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Keynote Addresses

“Portraying Scientists as Geeks and Madmen: Can Hollywood Reverse the Trend it Started?”

Jerry Zucker, Zucker Productions and The Science & Entertainment Exchange
Sunday, 3 November at 6:00 – 7:30 pm in the Town & Country Room

Jerry Zucker is an iconic Hollywood director and producer known for his influence on comedy films. Jerry began his career forming a production company, with his brother, David Zucker, and Jim Abrahams, that was responsible for the comedy classics Airplane!, Top Secret, Kentucky Fried Movie, Ruthless People and The Naked Gun. Jerry has gone on to create a repertoire of Hollywood classics that include:

  • Ghost starring Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, and Patrick Swayze
  • First Knight starring Sean Connery, Richard Gere, and Julia Ormond
  • Rat Race with Rowan Atkinson, John Cleese, Whoopi Goldberg, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Jon Lovitz
  • My Life starring Michael Keaton and Nicole Kidman
  • My Best Friend’s Wedding, starring Julia Roberts
  • Fair Game starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts
  • Friends With Benefits starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis
  • Mental, written & directed by PJ Hogan, starring Toni Collette and Anthony LaPaglia; and
  • Dear Dumb Diary based on the popular children’s book series by Jim Benton.

Jerry and his wife Janet have always been strong supporters of science and research. In 1999, they started CuresNow (, a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of stem cell research. They also lobbied in Washington, DC against the Brownback bill that would have criminalized embryonic stem cell research. In 2002, they started the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Act (Proposition 71) that raised three billion dollars for stem cell research in California.

Jerry’s keynote address will introduce "The Science and Entertainment Exchange” (, which he and Janet launched in 2008 in cooperation with the National Academy of Sciences. The Exchange uses the vehicle of popular entertainment media to deliver powerful messages about science. It connects entertainment industry professionals with top scientists and engineers to enhance the synergy between accurate science and engaging storylines. It also offers scientists the opportunity to expand the reach of their work by moving their research out of the lab and into the public eye, potentially improving attitudes toward science and galvanizing interest in further discovery.

“Resilience Through Environmental Intelligence”

Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan, NOAA
Tuesday, 5 November at 10:30 – 11:00 am in the Town & Country Room

Dr. Kathryn Sullivan assumed the role of Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Acting NOAA Administrator on February 28, 2013, where she had been serving as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction and Deputy Administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as well as performing the duties of NOAA's Chief Scientist, a vacant position. She is a distinguished scientist, renowned astronaut and intrepid explorer.

As assistant secretary, Dr. Sullivan played a central role in directing Administration and NOAA priority work in the areas of weather and water services, climate science and services, integrated mapping services and Earth-observing capabilities. She provided agency-wide direction with regard to satellites, space weather, water, and ocean observations and forecasts to best serve American communities and businesses. As Deputy Administrator, she oversaw the smooth operation of the agency.

Dr. Sullivan’s impressive expertise spans the frontiers of space and sea. An accomplished oceanographer, she was appointed NOAA’s chief scientist in 1993, where she oversaw a research and technology portfolio that included fisheries biology, climate change, satellite instrumentation and marine biodiversity.

Dr. Sullivan was the inaugural director of the Battelle Center for Mathematics and Science Education Policy in the John Glenn School of Public Affairs at Ohio State University. Prior to joining Ohio State, she served a decade as President and CEO of the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) in Columbus, Ohio, one of the nation's leading science museums. Dr. Sullivan joined COSI after three years’ service as Chief Scientist.

Dr. Sullivan was one of the first six women selected to join the NASA astronaut corps in 1978 and holds the distinction of being the first American woman to walk in space. She flew on three shuttle missions during her 15-year tenure, including the mission that deployed the Hubble Space Telescope. Dr. Sullivan has also served on the National Science Board (2004-2010) and as an oceanographer in the U.S. Navy Reserve (1988-2006).

Dr. Sullivan holds a bachelor's degree in earth sciences from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a doctorate in geology from Dalhousie University in Canada.