beamjockey (beamjockey) wrote,
beamjockey
beamjockey

Higgins at Chicon 7: SETI, Cornog, Curiosity, Inner Space, and a Kaffeeklatsch

I will be doing programming at Chicon 7, the 70th Worldcon, next week.

The program schedule is subject to change, but here's the best information available. There have already been three changes in my items since the Pocket Program PDF went to press.

Ozma Plus 50: My Week Among the Searchers for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

Thursday Aug 30 9:00 pm
Columbus IJKL
Bill Higgins




The modern quest to seek evidence for extraterrestrial civilizations began half a century ago. Bill Higgins recounts his journey to a distant valley filled with radio telescopes where he met with scientists, writers, and artists in the birthplace of modern SETI.

Comment: Though the pocket program says this is in Crystal A, it's now been moved to Columbus IJKL. I will have to hustle back from Chicon's reception at the Adler Planetarium to give this talk. I've given it before, but not to a Worldcon. Expect more a personal account of the experience rather than a lecture on SETI 101.

Kaffeeklatsch: Bill Higgins

Friday Aug 31 1:30 pm [the Pocket Program says 1:00, but I am informed otherwise]
Kaffeeklatsche 3 [I believe this is the Columbian Room]

WSH Humorous Helpful & Odd

Comment: Sign up in advance at the Info Desk if you want to participate in this. A kaffeeklatsch is an opportunity for a limited number of people (I'm not sure whether it's 10 or 15) to meet with a writer, artist, scientist, etc. for a conversation. Also not sure whether the "kaffee" will be the kind we can drink or merely virtual. Whether there are ten people who want to converse with me in the middle of a Worldcon remains to be seen.

Heinlein`s Ambassador to the Atom: Robert A. Cornog, Physicist


Friday Aug 31 9:00 PM
Columbus EF
Bill Higgins



Photo: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Robert Cornog (1912-1998), an engineer and physicist, was a close friend of Robert A. Heinlein before Heinlein's literary career began. Cornog, as a cyclotron experimenter, Manhattan Project participant, and rocket engineer, gave Heinlein a window on advanced research, and sometimes served as Heinlein's sounding board for the science that went into his fiction. Their correspondence across decades reveals a shared delight in technology, a passion for science fiction, and an urgent concern to curb the threat of a nuclear arms race.

Comment: This is NOT Sunday morning, as given in the pocket program; it has been rescheduled. Based on my book chapter about the co-discoverer of helium-3. I really wanted to bring this to a Worldcon, one of the few places I expect to find people who care about the topic. The time slot means it will attract people who want to hear about research into history of science and SF at a time when parties are going on elsewhere in the building. But really, wouldn't those be the best sort of people to meet?

Curiosity: The Mars Science Laboratory

Saturday Sep 1 1:30 pm
Columbus KL
Bill Higgins, Brother Guy Consolmagno


The Mars Science Laboratory has the ambitious mission to study the climate, geology, and potential for life of Mars. Weeks after landing, what have we learned? What do we expect to find out in the coming months?


Comment: The more I learn about Curiosity, the more excited I am about this talk. It's a hot news topic. It's in a great time slot (Higgins's Law of Programming: "All program items want to occur on Saturday afternoon at 2.") I imagine it will attract a lot of fans. And I really enjoy giving presentations with Brother Guy.

Inner Space vs. Outer Space

Sunday Sep 2 3:00 pm
Crystal C
Bill Higgins, Edward M. Lerner, Kathryn Allan, Tad Daley




Are the stars, or even the solar system, in humanity's future? Recent progress in genetics, neuroscience, computing, and nanotechnology has far outstripped progress in space exploration or travel. The problems that press on people and society the most - health care, aging, mental health, energy supplies, a damaged environment - have more to do with managing our planet than venturing into space. Should science fiction spend more time on the topics of inner space than outer space?

Comment: Doesn't this sound interesting? I signed up for this to hear three other extremely smart people take on an intriguing cluster of topics.

That's the lineup, as it stands now. Due to a schedule conflict, I will NOT be a participant in "Human or Robot: Is Human Spaceflight Necessary?" on Sunday at 10:30 AM.

I'm hoping to see a lot of old friends at Worldcon, and to make a few new friends.
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