Center for Inquiry

Center for Inquiry


Carl Sagan Day Conference

Sponsored by Secular Alliance at Indiana University, Center for Inquiry-Indiana, CFI-Indiana Bloomington Chapter, Indiana University Astronomy Club, & WonderLab.

Carl Sagan

Saturday, November 9, 2013

9:00 am - 3:00 pm

Phil Plait program at 4:00 pm

Indiana University Memorial Union

900 East 7th Street

Bloomington, IN 47405

Parking adjacent to building.


CFI Friends of the Center--$10.00, General Public--$15.00, Students--no charge but registration recommended. Donations of any amount are appreciated to help defray the expenses for the conference.  A donation of at least $25.00 makes the person eligible for priority seating. All conference registrants will have priority seating at the Phil Plait event at 4:00 pm.

Schedule (subject to change)

Phil Plait--Keynote Speaker

10:00 am - 2:00 pm-- Frangipani Room, Indiana Memorial Union  

10:00 am--Katherine Rhode, IU astronomy professor--TBA

10:45 am--James Croft, Research and Education Fellow at the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard--Carl Sagan's Scientific Spirutuality.

11:30 am--Break

11:45 am--Leonard Tramiel, physicist and on the CFI Board of Directors--Accepting the Absurd: A Fundamental Re-Examination of Our Understanding of the Universe.

12:30 pm--Speakers TBA

1:15 pm--Panel-- participants TBA

2:00-4:00--Late lunch/ early dinner break

4:00 pm--Whittenberger Auditorium, Indiana Memorial Union

Phil Plait, Renowned Astronomer: Bad Astronomy

Registration for the morning session guarantees you premium seating for Phil Plait's presentation. This presentation is sponsored by Indiana University Union Board and Indiana University Astronomy Department. 

Speaker Biographies

James CroftJames Croft is a Humanist activist and speaker who has swiftly become one of the best-known new faces in Humanism today. He is a graduate of the Universities of Cambridge and Harvard, and is currently studying for his Doctorate in the philosophy of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, while training to become a leader in the Ethical Culture movement. He is an in-demand public speaker, an engaging teacher, and a passionate activist for human rights. James was raised on Shakespeare, Sagan and Star Trek, and is a proud, gay Humanist. His upcoming book "The Godless Congregation", co-authored with New York Times bestselling author Greg Epstein, is being published by Simon & Schuster.  More information.

Katherine RhodeDr. Katherine Rhode, Associate Professor, Astronomy Department, Indiana University.

Dr. Rhode joined the IU Astronomy faculty in August 2007. After receiving a B.A. in Physics from Sonoma State University in 1989, she held positions at the Maria Mitchell Observatory, NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center, and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. She earned an M.A. in Astronomy at Wesleyan University in 1997 and a Ph.D. in Astronomy at Yale University in 2003. From 2003 to 2006, she was an NSF Astronomy & Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow with a joint appointment at Wesleyan and Yale Universities. More information.


Leonard Tramiel headshot.jpgDr. Leonard Tramiel, California physicist, Ph.D., M.A., M.Phil., member of CFI Transnational Board of Directors.

Fresh out of graduate school, Tramiel joined his father and two brothers when his father bought Atari from Warner Communications in 1984. For the next 12 years, Tramiel was involved in the development of Atari’s
products as vice president of software.
Since retiring from Atari, he has been concentrating on advocating science education. Tramiel has also been a volunteer eighth-grade astronomy teacher for the past 10 years and has been volunteering at the Chabot Space and Science Center since 2000.

“I think that CFI’s mission of fostering a society based on reason and values is wonderful, in fact vital, for the future of humanity,” Tramiel said.An interview with Dr. Tramiel can be found here.

Person-CFI-Plait-Phil.jpgPhilip Plait, Ph.D., is a renowned astronomer with more than two decades of professional research and education experience. He has written articles for such magazines as Astronomy and Sky and Telescope, as well
as national and international newspapers. He has appeared on national
television news and documentaries many times, including the Sci-Fi Channel's Countdown to Doomsday and National Geographic's Is It Real? His Web site, Bad Astronomy, has won numerous awards, such as Best Science Blog of 2007, and is read by millions of people every year.

After 10 years working on Hubble Space Telescope data and six more working on astronomy education, he struck out on his own as a writer. His two books are Bad Astronomy: Misconceptions and Misuses Revealed, from Astrology to the Moon Landing "Hoax" and Death from the Skies! These Are the Ways the Universe Will End. He has also written dozens of magazine articles and 12 bazillion blog articles.He is a skeptic and fights the abuse of science, but his true love is praising the wonders of real science

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