Canadian television personality and former CEO TWOSE
Trivia NightTrivia Night
Alan Nursall was the President and CEO of TELUS World of Science – Edmonton (TWOSE) for ten years. He joined TWOSE in January, 2014 following a 24-year career at Science North in Ontario and six years running his own science communication company. He retired from TWOSE in June, 2023. Alan helped launch Science North in Sudbury in 1984 and served as Science Director from 1999-2007, responsible for the science experience at Science North and its companion facility, Dynamic Earth. He started NEXT Exhibits, Inc., in 2007, creating exhibits, shows, and other experiences for science centres and museums across North America and beyond.
Director of Engagement, International Dark Sky Association
Dark Sky PreservationDark Sky Preservation
Bettymaya Foott loves to bring people to the dark side. As the Director of Engagement for the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), Bettymaya works with a global community of dark sky defenders, empowering them with tools, resources, and inspiration to protect the night sky. An avid astrophotographer, you can usually find her out under the stars with one of her three cameras battling off mosquitos. Bettymaya’s photography has been featured in Sky and Telescope, National Geographic, and the Los Angeles Times. Her dark sky efforts have reached TedX Kansas City and the New York Times.
Founder, Space Weather Trackers
Explaining the mysteries of the auroraExplaining the mysteries of the aurora
Founder and Owner of Space Weather Trackers via Facebook pages, astrophotographer, and aurora chaser, Christian has spent the last decade breaking down the complexities of space weather events and phenomena in order to enlighten the public on what sources to check, as well as what the data means, to increase their likelihood of success in viewing the aurora themselves. With a background in Astrophysics from The Ohio State University in the states, teaching classes on the subject for multiple years in Fairbanks, Alaska, as well as leading as a group expert in several aurora groups across the world, he looks to make the beauty of the aurora personally known to as many as possible.
Mathematician & Author
Observing Deep-sky Objects using a Sky AtlasObserving Deep-sky Objects using a Sky Atlas
Mathematician Dr. Erich Karkoschka works as a specialist for planetary research at the Lunar and Planetary Center in Tucson, Arizona. He has observed every object presented in his book, Observer's Sky Atlas: The 500 Best Deep-Sky Objects With Charts and Images.
Award-winning spaceflight historian and founder of Space Hipsters
From Space Fandom to Space FuneralsFrom Space Fandom to Space Funerals
In 2010, Emily Carney started a spaceflight blog called This Space Available. Fun fact: the late Gene Cernan (Gemini 9A, Apollo 10, and Apollo 17 astronaut, also known as “The Last Man on the Moon”) once asked her, “What the hell is a space blog?” In 2011, Carney wanted to start a Facebook group for space enthusiasts, but was struggling to find a good name. Her husband, Steve, suggested “Space Hipsters” as sort of a sarcastic placeholder, but the name stuck. The group grew more quickly than she could imagine, and as of April 2023 it totals over 41,000 members. Space Hipsters boasts members from all around the world, and includes space enthusiasts, writers, artists, scientists, engineers, aspiring astronauts, and even a few actual astronauts
PhD Student Physics and Astrophysics
Unveiling the Mysteries of Faraway Galaxies: A Journey with the James Webb Space TelescopeUnveiling the Mysteries of Faraway Galaxies: A Journey with the James Webb Space Telescope
Hamid Hassani is a PhD student in Physics and Astrophysics at the University of Alberta, actively contributing to the international collaboration studying galaxies, known as PHANGS (Physics at High Angular Resolution in nearby galaxies). His research centers on unraveling the evolution of galaxies, utilizing a variety of ground-based and space-based telescopes to explore the formation and regulation of stars. Recently, Hamid made significant contributions by utilizing the James Webb Space Telescope, the largest and most advanced space telescope, to investigate dust properties in nearby galaxies.
