Launch Pad: The People

NOTE: If you didn’t see our article at The Huffington Post last week, please read “The Nobel Prize: Where Are the Women?” It’s a piece we generated as participants in the Santa Fe Science Writing Workshop earlier this summer. For all the Launch Pad posts, click HERE.

Recently, we  completed our second science-writer workshop of the summer, and it was purposefully more intense on the science side. If you’re a writer interested in science, especially if you’re a science-fiction writer or a science journalist (or even a poet like Anna who’s interested in science terminology and metaphors), you should consider applying to the Launch Pad Astronomy Workshop. We spent a week in Laramie,Wyoming, in this intensive seminar, and we’ve written a little of what we learned HERE and HERE.

It’s not just the science. It’s the people. In other words, how do writers learn about the really big universe? By cosmosis!

Launch Pad 2013
Launch Pad 2013

How do you organize a space party like Launch Pad? You planet. And that’s what Mike Brotherton, an astronomy professor at the University of Wyoming who’s published two novels, did. Brotherton likes quasars and makes sure the workshop participants get more than they bargain for. He coordinates the whole workshop (from making sure we had towels to arranging for telescope time), teaches a lot of the workshop content, and throws a great wrap party with snacks, beverages, and a far-out basement.

This year’s main guest instructors were Christian Ready and Andria Schwortz. Ready started working at an observatory when he was thirteen years old and, more recently, has held positions at the Space Telescope Science Institute and NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center. That’s right, he scheduled experiment time on the Hubble Space Telescope. Andria is on leave from her tenured community college faculty position to earn a PhD at the University of Wyoming in Astronomy with a focus in science education.

With great folks like Brotherton, Ready, and Schwortz sharing their awe of the universe, it may not matter who the participants are. But as far as we’re concerned, the 2013 group was a great bunch of nerds. There were fourteen of us, so we won’t go into too much detail here. (You can read a more detailed and personal account of this group from another participant HERE.) But we want to share a sampling of publications by these folks because this suggests the caliber and variety among which we felt lucky to spend a week.

Seriously, people, look at these names and titles! Click on the live links to the author websites and publications!

LIZ ARGALL has a story in the new anthology This Is How You Die

CHAZ BRENCHLEY‘s  book Rotten Row is out this week.

JENNIFER MARIE BRISSETT  has a story at The Future Fire.

MIKE BROTHERTON has a story in the anthology Diamonds in the Sky.

BRENDA CLOUGH‘s recent novel Revise the World is available for the Kindle.

DOUG FARREN‘s latest book, When Ships Mutiny, is available for the Kindle.

CLAUDINE GRIGGS has story called “Firestorm” at Zahir.

CAREN GUSSOFF has a story at Dark Fiction.

JAY O’CONNELL recently placed a story in Asimov’s.

ANDREW PENN ROMINE‘s story “The Parting Glass” is at Lightspeed.

JAMIE TODD RUBIN has a recent story at Daily Science Fiction.

JERI SMITH-READY‘s latest book, Shine, is available at Amazon.

Finally, Lofty Ambitions wants to acknowledge those who contributed tangible financial support to make Launch Pad happen this year. Uwingu is a wonderful organization of scientists and educators that raises money for projects like Launch Pad. Individual donors this year include writers Vonda N. McIntyre, David Brin, Ellen Datlow (who has been a part of Pub Crawl at Chapman University), Jody Lynn Nye, Richard Ramsey, Deborah J. Ross, and Lori Ann White and digital artist Ali Ries. These are really accomplished people who believe in what Launch Pad achieves and made a difference to fourteen writers this summer. A host of others (including Jana Remy, our colleague at Chapman University) contributed some cash, too. (See all the Launch Pad sponsors HERE.) Even a small contribution becomes, of course, astronomical at Launch Pad.

We are grateful to all of them—sponsors, fellow participants, and instructors. Thank you!

Photo of Launch Pad Participants Taken by Cassini from Other Side of Satrun (NASA)
Photo of Launch Pad Participants Taken by Cassini from Other Side of Satrun (NASA)

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