Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie is a British Indian novelist and essayist. His second novel, Midnight’s Children (1981), won the Booker Prize in 1981. Much of his fiction is set on the Indian subcontinent. He is said to combine magical realism with historical fiction; his work is concerned with the many connections, disruptions and migrations between East and West. His fourth novel, The Satanic Verses (1988), was the centre of a major controversy, provoking protests from Muslims in several countries, some violent. Death threats were made against him, including a fatwā issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, on February 14, 1989. Rushdie was appointed Commandeur dans Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France in January 1999. In June 2007, Queen Elizabeth II dubbed him Knight Bachelor for his services to literature. In 2008, The Times ranked him thirteenth on its list of the fifty greatest British writers since 1945. Since 2000, Rushdie has “lived mostly near Union Square” in New York City. In 2007 he began a five-year term as Distinguished Writer in Residence at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, where he has also deposited his archives. In May 2008 he was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Lisa Randall is an American theoretical physicist and a leading expert on particle physics and cosmology. She works on several of the competing models of string theory in the quest to explain the fabric of the universe. Her most well known contribution to the field is the Randall-Sundrum model, first published in 1999 with Raman Sundrum. She was the first tenured woman in the Princeton University physics department and the first tenured female theoretical physicist at MIT and Harvard University. Randall was born in Queens in New York City. She is an alumna of Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics and graduated from Stuyvesant High School in 1980, where she was a classmate of fellow physicist and science popularizer Brian Greene. She won first place in the 1980 Westinghouse Science Talent Search at the age of 18. Randall earned a BS from Harvard in 1983, and obtained her Ph.D. in particle physics in 1987 under the direction of Howard Georgi. She was made a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004. Randall was featured in Newsweek magazine’s “Who’s Next” issue of January 2, 2006, as “one of the most promising theoretical physicists of her generation.”
Jeph Jacques writes and illustrates the webcomic Questionable Content. He was born in Rockville, Maryland, and graduated from Hampshire College with a degree in music. He lives in Southampton, Massachusetts with his wife (and business manager) Cristi. He also has a younger brother, Justin. Questionable Content (QC) is a comedic slice-of-life webcomic that Jacques started on August 1, 2003. It was initially published two days a week, and then moved up to three updates a week when Jacques published strip #16. On September 4, 2004 Jacques lost his day job, and decided to try publishing QC every weekday and make a living selling QC-related T-Shirts. Jeph is one of the small number of professional web cartoonists, as he and his wife Cristi both make their living through QC.
International Business Machines Corporation, or IBM, is an American multinational technology and consulting corporation, with headquarters in Armonk, New York, United States. IBM manufactures and markets computer hardware and software, and offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in areas ranging from mainframe computers to nanotechnology. The company was founded in 1911 as the Computing Tabulating Recording Company (CTR) through a merger of three companies: the Tabulating Machine Company, the International Time Recording Company, and the Computing Scale Company. CTR adopted the name International Business Machines in 1924, using a name previously designated to CTR’s subsidiary in Canada and later South America. Security analysts nicknamed IBM Big Blue in recognition of IBM’s common use of blue in products, packaging, and logo.
Neal Adams is an American comic book and commercial artist known for helping to create some of the definitive modern imagery of the DC Comics characters Superman, Batman, and Green Arrow; as the co-founder of the graphic design studio Continuity Associates; and as a creators-rights advocate who helped secure a pension and recognition for Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Adams was inducted into the Eisner Award’s Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1998, and the Harvey Awards’ Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1999. During the 1970s, Adams was politically active in the industry, and attempted to unionize its creative community. His efforts, along with precedents set by Atlas/Seaboard Comics’ creator-friendly policies and other factors, helped lead to the modern industry’s standard practice of returning original artwork to the artist, who can earn additional income from art sales to collectors. He won his battle in 1987, when Marvel returned original artwork to him and industry legend Jack Kirby, among others. Adams notably and vocally helped lead the lobbying efforts that resulted in Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster receiving decades-overdue credit and some financial remuneration from DC.
Harry Norman Turtledove is an American novelist who has produced works in several genres including alternate history, historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction. Turtledove has been dubbed “The Master of Alternate History”. Within that genre he is known both for creating original alternate history scenarios such as survival of the Byzantine Empire or an alien invasion in the middle of the Second World War and for giving a fresh and original treatment to themes previously dealt with by many others, such as the victory of the South in the American Civil War and of Nazi Germany in the Second World War. His novels have been credited with bringing alternate history into the mainstream. His style of alternate history has a strong military theme with scenes of combat happening throughout many of his works.
John Forbes Nash, Jr. is an American mathematician whose works in game theory, differential geometry, and partial differential equations have provided insight into the forces that govern chance and events inside complex systems in daily life. His theories are used in market economics, computing, evolutionary biology, artificial intelligence, accounting, politics and military theory. Serving as a Senior Research Mathematician at Princeton University during the latter part of his life, he shared the 1994 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with game theorists Reinhard Selten and John Harsanyi. Nash is the subject of the Hollywood movie A Beautiful Mind. The film, loosely based on the biography of the same name, focuses on Nash’s mathematical genius and struggle with paranoid schizophrenia.