Jad AbumradRadio host and MacArthur Fellow
The son of a scientist and a doctor, Jad Abumrad studied creative writing and music composition at Oberlin College. After graduation, Abumrad wrote music, reported, and produced documentaries for public radio programs. While working on staff at WNYC, Abumrad began tinkering with an idea that evolved into one of public radio’s most popular shows today – Radiolab. Radiolab podcasts are downloaded over 4 million times each month and the program is carried on 437 stations across the nation. Abumrad also produced and hosted The Ring & I, an insightful, funny, and lyrical look at the enduring power of Wagner's Ring Cycle. It aired nationally and internationally earning the prestigious 2005 National Headliner Grand Award in Radio. Abumrad was honored as a 2011 MacArthur Fellow.
Geoff DyerNovelist & Essayist
British writer Geoff Dyer is an award-winning author of four novels, two collections of essays, and numerous other genre-defying works. His book, Otherwise Known as the Human Condition – a selection of essays from Anglo-English Attitudes and Working the Room – was published in the US in April 2011 and was awarded the 2011 National Book Critics Circle award for Criticism. A new book, Zona, about Andrei Tarkovsky’s film Stalker, was published in the US in Spring 2012. Dyer’s work combines fiction, autobiography, travel writing, cultural criticism, literary theory, and a kind of comic English whining – which rather than becoming an untidy mulch is always a louche and canny delight.
Maira KalmanArtist, Illustrator, Designer, and Author
Maira Kalman is an artist, designer, illustrator, and author. Her wise and witty works illuminate the peculiar in the ordinary and the drama in the mundane. As an author and illustrator she has written 13 children's books, including Ooh-la-la-Max in Love, What Pete Ate, and Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John Jay Harvey. She is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker Magazine, and is well known for her collaboration with Rick Meyerowitz on the "New Yorkistan" cover in 2001. As a designer, Kalman has worked with and for Isaac Mizrahi, Kate Spade, Michael Maharam, Target, the Mark Morris Dance Company, and Ralph Pucci. Her 10.1.4 watch is part of the permanent Museum of Modern Art collection. Kalman has twice been a finalist for the National Design Awards and has won numerous honors from other societies including the Art Directors Club, The Society of Publication Designers, The American Institute for Graphic Arts. She recently worked on the 2012 Printz Honor Award winning young adult novel, Why We Broke Up in collaboration with Daniel Handler.
Frances Moore LappéActivist & Author
Frances Moore Lappé is the author of 18 books including the three-million copies sold Diet for a Small Planet. She is the co-founder of three organizations, including Food First: The Institute for Food and Development Policy and, more recently, the Small Planet Institute, which she leads with her daughter Anna Lappé. This is a collaborative network for research and popular education seeking to bring democracy to life. Frances and her daughter have also cofounded the Small Planet Fund, which channels resources to democratic social movements worldwide. Frances appears frequently as a public speaker and on radio, and is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and Alternet.
Dr. Daphne MillerAuthor of The Jungle Effect: The Healthiest Diets From Around the World
For over a decade, Dr. Daphne Miller’s clinical work and writing have focused on the balance and interplay between nature, traditional healing and western medical interventions. She currently provides primary care for patients (ages 0 to 100+) at Wholefamilymd, and lectures nationally and internationally on topics related to food and health. Her book, The Jungle Effect is a nutrition guide, cookbook, and travelogue chronicling her voyages to areas around the world that are still relatively free of modern chronic diseases. Her most recent book, Farmacology, explores what innovative family farming can teach us about health and healing.
Dr. Daphne Miller at Google [video]
Françoise MoulyArtist & Designer
Françoise Mouly, an artist and designer, has been the The New Yorker Magazine Art Editor since 1993 and is responsible for more than 900 of its covers. In 2005, ASME (American Society of Magazine Editors) chose two of Ms. Mouly’s covers as among the “top 40 most highly recognized, memorable, influential, compelling and iconic magazine covers of the past forty years.” In 2006, and again in 2007, Ms. Mouly’s work was awarded the honor of being ASME’s “best cover of the year.” From 1980 to 1991, Ms. Mouly co-edited (with her husband, Art Spiegelman) the groundbreaking comics anthology RAW. In 1998, she started a RAW Junior division, producing the Little Lit series (from 2000 to 2003), and the TOON Treasury of Classic Children's Comics (2009). Since its launch in 2008, Ms. Mouly has been the publisher and editorial director of TOON Books, an award-winning collection of comics easy readers for the elementary grades. Ms. Mouly was the editor of Best American Comics 2012. She is also the author of Blown Covers, published by Abrams in the Spring of 2012.
Françoise Mouly at Big Think [audio/video]
Dr. Lisa RandallProfessor of Physics & Author
Dr. Lisa Randall studies theoretical particle physics and cosmology at Harvard University. Her research connects theoretical insights to puzzles in our current understanding of the properties and interactions of matter. Her books include Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe's Hidden Dimensions (which was included in The New York Times' 100 notable books) and Knocking on Heaven's Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World (also in The New York Times' 100 notable books). Higgs Discovery: The Power of Empty Space was released as a Kindle Single and was released as a paperback in September 2013. Randall has also pursued art-science connections, writing a libretto for Hypermusic: A Projective Opera in Seven Planes that premiered in the Pompidou Center in Paris, and co-curating an art exhibit for the Los Angeles Arts Association. Professor Randall is currently working on a book about connected science in the universe titled Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs (Ecco).
Roz SavageAdventurer & Environmentalist
Roz Savage is a British ocean rower, environmental campaigner, and internationally acclaimed keynote speaker. After 11 years working in London as a management consultant, she embarked on a new life direction – in a rowboat. In 2006 she completed a solo row across the Atlantic, and in 2010 became the first woman to row solo across the Pacific. She has rowed over 11,000 miles, taken 3.5 million oar strokes, and has spent cumulatively nearly a year of her life at sea in a 23-foot rowboat. Her inspirational book, Rowing the Atlantic: Lessons Learned on the Open Ocean, was published by Simon & Schuster. The eponymous documentary has been screened around the world. Her next book, Stop Drifting, Start Rowing: One Woman’s Search for Happiness and Meaning Alone on the Pacific, was released in October 2013.
In 2010 she was named Adventurer of the Year by National Geographic, and in 2012 she was chosen to be a World Fellow at Yale. In 2013 she was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Wallace ShawnPlaywright, Actor & Essayist
Wallace Shawn wears two hats. Beloved for his comedic roles as a film and stage actor (most notably in his classic film My Dinner with Andre), he is also a playwright and an essayist, revered for his exploration of difficult, often controversial themes. Much of the writing in his collection Essays has the same cadence as the dialogue in his award-winning plays and screenplays—bold assertions, often provocative, that outrage and even startle.
Garry TrudeauBeloved Creator of Doonesbury Comic Strip
Garry Trudeau’s Doonesbury was launched in 1970, and now appears in nearly 1400 daily and Sunday newspaper newspapers in the U.S. and abroad. His work has been collected in 60 hardcover, trade paperback and mass-market editions, which have cumulatively sold over 7 million copies worldwide. In 1975, Trudeau became the first comic strip artist ever to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning. He was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1989, 2004 and 2005.