Take time to read about each of the key presenters/speakers for the 2018 RASC General Assembly.
Dr. Robert Thirsk, (O.C., O.B.C.)
Former Canadian astronaut Dr. Robert Thirsk (O.C., O.B.C.) was elected the 13th chancellor of the University of Calgary in May 2014.
Thirsk has deep roots in Alberta. He attended R.T. Alderman Junior High and Lord Beaverbrook High Schools and has a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Calgary. Thirsk also has a Master of Science in mechanical engineering and a Master of Business Administration from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, along with a medical degree from McGill University. He also has numerous honorary degrees, including a Doctor of Laws from the University of Calgary, which was conferred while Thirsk was in orbit aboard the International Space Station.
Thirsk holds the Canadian record for the longest time spent in space, at 204 days, 18 hours. His first trip into space was aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia – a 17-day mission on which he and six crewmates performed 43 experiments related to life and materials sciences. In 2009, he became the first Canadian to undertake a long duration space mission when he spent 188 days aboard the International Space Station.
Alan Dyer has been using DSLRs since 2004 and shoots the sky exclusively with these amazing cameras. He is co-author, with Terence Dickinson, of The Backyard Astronomer’s Guide, and most recently the eBook, How to Photograph and Process Nightscapes and Time-Lapses, available at the Apple iBook Store.
Dyer is a contributing editor to SkyNews and to Sky and Telescope magazines. His images have appeared in many books and calendars, including in the RASC Observer’s Calendar and Observer’s Handbook, and on websites such as SpaceWeather.com, Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD), and in publications such as National Geographic magazine. Asteroid #78434 is named for him.
His main website is www.amazingsky.com.
Dr. Fereshteh Rajabi
Dr. Fereshteh Rajabi was born in northwest Iran and did her undergraduate studies in Atomic Physics at the University of Tehran. She moved to the United States in 2009 where she obtained a MSc in Atomic Physics at Wesleyan University, Connecticut, working in a Laser Spectroscopy laboratory studying the statistics of atomic systems at the boundary between quantum and classical physics. While at Wesleyan, Fereshteh became very interested in research on astrophysical processes. At the end of 2010, she came to Canada and started a second MSc, this time in Astronomy at the University of Western Ontario, where she worked on identifying potential magnetic dipole maser lines. Her interest in applying the principles of quantum physics to the interstellar medium were met for her PhD studies, where she worked on Dicke’s superradiance, a well-known phenomenon in the quantum physics community, and investigated the possibility of superradiance in astrophysics. Both her PhD and Master’s were done under the supervision of Dr. Martin Houde at the University of Western Ontario.
Emily Lakdawalla, M.Sc.
Emily Lakdawalla is an internationally admired science communicator and educator, passionate about advancing public understanding of space and sharing the wonder of scientific discovery.
Emily holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in geology from Amherst College and a Master of Science degree in planetary geology from Brown University. She came to The Planetary Society in 2001. She has been writing and editing the Planetary Society Blog since 2005, reporting on space news, explaining planetary science, and sharing beautiful space photos. Emily has been an active supporter of the international community of space image processing enthusiasts as Administrator of the forum UnmannedSpaceflight.com since 2005. She is also a contributing editor to Sky & Telescope magazine.
Randall Rosenfeld, M.A., M.S.L.
Archivist – Royal Astronomical Society of Canada
Dr. Tanya N. Harrison
Dr. Tanya Harrison is the Director of Research for Arizona State University’s Space Technology and Science (“NewSpace”) Initiative. She works on commercial-academic space partnerships and martian geomorphology research. She is also a Science Team Collaborator on the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Opportunity and the upcoming Mars 2020 sample caching rover. Tanya received her Ph.D. in Geology with a specialization in Planetary Science and Exploration from the University of Western Ontario’s Centre for Planetary Science and Space Exploration (CPSX). From 2008 until 2012, she was on the science operations team for NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) Context Camera (CTX) and Mars Color Imager (MARCI) at Malin Space Science Systems (MSSS).