John D. Carmack II is an American game programmer and the co-founder of id Software. Carmack was the lead programmer of the id computer games Commander Keen, Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake and their sequels. Though Carmack is best known for his innovations in 3D graphics, he is also a rocketry enthusiast and the founder and lead engineer of Armadillo Aerospace. Carmack, son of local television news reporter Stan Carmack, grew up in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area where he became interested in computers at an early age. He attended Shawnee Mission East High School in Prairie Village, Kansas and Raytown South High School in nearby Raytown, Missouri. As reported in David Kushner’s Masters of Doom, “when Carmack was 14, he broke into a school to help a group of kids steal Apple II computers, but during the attempted break-in one of the kids set off the silent alarm. John was arrested, and sent for psychiatric evaluation (the report mentions “no empathy for other human beings”). Carmack was then sentenced to a year in a juvenile home. … he was asked “if you had not been caught, would you consider doing it again?” he answered “yes, probably” but when the therapist presented this evaluation he neglected to repeat “if you had not been caught” from his statement. He attended the University of Missouri–Kansas City for two semesters before withdrawing to work as a freelance programmer.
Eugene Wesley “Gene” Roddenberry was an American television screenwriter, producer and futurist. He is best known for creating the original Star Trek television series and thus the Star Trek science fiction franchise. Born in El Paso, Texas, Roddenberry grew up in Los Angeles, California where his father worked as a police officer. Roddenberry flew 89 combat missions in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II, and worked as a commercial pilot after the war. Later he followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the Los Angeles Police Department to provide for his family, but began to focus on writing scripts for television. As a freelance writer, Roddenberry wrote scripts for Highway Patrol, Have Gun–Will Travel and other series, before creating and producing his own television series The Lieutenant. In 1964, Roddenberry created Star Trek, which premiered in 1966 and ran for three seasons before being canceled. Syndication of Star Trek led to increasing popularity, and Roddenberry continued to create, produce and consult on the Star Trek films and the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation until his death. In 1985 he became the first TV writer with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame:110 and he was later inducted by both the Science Fiction Hall of Fame and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame. Years after his death, Roddenberry was one of the first humans to have his ashes “buried” in outer space.
Dr. Taher Elgamal is an Egyptian cryptographer. Elgamal is sometimes written as El Gamal or ElGamal, but Elgamal is now preferred. In 1985, Elgamal published a paper titled A Public key Cryptosystem and A Signature Scheme based on discrete Logarithms in which he proposed the design of the ElGamal discrete log cryptosystem and of the ElGamal signature scheme. The latter scheme became the basis for Digital Signature Algorithm (DSA) adopted by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as the Digital Signature Standard (DSS). He also participated in the ‘SET’ credit card payment protocol, plus a number of Internet payment schemes. Elgamal is a recipient of the RSA Conference 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award, and he is recognized as the “father of SSL,” the Internet security standard Secure Sockets Layer. Dr. Elgamal has been issued several patents in online security, payments and data compression. Elgamal earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Cairo University in 1977, and Masters and Doctorate degrees in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 1981 and 1984, respectively. Martin Hellman was his dissertation advisor.
Monty Python’s Life of Brian, also known as Life of Brian, is a 1979 British comedy film written, directed and largely performed by the Monty Python comedy team. It tells the story of Brian Cohen (played by Graham Chapman), a young Jewish man who is born on the same day as, and next door to, Jesus Christ, and is subsequently mistaken for the Messiah. The film contains themes of religious satire that were controversial at the time of its release, drawing accusations of blasphemy and protests from some religious groups. Thirty-nine local authorities in the UK either imposed an outright ban, or imposed an X (18 years) certificate (effectively preventing the film from being shown, as the distributors said the film could not be shown unless it was unedited and carried the original AA (14) certificate). Certain countries banned its showing, with a few of these bans lasting decades. The film makers used such notoriety to benefit their marketing campaign, with posters stating “So funny it was banned in Norway!”. The film was a box-office success, grossing fourth-highest of any film in the UK in 1979 and highest of any British film in the United States that year. It has remained popular since then, receiving positive reviews and being named ‘Greatest comedy film of all time’ by several magazines and television networks. The film is the first Monty Python film to receive an R rating in the United States of America.
James Francis Cameron is a Canadian film director, film producer, deep-sea explorer, screenwriter, and editor. He first found success with the science-fiction hit The Terminator (1984). He then became a popular Hollywood director and was hired to write & direct Aliens (1986) and three years later followed up with The Abyss (1989). He found further critical acclaim for his use of special effects in the action packed blockbuster Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991). After his film True Lies (1994) Cameron took on his biggest film at the time Titanic (1997) which won the Academy Award for Best Picture and him the Academy Award for Best Director and Film Editing. After Titanic, Cameron began a project that took almost 10 years to make, his science-fiction epic Avatar (2009), for which he was nominated for Best Director and Film Editing again. In the time between making Titanic and Avatar, Cameron spent several years creating many documentary films (specifically underwater documentaries) and co-developed the digital 3D Fusion Camera System. Described by a biographer as part-scientist and part-artist, Cameron has also contributed to underwater filming and remote vehicle technologies. On March 26, 2012, Cameron reached the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the ocean, in the Deepsea Challenger submersible. He was the first person to do this in a solo descent, and only the third person to do so ever.
Simon Baron-Cohen is professor of Developmental Psychopathology in the Departments of Psychiatry and Experimental Psychology at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. He is the Director of the University’s Autism Research Centre, and a Fellow of Trinity College. He is best known for his work on autism, including his early theory that autism involves degrees of “mind-blindness” (or delays in the development of theory of mind); and his later theory that autism is an extreme form of the “male brain”, which involved a re-conceptualisation of typical psychological sex differences in terms of empathizing–systemizing theory. He was featured on the BBC news page calling for an ethical debate on the issue of a prenatal test for autism, arguing it is important to debate this in advance of such a test existing, given the pace of biomedical research in autism. In an article in 2000 (Development and Psychopathology) Baron-Cohen argued that high-functioning autism or Asperger Syndrome need not just lead to disability, but can also lead to talent. He has found over 25 years that the media largely report his work accurately but in March 2009, he wrote a piece in New Scientist on the misrepresentation over his group’s research into foetal testosterone in typically developing children.
Stephen Glenn “Steve” Martin is an American actor, comedian, author, playwright, producer, musician and composer. Martin came to public notice as a writer for the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, and later became a frequent guest on The Tonight Show. In the 1970s, Martin performed his offbeat, absurdist comedy routines before packed houses on national tours. In 2004, Comedy Central ranked Martin at sixth place in a list of the 100 greatest stand-up comics. Since the 1980s, having branched away from stand-up comedy, Martin has become a successful actor in both comedic and dramatic roles, as well as an author, playwright, pianist, and banjo player, eventually earning Emmy, Grammy, and American Comedy awards, among other honors. Martin once had a job at Disneyland in the Magic Shop on Main Street, USA. He also worked for neighboring amusement park Knott’s Berry Farm as a comedian in their “Birdcage Theatre.” It was during these jobs that he honed his skills in live performance, such as improv comedy, banjo playing, juggling, and lassoing.