CONTACT 2020 Keynote Speaker

Andrew Fraknoi

Please note: This is the biography for the planned keynote speaker for our cancelled April 2020 dates.

Dr. Andrew Fraknoi retired in 2017 as the Chair of the Astronomy Department at Foothill College, and now teaches short courses for retired people at the Fromm Institute at USF and the OLLI Program at SF State. He served as the Executive Director of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific for 14 years and still assists the Society training young astronomers on how to be better explainers. With Sidney Wolff, he was a founding editor of the journal Astronomy Education Review. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Search for Extra-terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute and is Vice Chair of the Board of the Friends of Lick Observatory. Fraknoi appears regularly on local and national radio, explaining astronomical developments in everyday language, and was the California Professor of the Year in 2007. He is the lead author of a free college astronomy textbook published by the non-profit OpenStax project at Rice University (which has been used by over 300,000 students so far), and has written two children's books on astronomical topics. He also writes science fiction stories, and has had two of them published in anthologies during the last two years. The International Astronomical Union has named Asteroid 4859 Asteroid Fraknoi to honor his contributions to the public understanding of science.

Previous Keynote Speakers

In 1992, we established the Keynote event, modeled on the "Honoring Veterans Ceremony" of my Chippewa-Cree family traditions. At the banquet, we invite a guest, whose contribution to the exploration of the future we feel has been worthy of special recognition, to present a keynote address. The invitations state that the chosen speakers can talk about "whatever they damn well please." CONTACT is very proud of our Honor Roll.

-Jim Funaro

1992 - Ben Finney
1993 - Paul Bohannan
1994 - Poul Anderson
1995 - Larry Niven
1996 - Jerry Pournelle
1997 - Kim Stanley Robinson
1998 - Joel Hagen
1999 - Greg Bear
2000 - Octavia Butler
2001 - Seth Shostak
2002 - Rusty Schweickart
2003 - William K. Hartmann
2004 - Michael Sims
2005 - Andrew Chaiken
2006 - Phil Aaberg
2008 - Carlo Sequín
2009 - Penny Boston
2010 - Al Harrison
2012 - Frank Drake
2014 - Chris McKay
2016 - Rich Sternbach
2018 - Nathalie Cabrol