painter and video artist
Ben is founder and director of SkyDay and is best known for his large scale paintings and twenty-four hour video projections called Revolutions. Ben came to the US from London in 1980 and studied under great poet Dr. Maya Angelou. His work has been exhibited in galleries and museums internationally and positively reviewed in Artforum and elsewhere. Highlights include solo shows at the Delaware Contemporary, Chicago Cultural Center, Grand Rapids Art Museum, Gallery Henoch (NY) and a 2006 video installation on Times Square's giant Astrovision screen. To create Revolution Stonehenge Ben was granted permission to spend four days and nights with the great stones - an experience he will never forget! You can find out more about Ben's work here.
NASA Astronaut, Aquanaut, artist
A veteran NASA Astronaut, her experience includes two spaceflights and 104 days spent living and working in space on both the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station.
She performed one spacewalk, was the first person to fly the robotic arm to capture the free flying HTV cargo vehicle, was the last crew member to fly to and from their ISS mission on a Space Shuttle, and she was a member of the crew of the final flight of the Space Shuttle Discovery, STS-133. A personal highlight of Nicole’s spaceflight was painting the first watercolor in space.
Nicole is also a NASA Aquanaut, who in preparation for spaceflight and along with her NEEMO9 crew, lived and worked during an 18-day and longest saturation mission to date on the Aquarius undersea habitat.
As an Artist, and now retired from NASA, Nicole combines her spaceflight experience and artwork to inspire creative thinking about solutions to our planetary challenges, to raise awareness of the surprising interplay between science and art, and to promote the amazing work being done every day in space to improve life right here on Earth. You can find out more about Nicole's work here
Read how Nicole came to care so much about environment, people and sky - Nicole's Journey
Professor of Atmospheric science at
Univ. Of Illinois and Lead author for the IPCC
Don is a Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Illinois where he has been since 1994. He was Head of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences from 1994 - 2006. Don is an expert in atmospheric physics and chemistry with over 500 scientific publications related to the Earth's climate, air quality and ozone layer. However his work goes well beyond that through providing analysis and development of metrics used in national and international policy and in developing analyses for understanding climate impacts on society and ecosystems, plus potential resilience and societal responses. He has co-authored a number of international and national scientific assessments, including those by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. You can find out more about Don's work here.
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR IN THE DEPARTMENT OF EARTH AND PLANETARY SCIENCES AT NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY
Dan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Northwestern University. He and his research group, the CCRG, use numerical models to study Earth’s climate system. He is particularly interested in extreme weather events, climate change, the impacts of climate change adaptation schemes, and Earth’s past climates (i.e., paleoclimates). Prior to Northwestern, Dan was a postdoctoral scholar in the School of Earth Sciences at Stanford, earned his PhD in geological sciences at the University of Michigan, and obtained bachelor degrees in atmospheric science from Texas A&M and physics from Tulane University. Between undergrad. and grad. stints he served five years in the US Air Force as a weather officer and operational meteorologist.
Dan is particularly interested in developing curriculum at the intersection of art and science, and has worked with his students to create Sky-relevant scientific explainers for Sky Day Project. You can find out more about Dan's work here
teaching ASSISTANT PROFESSOR IN THE DEPARTMENT OF atmospheric SCIENCES AT the UNIVERSITY of Illinois
Anna is a Teaching Assistant Professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois. She has designed 10 courses while at the University on topics including Earth Systems Modeling, Environmental Issues, Climate and Global Change, Environmental Consulting, Sustainability, Environmental Pollution, Meteorological Instrumentation, and more. She recently completed an online version of her Climate and Global Change course in collaboration with Prof. Don Wuebbles and the instructional team at CITL. Prior to joining the Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Anna worked as a “green" chemist in the C-ACT group at Los Alamos National Labs evaluating methods for carbon capture and sequestration, used computational methods to investigate the interior mechanics of cells, and applied computational and spectroscopic techniques to examine the physical structures of complex biomolecules. Anna weaves all of these experiences in the classroom and laboratory into designing highly integrated, multi-disciplinary, hands-on curricula for curious people of all ages.
Scientist, Poet, Senior Lecturer in Science Communication at Manchester Metropolitan University
Sam Illingworth is a Senior Lecturer in Science Communication at Manchester Metropolitan University, in the UK. With a PhD in atmospheric physics, his current research is centered around developing two-way dialogue between scientists and non-scientists, mainly through the use of poetry and tabletop games. Sam also partners with SkyTeam member and poet Dan Simpson performing around the world as Dr. Illingworth and Mr Simpson. Together they create popular science projects and shows inspired by their shared passions for spoken word and for sharing the incredible research and experiments happening in science. You can find out more about Sam and his work here.
Science chair at New Trier High School
Jason is the Science Chair at New Trier High School in Winnetka, IL. Prior to his appointment at New Trier, he held a similar role at Rolling Meadows High School and taught physics at William Fremd High School in Palatine, IL. He earned his bachelor degree at Calvin College and Master’s degrees in Physics Education and Education Administration from Roosevelt University and Northern Illinois University, respectively. In addition to working in the high school setting, Jason spent a decade leading workshops for young science teachers at Fermi Lab.
Poet, Performer, Producer
Dan Simpson is a poet, performer, and producer. He makes highly engaging and contemporary work that is popular, smart, and funny. His subjects include science and technology; history and place; geek culture and videogames; people and poetry. Dan has performed around the UK including at Glastonbury Festival, Roundhouse Camden, and the BBC Fringe Slam. He has created five solo stand-up poetry shows for Edinburgh Fringe, and he hosts and co-produces comedy vs. poetry gig Stand Up & Slam. Dan has appeared at popular science events and talks, partnering with Dr. Sam Illingworth to create shows and run interdisciplinary spoken word and science projects. You can find out more about Dan and his work here.
Desa studies Sustainability and Environmental Science at college in California. As SkyDay’s first Ambassador, Desa dreams up cool new initiatives (like our PSA program) and manages all our social media outreach.
Outside of school Desa helped establish curbside composting in her hometown and is slowly trying to live a zero waste lifestyle.