Jack Kirby born Jacob Kurtzberg, was an American comic book artist, writer and editor. Growing up poor in New York City, Kurtzberg entered the nascent comics industry in the 1930s. He drew various comic strips under different pen names, ultimately settling on Jack Kirby. In 1941, Kirby and writer Joe Simon created the highly successful superhero character Captain America for Timely Comics, predecessor of Marvel Comics. During the 1940s, Kirby would create a number of comics for various publishers, often teaming with Simon. After serving in World War II, Kirby returned to comics and worked in a variety of genres. He contributed to a number of publishers, including Archie Comics and DC Comics, but ultimately found himself at Timely's 1950s iteration, Atlas Comics, later to be known as Marvel Comics. In the 1960s, Kirby co-created many of Marvel Comics' major characters, including the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and the Hulk, along with writer-editor Stan Lee.
Paul Reubens is an American actor, writer, film producer, and comedian, best known for his character Pee-wee Herman. Reubens joined the Los Angeles troupe The Groundlings in the 1970s and started his career as an improvisational comedian and stage actor. In 1982, Reubens put up a show about a character he had been developing during the last few years. The show was called The Pee-wee Herman Show and it ran for five sellout months with HBO producing a successful special with it. Pee-wee became an instant cult figure and for the next decade Reubens would be completely committed to his character, doing all of his public appearances and interviews as Pee-wee. In 1985 Pee-wee's Big Adventure, directed by the then-unknown Tim Burton, was a financial success and, despite receiving mixed reviews, it developed into a cult film. Big Top Pee-wee, 1988's sequel, was less successful than its predecessor. Between 1986 and 1990, Reubens starred as Pee-wee in the CBS Saturday-morning children's program Pee-wee's Playhouse. The inspiration for the name came from a Pee-wee brand miniature harmonica and the surname of an energetic boy Reubens knew from his youth.
Marcus Peter Francis du Sautoy is the Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford. Formerly a Fellow of All Souls College, and Wadham College, he is now a Fellow of New College. He is President of the Mathematical Association. He was previously an EPSRC Senior Media Fellow and a Royal Society University Research Fellow. His academic work concerns mainly group theory and number theory. In October 2008, he was appointed to the Simonyi Professorship for the Public Understanding of Science, succeeding the inaugural holder Richard Dawkins. Du Sautoy is an atheist, but has stated that as holder of the Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science his focus is going to be "very much on the science and less on religion." He has described his own religion as being "Arsenal - football," as he sees religion as wanting to belong to a community. Du Sautoy is a supporter of Common Hope, an organisation that helps people in Guatemala.
Timothy Walter Burton is an American film director, film producer, writer and artist. He is famous for dark, quirky-themed movies such as Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Ed Wood, Sleepy Hollow, Corpse Bride and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and for blockbusters such as Pee-wee's Big Adventure, Batman, Batman Returns, Planet of the Apes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland, his most recent film, that was the second highest-grossing film of 2010 as well as the sixth highest-grossing film of all time. Among Burton's many collaborators are Johnny Depp, who became a close friend since their first film together, musician Danny Elfman (who has composed for all but five of the films Burton has directed and/or produced) and domestic partner Helena Bonham Carter.
Jean Michel André Jarre is a French composer, performer and music producer. He is a pioneer in the electronic, ambient and New Age genres, and known as an organiser of outdoor spectacles of his music featuring lights, laser displays, and fireworks. Jarre was raised in Lyon by his mother and grandparents, and trained on the piano. From an early age he was introduced to a variety of art forms, including those of street performers, jazz musicians, and the artist Pierre Soulages. He played guitar in a band, but his musical style was perhaps most heavily influenced by Pierre Schaeffer, a pioneer of musique concrète at the Groupe de Recherches Musicales. His first mainstream success was the 1976 album Oxygène. Recorded in a makeshift studio at his home, the album sold an estimated 12 million copies. Oxygène was followed in 1978 by Équinoxe, and in 1979 Jarre performed to a record-breaking audience of more than a million people at the Place de la Concorde, a record he has since broken three times. More albums were to follow, but his 1979 concert served as a blueprint for his future performances around the world. Several of his albums have been released to coincide with large-scale outdoor events, and he is now perhaps as well known as a performer as a musician. As of 2004 Jarre had sold an estimated 80 million albums. He was the first Western musician to be allowed to perform in the People's Republic of China, and holds the world record for the largest-ever audience at an outdoor event.
