Edgar Howard Wright is an English film and television director and writer. He is most famous for his work with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost on the films Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, the TV series Spaced, and for directing the film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and co-writing Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin with Joe Cornish and Steven Moffat (the writer of Doctor Who and Sherlock). Wright was born in Poole, Dorset, but grew up predominantly in Wells, Somerset, after his family moved there during his childhood. Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, Wright directed many short films, first on a Super-8 camera which was a gift from a family member and later on a Video-8 camcorder won in a competition on the television programme Going Live. These films were mostly comedic pastiches of popular genres, such as the super hero-inspired Carbolic Soap and Dirty Harry tribute Dead Right (the latter of which was eventually featured on the DVD release of Hot Fuzz).
George Adamski was a Polish-born American citizen who became widely known in ufology circles, and to some degree in popular culture, after he claimed to have photographed ships from other planets, met with friendly Nordic alien “Space Brothers”, and to have taken flights with them. The first of the so-called contactees of the 1950s, he styled himself to be a “philosopher, teacher, student and saucer researcher”, though his claims were met with skepticism. Adamski had previously written a science fiction book in 1949 with a space travel theme, Pioneers of Space: A Trip to the Moon, Mars and Venus, published by Leonard-Freefield Co of Los Angeles. In 1953 he took some of the fictional material from that book and presented it as fact within the best selling Flying Saucers Have Landed, co-written with Desmond Leslie.
Seth Rogen is a Canadian stand-up comedian, actor, producer, director, screenwriter, and voice artist. Rogen began his career doing stand-up comedy during his teen years, winning the Vancouver Amateur Comedy Contest in 1998. While still living in his native Vancouver, Rogen landed a small part in Freaks and Geeks. Shortly after Rogen moved to Los Angeles for his role, Freaks and Geeks was officially canceled after one season due to poor ratings. Rogen later got a part on the equally short-lived Undeclared, which also hired him as a staff writer. After landing his job as a staff writer on the final season of Da Ali G Show, for which Rogen and the other writers received their Emmy Award nomination, Rogen was guided by film producer Judd Apatow toward a film career. Rogen was cast in a major supporting role and credited as a co-producer in Apatow’s directorial debut, The 40-Year-Old Virgin. After Rogen received critical praise for his performance, Universal Pictures agreed to cast him as the lead in Apatow’s directorial feature films Knocked Up and Funny People. Rogen and his comedy partner Evan Goldberg co-wrote the films Superbad, Pineapple Express, and The Green Hornet. Rogen has done voice work for the films Horton Hears a Who!, Kung Fu Panda, Monsters vs. Aliens, and Paul. Rogen married fellow screenwriter Lauren Miller in October 2011.
Michael Bruce Sterling is an American science fiction author, best known for his novels and his work on the Mirrorshades anthology, which helped define the cyberpunk genre. Sterling is, along with William Gibson, Rudy Rucker, John Shirley, Lewis Shiner, and Pat Cadigan, one of the founders of the cyberpunk movement in science fiction, as well as its chief ideological promulgator, and one whose polemics on the topic earned him the nickname “Chairman Bruce”. He was also one of the first organizers of the Turkey City Writer’s Workshop, and is a frequent attendee at the Sycamore Hill Writer’s Workshop. He won Hugo Awards for his novelettes Bicycle Repairman and Taklamakan.
Garry Kimovich Kasparov is a Russian (formerly Soviet) chess grandmaster, a former World Chess Champion, writer and political activist, considered by many to be the greatest chess player of all time. Kasparov became the youngest ever undisputed World Chess Champion in 1985 at the age of 22 by defeating then-champion Anatoly Karpov. He held the official FIDE world title until 1993, when a dispute with FIDE led him to set up a rival organization, the Professional Chess Association. He continued to hold the “Classical” World Chess Championship until his defeat by Vladimir Kramnik in 2000. He was the first world champion to lose a match to a computer under standard time controls, when he lost to Deep Blue in 1997. Kasparov’s ratings achievements include being rated world No. 1 according to Elo rating almost continuously from 1986 until his retirement in 2005. He achieved a peak rating of 2851, which was the highest recorded until 2013. He was the world No. 1 ranked player for 255 months, nearly three times as long as his closest rival, Anatoly Karpov. Kasparov also holds records for consecutive tournament victories and Chess Oscars.
Herbert Jeffrey “Herbie” Hancock is an American pianist, keyboardist, bandleader and composer. As part of Miles Davis’s Second Great Quintet, Hancock helped to redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section and was one of the primary architects of the “post-bop” sound. He was one of the first jazz musicians to embrace music synthesizers and funk music (characterized by syncopated drum beats). Hancock’s music is often melodic and accessible; he has had many songs “cross over” and achieved success among pop audiences. His music embraces elements of funk and soul while adopting freer stylistic elements from jazz. In his jazz improvisation, he possesses a unique creative blend of jazz, blues, and modern classical music, with harmonic stylings much like the styles of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. Hancock’s best-known solo works include “Cantaloupe Island”, “Watermelon Man” (later performed by dozens of musicians, including bandleader Mongo Santamaría), “Maiden Voyage”, “Chameleon”, and the singles “I Thought It Was You” and “Rockit”. His 2007 tribute album River: The Joni Letters won the 2008 Grammy Award for Album of the Year, only the second jazz album ever to win the award after Getz/Gilberto in 1965. Hancock is a member of Sōka Gakkai International. On July 22, 2011 at a ceremony in Paris, Hancock was named UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the promotion of Intercultural Dialogue. Hancock recently joined the University of California, Los Angeles faculty as a professor in the UCLA music department where he will teach jazz music.
Sir Andrew John Wiles KBE FRS is a British mathematician and a professor at Princeton University, specializing in number theory. He is most famous for proving Fermat’s Last Theorem. Andrew Wiles is the son of Maurice Frank Wiles (1923–2005), the Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Oxford and Patricia Wiles. His father worked as the Chaplain at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, for the years 1952-55. Wiles was born in Cambridge, England, in 1953, and he attended King’s College School, Cambridge, and The Leys School, Cambridge. Wiles discovered Fermat’s Last Theorem on his way home from school when he was 10 years old. He stopped by his local library where he found a book about the theorem. Puzzled by the fact that the statement of the theorem was so easy that he, a ten-year old, could understand it, he decided to be the first person to prove it. However, he soon realized that his knowledge of mathematics was too small, so he abandoned his childhood dream, until 1986, when he heard that Ribet had proved Serre’s ε-conjecture and therefore established a link between Fermat’s Last Theorem and the Taniyama-Shimura conjecture. Wiles earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1974 after his study at Merton College, Oxford, and a Ph.D. in 1980, after his research at Clare College, Cambridge. After a stay at the Institute for Advanced Study in New Jersey in 1981, Wiles became a professor at Princeton University. In 1985-86, Wiles was a Guggenheim Fellow at the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques near Paris and at the École Normale Supérieure. From 1988 to 1990, Wiles was a Royal Society Research Professor at Oxford University, and then he returned to Princeton. In October 2009 it was announced that Wiles would again become a Royal Society Research Professor at Oxford in 2011.