ASTRONAUT, MILITARY OFFICER, ENGINEER, POLITICIAN, CC
An Intimate Evening With Marc GarneauAn Intimate Evening With Marc Garneau
Marc Garneau has distinguished himself in three distinct fields. As a Naval Officer with the Canadian Armed Forces, he spent 10 years as a combat systems engineer. In 1984, Garneau became the first Canadian Astronaut to go to space and from 2001 to 2005 was President of the Canadian Space Agency. As a Federal Politician from 2008 – 2023 he served as Liberal House Leader, Minister of Transport, and Minister of Foreign Affairs. Marc was appointed as Companion of the Order of Canada in 2003 for outstanding achievement and service to Canada and humanity at large.
Science broadcaster and award-winning writer
The Future of UsThe Future of Us
Jay Ingram is a Science broadcaster and award-winning writer. Steve Dodd(lead guitar) is a music composer for tv and film; he’s published more than 3,000 compositions worldwide. Josip Vulic (bass) is a Canadian operator/designer and music producer hobbyist. Trevor Day (rhythm guitar) is a physiologist, specializing in blood chemistry at high altitude. Ben Jackson (drummer) has spent his entire life immersed in music! Garth Kennedy (keyboards) is part owner of a software company, which gets in the way of music sometimes. But not this time.
Science for LunchScience for Lunch
Jeanine is an avid aurora chaser, astro photographer and guide. She’s a recognized, and published photographer based in Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan, Canada. Jeanine leads aurora photography workshops, is a judge for the International Dark Sky Association’s Capture the Dark photo contest and has spoken about her aurora chasing adventures to an international audience. She promotes the importance of dark sky awareness and the magical beauty of the night sky through her presentations, photography and writing.
Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta, Amii Fellow, CIFAR AI Chair
Flying Balloons in the Stratosphere with AIFlying Balloons in the Stratosphere with AI
Marlos is a Fellow in Residence and Canada CIFAR AI Chair at the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii), and an adjunct professor at the University of Alberta. Marlos’s research mostly focuses on the problem of reinforcement learning. He received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. from UFMG, in Brazil, and his Ph.D. from the University of Alberta, where he popularized the idea of temporally-extended exploration through options. He was a researcher at DeepMind from 2021 to 2023 and at Google Brain from 2019 to 2021, during which time he made major contributions to reinforcement learning, in particular the application of deep reinforcement learning to control Loon’s stratospheric balloons.
Fellow & Canada CIFAR AI Chair
Procedural Worlds Through AIProcedural Worlds Through AI
Matthew is a Fellow and Canada CIFAR AI Chair at Amii and an Assistant Professor of Computing Science at the University of Alberta. He achieved his Ph.D. in Computer Science in 2019 at the Georgia Institute of Technology where his thesis focused on Combinational Machine Learning Creativity. His research has been featured in popular media such as Vice, Time, Motherboard, BBC and Rolling Stone, and his code has been applied to research at Cornell University, Drexel University, Northeastern University, Worcester Polytechnic University, the University of California, Davis, and the University of California, Santa Cruz.
A thirty year resident of Jasper Alberta, Mike Gere has been a photographer of many sorts for the last 25 years. Owner and operator of Jasper Photo Tours he is a self-taught photographer of landscapes, wildlife and portraiture, with his favorite school of photography being night photography. Night imagery with magnetism such as those of auroras, astrophotography, light painting and time lapses are his most sought-after subjects. Mike is always up for a photo adventure of any sort and can be easily bribed with oatmeal raisin cookies.
Fellow, Canada CIFAR AI Chair & Board of Directors
Science for Brunch with Patrick PilarskiScience for Brunch with Patrick Pilarski
Dr. Pilarski received the B.ASc. in Electrical Engineering from the University of British Columbia in 2004, the Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Alberta in 2009, and completed his postdoctoral training in computing science with Dr. Richard S. Sutton at the University of Alberta. Dr. Pilarski's research interests include reinforcement learning and decision making, artificial intelligence, real-time machine learning, human-machine interaction, intelligence amplification, rehabilitation technology, and assistive robotics. He leads the Amii Adaptive Prosthetics Program—an interdisciplinary initiative focused on creating intelligent artificial limbs to restore and extend abilities for people with amputations.
Have a fascination with the night sky and have something to say about it? Become a speaker at Jasper Dark Sky Festival!
With a wealth of knowledge, our previous speakers really knocked it out of the park.