Bad Astronomy - For as long as he can remember, Dr. Phil Plait has been in love with science. "When I was maybe four or five years old, my dad brought home a cheapo department store telescope. He aimed it at Saturn that night. One look, and that was it. I was hooked," he says. After earning his doctorate in astronomy at the University of Virginia, he worked as a NASA contractor at the Goddard Space Flight Center, working with the Hubble Space Telescope. Dr. Plait began a career in public outreach and education with the Bad Astronomy website and blog, debunking bad science and popular misconceptions. The book Bad Astronomy was released in 2002, followed in 2008 by Death From The Skies! Dr. Plait's television show, Phil Plait's Bad Universe premiered on the Discovery Channel in September 2010. More info at: http://www.samaralectures.com/speakers/phil-plait/
Charlene's partner of many years, Kate Fleming, was hospitalized after a flash flood. Charlene was denied access to Kate's hospital room during her final moments because Washington state did not recognize their relationship. She is now a nationally respected LGBT advocate for social justice and civil rights issues including marriage equality and non-discrimination policies.
HIV+ Playboy Playmate, Bodybuilder, and Fitness Expert - At the age of 18, Rebekka became a Playboy Playmate after being chosen to be Miss September 1986, a culmination of her childhood dream. For the next four years, she led an exciting life as a Playmate, traveling, modeling, and attending star-studded parties. However, she was often tired and bruised easily. At the age of 22, she was diagnosed with HIV. More info at: http://www.samaralectures.com/speakers/rebekka-armstrong/