This is a little overdue, but it needs to be posted anyways. I mentioned a few weeks ago that Carolyn Porco, the imaging team lead from the Cassini mission to Saturn, came to Google to give a talk. That seemed pretty awesome to me, but to outdo that, last week a few slightly more famous people stopped by:
I'm looking forward to who Google decides to bring next!
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Aubrey de Grey - This guy is convinced that science can prevent aging and is doing everything he can to make it so. He's the front man of biomedical gerontology much the same as Richard Stallman is of the Free Software movement. (Compare the pictures on their bios.. I didn't remember that until just now!) Dr de Gray gave a 30 minute presentation on the basics of preventing aging and spent another 30 minutes answering questions. Googlers tend to be very good at asking good questions, and the Q&A portion of talks is often more interesting than the actual presentation
- NASA administrator Michael D Griffin gave a talk on NASA's plans for future spacefight. He expects a shift of the "easy" parts to commercial entities (like getting things into orbit), while leveraging federal funds to build communications infrastructure and coordinate getting people to Mars. The focus of NASA's plan for the future is getting people onto the moon again and then onto Mars, but there is still much that can be done with robotic exploration, and NASA could really use more funding to do what they feel need should be done.
- Presidential candidate John Edwards stopped by later that day to talk about his platform and answer questions from a Google audience. Like most other politicians I've heard, I really liked half of what he said, and didn't feel as good about the other half. Perhaps I'll get to doing as much research as I would like when the election is a little closer.