly professor of Ecology and Evolution at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
Albert Ellis was the author of more than 65 books on psychotherapy, relationship therapy, and self-help, including Feeling Better, Getting Better, Staying Better ; Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy: A Therapist's Guide ; Making Intimate Connections and How to Make Yourself Happy and Remarkably Less Disturbable . He published over 700 articles and composed more than 200 rational songs. He was rated by psychologists and counselors in the United States as one of the most influential psychologists of our time. He "revolutionized" psychotherapy beginning in 1955, when he created Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), the first of the now-popular cognitive behavior therapies. Dr. Ellis served on CFI-NYC's Advisory Board until his death in 2007.
Norman Levitt received a B.A. degree from Harvard College, followed by a Ph.D. in mathematics from Princeton University. He was Professor of Mathematics, Rutgers University, NJ, where he specialized in differential and geometric topology, surgery theory, and structure theory. His books included Higher Superstition: The Academic Left and Its Quarrels with Science (with Paul Gross), Prometheus Bedeviled: Science and the Contradictions of Contemporary Culture, and The Flight From Science and Reason (with Paul Gross and Martin W. Lewis). Levit served on CFI-NYC's advisory board until his death in 2009.