James Franklin “Jamie” Hyneman is an American special effects expert, best known for being the co-host of the television series MythBusters. He is also the owner of M5 Industries, the special effects workshop where MythBusters is filmed. He is known among Robot Wars devotees for his robot entry, Blendo, which, for a time, was deemed too dangerous for entry in the competition. He is one of the designers of the aerial robotic camera system Wavecam, used in sports and entertainment events. On May 16, 2010, he delivered the commencement address and received an honorary Doctorate of Engineering, from Villanova University. Hyneman was born in Marshall, Michigan and raised in Columbus, Indiana. Describing his early life, Hyneman said “I was a problematic kid, to be sure. I left home when I was 14 and hitchhiked all over the country.” He earned a degree in Russian linguistics from Indiana University. He has since received honorary doctorate degrees from Villanova University and the University of Twente. A variety of careers fill his resume, including scuba diver, wilderness survival expert, boat captain, linguist, pet shop owner, animal wrangler, machinist, concrete inspector, and chef. He apparently has a mild case of acrophobia (fear of heights), as mentioned in the “Hammer Drop” episode segment of Mythbusters.
James Maury “Jim” Henson was an American puppeteer, best known as the creator of The Muppets. As a puppeteer, Henson performed in various television programs, such as Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, films such as The Muppet Movie and The Great Muppet Caper, and created advanced puppets for projects like Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal, and Labyrinth. He was also an Oscar-nominated film director, Emmy Award-winning television producer, and the founder of The Jim Henson Company, the Jim Henson Foundation, and Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. He died on May 16, 1990, of organ failure resulting from a Group A streptococcal infection caused by Streptococcus pyogenes. Henson, who was born in Greenville, Mississippi and educated at University of Maryland, College Park, is one of the most widely known puppeteers ever. He created Sam and Friends as a freshman in College Park. After suffering struggles with programs that he created, he eventually found success with Sesame Street. During this time, he also contributed to Saturday Night Live. The success of Sesame Street spawned The Muppet Show, which featured Muppets created by Henson. He also co-created with Michael Jacobs the television show Dinosaurs during his final years. On June 16, 2011, he posthumously received the Disney Legends Award.
Peter Allen David, often abbreviated PAD, is an American writer of comic books, novels, television, movies and video games. His notable comic book work includes an award-winning, 12-year run on The Incredible Hulk, as well as runs on Aquaman, Young Justice, Supergirl, and Fallen Angel. His Star Trek work includes both comic books and novels, such as Imzadi, and co-creating the New Frontier series. His other novels include film adaptations, media tie-ins, and original works, such as the Apropos of Nothing and Knight Life series. His television work includes series such as Babylon 5, Young Justice, Ben 10: Alien Force and Space Cases, the latter of which David co-created. David often jokingly describes his occupation as “Writer of Stuff”, and is noted for his prolific writing, characterized by its mingling of real world issues with humor and references to popular culture, as well as elements of metafiction and self-reference. David has earned multiple awards for his work, including a 1992 Eisner Award, a 1993 Wizard Fan Award, a 1996 Haxtur Award, a 2007 Julie Award and 2011 GLAAD Media Award.
Robert Lee “Bobby” Satcher, Jr. is a physician, chemical engineer, and NASA astronaut. He became the first orthopedic surgeon in space during STS-129. He participated in 2 spacewalks during STS-129, accumulating 12hrs 19min of EVA time. Satcher holds two doctorates (Ph.D., M.D.) and has received numerous awards and honors as a surgeon and engineer. He is married with two children. Bobby Satcher enjoys running, scuba diving, and reading. Born in Hampton, Virginia, Satcher graduated from Denmark-Olar High School in Denmark, SC (1982), and went on to receive a Bachelor of Science degree as well as a doctorate in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He then went on to study medicine at Harvard Medical School, and received his medical doctorate in 1994. Satcher did his internship, residency, and postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley from 1994–2000, and an orthopedic oncology fellowship at the University of Florida from 2000-2001. Prior to being accepted into the astronaut program by NASA, Satcher was the Assistant Professor at The Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Satcher also held appointments as an Attending Physician in Orthopaedic Surgery at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, specializing in Musculoskeletal Oncology; and an Adjuct Appointment in The Biomedical Engineering Department at Northwestern University School of Engineering. Satcher was also a member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology in Advanced Medicine at Northwestern University. Satcher was also a Schweitzer Fellow at the Albert Schweitzer Hospital, in Lambaréné, Gabon. Satcher’s experience in engineering includes internships at DuPont in the Textile Fibers Research Group, and the Polymer Products Division.
