Enthusiastic Brights (Page 5)
Dan Hooper is an Associate Scientist in the Theoretical Astrophysics Group at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and an Assistant Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago. His research focuses on the interface between particle physics and cosmology, and includes work on dark matter, supersymmetry, neutrinos, cosmic rays, and theories with extra dimensions of space. He has authored two books, Nature's Blueprint: Supersymmetry and the Search for a Unified Theory of Matter and Force, and Dark Cosmos: In Search of Our Universe's Missing Mass and Energy.
Former environment impacts professor now teams with his son in a firm that deals with solving environmental problems and slowing climate change. A traveler, writer in different languages, and public speaker, he is inventor of Poppi "City of Tolerance" on the Moon. Raoul was a conscientious objector to military service in 1972 due to his personal beliefs. As a strong backer of secular tradition and freedom of conscience, he has for over 20 years been honoring the memory of his ancestor, Tommaso Crudeli, one of the earliest freethinkers, imprisoned until death in the Roman Inquisition (www.crudeli.org).
Vinod Wadhawan is a condensed-matter physicist who is currently researching complexity. He has been active spreading the message of science and the scientific method. He writes a weekly blog post with the label 'Understanding Natural Phenomena', promoting rational thinking. His aim is to emphasize the fact that the origin of life, and of much else, has a rational and natural (rather than supernatural) explanation in terms of the evolution of complexity in Nature. Vinod has written four books: Introduction to Ferroic Materials (2000); Smart Structures: Blurring the Distinction between the Living and the Nonliving (2007); Complexity Science: Tackling the Difficult Questions We Ask about Ourselves and About the Universe (2010); and Latent, Manifest, and Broken Symmetry: A Bottom-up Approach to Symmetry, with Implications for Complex Networks (2011).
Stephen Juan is an anthropologist, educator, and author. Born in California's Napa Valley, he holds a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. He taught for more than 30 years at the University of Sydney where, post retirement in 2009, he remains the Ashley Montagu Fellow. An international award-winning science newspaper columnist, frequent TV and radio commentator, and public speaker, Dr. Juan is the author of 13 books on the body, brain, and behavior. His first book, The Odd Body (1995) has been translated into 27 languages. His latest book, Who's Afraid of Butterflies? Our Fears and Phobias Named and Explained, was published in 2011. Known for his authoritative, yet lively, witty, and humorist presentations, he is also a classic and silent film authority and romantic song lyricist.
The Kagins of Camp Quest
It was in 1996 that Helen Kagin, M.D. and Edwin Kagin, Esq. founded Camp Quest (Kentucky), the first summer camp for children of secular parents. This "Camp Beyond Belief" welcomes and serves children from any family rearing youngsters from a naturalistic outlook. The camps welcome all children, by whatever self-identity labels or affiliations. One message that a Camp Quest imparts to youngsters: "It is okay to be an atheist." The Kagins retired, but their endeavor continues (Ohio) and has spawned other similar camps in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., all reachable through www.Camp-Quest.com. Helen died in 2010 and Edwin, who served as national legal director and Kentucky state director of American Atheists, in 2014. They are both greatly missed by the Brights' community.
Clark Adams (1969-2007)
Energetic and vivacious and a self-described "conference junkie," he participated and served in various leadership capacities across a broad spectrum of freethought organizations from local to national. Clark was immensely influential in part because he was not at all caring what label or labels a person chose for self-identity. He was a particularly driving force in building the Las Vegas Freethought Society, of which he was president when he died. When he was vice president of the Las Vegas area humanist group (www.halvason.org), it was the American Humanist Association's chapter of the year. Clark previously served as public relations director and president of the Internet Infidels, which runs the Secular Web. He also helped co-found the Secular Coalition for America. Clark kept tabs on the media, and how it presented the worldviews and actions of people who did not share in or conform to the dominant cultural perspectives, particularly as regards religion. Clark will long be missed by American brights of many stripes, all across the U.S.