Philip Emeagwali is a Nigerian-born engineer and computer scientist/geologist who was one of two winners of the 1989 Gordon Bell Prize, a prize from the IEEE, for his use of a Connection Machine supercomputer to help analyze petroleum fields. Emeagwali was born in Akure, Nigeria. His early schooling was suspended in 1967 due to the Nigerian-Biafran war. When he turned fourteen, he served in the Biafran army. After the war he completed a high-school equivalency through self-study. He travelled to the United States to study under a scholarship after taking a correspondence course at the University of London. He received a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Oregon State University in 1977. He worked as a civil engineer at the Bureau of Land Reclamation in Wyoming during this period. He later moved to Washington DC, receiving in 1986 a master's degree from George Washington University in ocean and marine engineering, and a second master's in applied mathematics from the University of Maryland.
Ray Douglas Bradbury is an American fantasy, horror, science fiction, and mystery writer. Best known for his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 (1953) and for the science fiction stories gathered together as The Martian Chronicles (1950) and The Illustrated Man (1951), Bradbury is one of the most celebrated among 20th and 21st century American writers of speculative fiction and has been described as a Midwest surrealist. Many of Bradbury's works have been adapted into television shows or films. Bradbury was a reader and writer throughout his youth, spending much time in the Carnegie library in Waukegan, Illinois, reading such authors as H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, and his favorite author, Edgar Rice Burroughs who wrote novels such as Tarzan and Warlord of Mars. Bradbury was pushed to writing by his aunt, who read him short stories when he was a child. He used this library as a setting for much of his novel Something Wicked This Way Comes, and depicted Waukegan as "Green Town" in some of his other semi-autobiographical novels—Dandelion Wine, Farewell Summer—as well as in many of his short stories.
Sergey Mikhaylovich Brin is an American computer scientist and Internet entrepreneur who, with Larry Page, co-founded Google, one of the most profitable Internet companies. As of 2013, his personal wealth was estimated to be $22.8billion. Together, Brin and Page own about 16 percent of the company. Brin immigrated to the United States with his family from the Soviet Union at the age of six. He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Maryland, following in his father's and grandfather's footsteps by studying mathematics, as well as computer science. After graduation, he moved to Stanford University to acquire a Ph.D. in computer science. There he met Larry Page, with whom he later became friends. They crammed their dormitory room with inexpensive computers and applied Brin's data mining system to build a superior search engine. The program became popular at Stanford and they suspended their PhD studies to start up Google in a rented garage.
John D. Carmack II is an American game programmer and the co-founder of id Software. Carmack was the lead programmer of the id computer games Commander Keen, Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake and their sequels. Though Carmack is best known for his innovations in 3D graphics, he is also a rocketry enthusiast and the founder and lead engineer of Armadillo Aerospace. Carmack, son of local television news reporter Stan Carmack, grew up in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area where he became interested in computers at an early age. He attended Shawnee Mission East High School in Prairie Village, Kansas and Raytown South High School in nearby Raytown, Missouri. As reported in David Kushner's Masters of Doom, "when Carmack was 14, he broke into a school to help a group of kids steal Apple II computers, but during the attempted break-in one of the kids set off the silent alarm. John was arrested, and sent for psychiatric evaluation (the report mentions "no empathy for other human beings"). Carmack was then sentenced to a year in a juvenile home. ... he was asked "if you had not been caught, would you consider doing it again?" he answered "yes, probably" but when the therapist presented this evaluation he neglected to repeat "if you had not been caught" from his statement. He attended the University of Missouri–Kansas City for two semesters before withdrawing to work as a freelance programmer.
Eugene Wesley "Gene" Roddenberry was an American television screenwriter, producer and futurist. He is best known for creating the original Star Trek television series and thus the Star Trek science fiction franchise. Born in El Paso, Texas, Roddenberry grew up in Los Angeles, California where his father worked as a police officer. Roddenberry flew 89 combat missions in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II, and worked as a commercial pilot after the war. Later he followed in his father's footsteps and joined the Los Angeles Police Department to provide for his family, but began to focus on writing scripts for television. As a freelance writer, Roddenberry wrote scripts for Highway Patrol, Have Gun–Will Travel and other series, before creating and producing his own television series The Lieutenant. In 1964, Roddenberry created Star Trek, which premiered in 1966 and ran for three seasons before being canceled. Syndication of Star Trek led to increasing popularity, and Roddenberry continued to create, produce and consult on the Star Trek films and the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation until his death. In 1985 he became the first TV writer with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame:110 and he was later inducted by both the Science Fiction Hall of Fame and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame. Years after his death, Roddenberry was one of the first humans to have his ashes "buried" in outer space.