Herbert George “H.G.” Wells was an English author, now best known for his work in the science fiction genre. He was also a prolific writer in many other genres, including contemporary novels, history, politics and social commentary, even writing text books and rules for war games. Together with Jules Verne and Hugo Gernsback, Wells has been referred to as “The Father of Science Fiction”. His most notable science fiction works include, The War of the Worlds, The Time Machine, The Invisible Man and The Island of Doctor Moreau. Wells’s earliest specialised training was in biology, and his thinking on ethical matters took place in a specifically and fundamentally Darwinian context. He was also from an early date an outspoken socialist, often (but not always, as the beginning of the First World War) sympathising with pacifist views. His later works became increasingly political and didactic, and he sometimes indicated on official documents that his profession was that of “Journalist.” Most of his novels had nothing to do with science fiction. Some described lower-middle class life (Kipps; The History of Mr Polly), leading him to be touted as a worthy successor to Charles Dickens, but Wells described a range of social strata and even attempted, in Tono-Bungay (1909), a diagnosis of English society as a whole. Wells also wrote abundantly about the “New Woman” and the Suffragettes (Ann Veronica).
William J. C. “Bill” Amend III is an American cartoonist, best known for his comic strip FoxTrot. Amend attended high school in Burlingame, California where he was a cartoonist on his school newspaper. Amend is an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America. He attended Amherst College, where he drew comics for the college paper. He majored in physics and graduated in 1984. In 1982 Amend took first place among sophomores in a mathematics prize examination at Amherst. After a short time in the animation business, Amend decided to pursue a cartooning career and signed on with Universal Press Syndicate. FoxTrot first appeared on April 10, 1988. Amend made a television appearance on The Screen Savers, which aired October 20, 2003 on the former TechTV. Amend is also an avid World of Warcraft player, but refuses to reveal his character’s name, although he did mention in an interview with Allakhazam (a World of Warcraft fan site) that he played on the server ‘Bronzebeard’ (Jason is often shown or referred to playing “World of Warquest” in the strip). On December 5, 2006, Universal Press Syndicate issued a press release stating that Amend’s strip, FoxTrot, would turn into a Sunday-only strip. Amend stated that he wants to continue doing the strip, but at a less hurried pace. This news was followed by several weeks of the characters discussing a “cartoonist” semi-retiring to Sundays only, and what methods he would use to phase out the daily strips. The last daily Foxtrot cartoon was printed on December 30, 2006.
Gina Marie Trapani is an American tech blogger, web developer, and writer. Trapani founded the Lifehacker blog in January 2005, and led it until January 2009. She still writes a weekly column for Lifehacker. She co-hosts a netcast on the TWiT.tv network called This Week in Google with Leo Laporte and Jeff Jarvis. She also hosted twelve episodes of Work Smart, a weekly column, for Fast Company. Gina is currently leading development of a crowdsourcing platform (named ThinkUp) at Expert Labs. She has written two books and also writes for other publications including Harvard Business Online. Fast Company named her one of the Most Influential Women in Technology in 2009 and 2010, and Wired magazine awarded her its prestigious Rave Award in 2006. Trapani was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English/Writing from Marist College in 1997. Trapani received a Master of Science in Computer Information Science from Brooklyn College (City University of New York) in 1998. She resides in La Jolla, California.