IRG 2021 Keynote Speakers

Esther Dyson is a well-known writer, speaker, investor, and entrepreneur. Beyond that, she is a trained cosmonaut: she spent six months (2008-2009) training as backup to space tourist Charles Simonyi in Star City outside Moscow. She is also an investor in Space Adventures/ZeroG (which organized her training), NanoRacks, and SpaceX, as well as in the Space Angels fund. She is a patron of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation and a past member of NASA’s Advisory Council. In 2006 and 2007, she hosted the Flight School conference, focused on New Space and air taxis.

Dr. Mark Shelhamer is a renowned expert in the area of vestibular and oculomotor adaptation. Starting at MIT, he worked on sensorimotor physiology and modeling, including the study of astronaut adaptation to space flight. At Johns Hopkins he continued the study of sensorimotor adaptation with an emphasis on the vestibular and oculomotor systems. He has had support from NASA to study sensorimotor adaptation to space flight, amassing a fair amount of parabolic flight (“weightless”) experience in the process. He also serves as an advisor to the commercial spaceflight industry on the research potential of suborbital space flight. From 2013 to 2016 he was on leave from his academic position to serve as NASA’s Chief Scientist for human research at the Johnson Space Center.

Dr. Abraham (Avi) Loeb is the Frank B. Baird, Jr., Professor of Science at Harvard University. He received a PhD in Physics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel, led the first international project supported by the Strategic Defense Initiative, and was subsequently a long-term member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. Dr. Loeb wrote 8 books and over 800 papers on a wide range of topics, including black holes, the first stars, the search for extraterrestrial life and the future of the Universe. He serves as Chair of the Board on Physics and Astronomy of the National Academies and is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the American Physical Society, and the International Academy of Astronautics. He also chairs the Advisory Committee for the Breakthrough Starshot Initiative and serves as the Science Theory Director for all Initiatives of the Breakthrough Prize Foundation.