Dr. Taher Elgamal is an Egyptian cryptographer. Elgamal is sometimes written as El Gamal or ElGamal, but Elgamal is now preferred. In 1985, Elgamal published a paper titled A Public key Cryptosystem and A Signature Scheme based on discrete Logarithms in which he proposed the design of the ElGamal discrete log cryptosystem and of the ElGamal signature scheme. The latter scheme became the basis for Digital Signature Algorithm (DSA) adopted by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as the Digital Signature Standard (DSS). He also participated in the 'SET' credit card payment protocol, plus a number of Internet payment schemes. Elgamal is a recipient of the RSA Conference 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award, and he is recognized as the "father of SSL," the Internet security standard Secure Sockets Layer. Dr. Elgamal has been issued several patents in online security, payments and data compression. Elgamal earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Cairo University in 1977, and Masters and Doctorate degrees in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 1981 and 1984, respectively. Martin Hellman was his dissertation advisor.
Monty Python's Life of Brian, also known as Life of Brian, is a 1979 British comedy film written, directed and largely performed by the Monty Python comedy team. It tells the story of Brian Cohen (played by Graham Chapman), a young Jewish man who is born on the same day as, and next door to, Jesus Christ, and is subsequently mistaken for the Messiah. The film contains themes of religious satire that were controversial at the time of its release, drawing accusations of blasphemy and protests from some religious groups. Thirty-nine local authorities in the UK either imposed an outright ban, or imposed an X (18 years) certificate (effectively preventing the film from being shown, as the distributors said the film could not be shown unless it was unedited and carried the original AA (14) certificate). Certain countries banned its showing, with a few of these bans lasting decades. The film makers used such notoriety to benefit their marketing campaign, with posters stating "So funny it was banned in Norway!". The film was a box-office success, grossing fourth-highest of any film in the UK in 1979 and highest of any British film in the United States that year. It has remained popular since then, receiving positive reviews and being named 'Greatest comedy film of all time' by several magazines and television networks. The film is the first Monty Python film to receive an R rating in the United States of America.
James Francis Cameron is a Canadian film director, film producer, deep-sea explorer, screenwriter, and editor. He first found success with the science-fiction hit The Terminator (1984). He then became a popular Hollywood director and was hired to write & direct Aliens (1986) and three years later followed up with The Abyss (1989). He found further critical acclaim for his use of special effects in the action packed blockbuster Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991). After his film True Lies (1994) Cameron took on his biggest film at the time Titanic (1997) which won the Academy Award for Best Picture and him the Academy Award for Best Director and Film Editing. After Titanic, Cameron began a project that took almost 10 years to make, his science-fiction epic Avatar (2009), for which he was nominated for Best Director and Film Editing again. In the time between making Titanic and Avatar, Cameron spent several years creating many documentary films (specifically underwater documentaries) and co-developed the digital 3D Fusion Camera System. Described by a biographer as part-scientist and part-artist, Cameron has also contributed to underwater filming and remote vehicle technologies. On March 26, 2012, Cameron reached the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the ocean, in the Deepsea Challenger submersible. He was the first person to do this in a solo descent, and only the third person to do so ever.
Simon Baron-Cohen is professor of Developmental Psychopathology in the Departments of Psychiatry and Experimental Psychology at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. He is the Director of the University's Autism Research Centre, and a Fellow of Trinity College. He is best known for his work on autism, including his early theory that autism involves degrees of "mind-blindness" (or delays in the development of theory of mind); and his later theory that autism is an extreme form of the "male brain", which involved a re-conceptualisation of typical psychological sex differences in terms of empathizing–systemizing theory. He was featured on the BBC news page calling for an ethical debate on the issue of a prenatal test for autism, arguing it is important to debate this in advance of such a test existing, given the pace of biomedical research in autism. In an article in 2000 (Development and Psychopathology) Baron-Cohen argued that high-functioning autism or Asperger Syndrome need not just lead to disability, but can also lead to talent. He has found over 25 years that the media largely report his work accurately but in March 2009, he wrote a piece in New Scientist on the misrepresentation over his group's research into foetal testosterone in typically developing children.