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.
David Rowland Langford is a British author, editor and critic, largely active within the science fiction field. He publishes the science fiction fanzine and newsletter Ansible. As a writer of fiction, Langford is noted for his parodies. A collection of short stories, parodying various science fiction, fantasy fiction and detective story writers has been published as He Do the Time Police in Different Voices (2003, incorporating the earlier and much shorter 1988 parody collection The Dragonhiker’s Guide to Battlefield Covenant at Dune’s Edge: Odyssey Two). Two novels, parodying disaster novels and horror, respectively, are Earthdoom! and Guts!, both co-written with John Grant. The novelette An Account Of A Meeting With Denizens Of Another World 1871, is an entertaining account of a UFO encounter, as experienced by a Victorian, but is notable chiefly for the framing story, in which Langford claimed to have found the manuscript in an old desk (the story’s narrator, William Robert Loosley, is a genuine ancestor of Langford’s wife). This has led some UFOlogists to believe the story is genuine (including the US author Whitley Strieber, who referred to the 1871 incident in his novel Majestic). Langford freely admits the story is fictional when asked — but, as he notes, “Journalists usually don’t ask.”
Thomas Andrew Lehrer is an American singer-songwriter, satirist, pianist, and mathematician. He has lectured on mathematics and musical theater. Lehrer is best known for the pithy, humorous songs he recorded in the 1950s and 1960s. His work often parodies popular song forms, such as in “The Elements”, where he sets the names of the chemical elements to the tune of the “Major-General’s Song” from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance. Lehrer’s earlier work typically dealt with non-topical subject matter and was noted for its black humor, seen in songs such as “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park”. In the 1960s, he produced a number of songs dealing with social and political issues of the day, particularly when he wrote for the U.S. version of the television show That Was The Week That Was. In the early 1970s, he retired from public performances to devote his time to teaching mathematics and music theatre at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He did two additional performances in 1998 at a London gala show celebrating the career of impresario Cameron Mackintosh.