Astronomer Phil Plait, best known for his “Bad Astronomy” blog, will headline the third biannual Forum for Interdisciplinary Dialogue, to be held Friday and Saturday at the University of Virginia.
The forum, presented by the Jefferson Scholars Foundation and the Jefferson Graduate Fellows, is an interdisciplinary conference featuring presenters from the University and beyond and is open to students, faculty and members of the Charlottesville community. The theme for this year’s conference is “Fact, Fiction and Supposition: Creating Truth, Engineering Reality.”
Plait obtained his Ph.D. at U.Va. studying under Roger Chevalier, W.H. Vanderbilt Professor of Physics in the College of Arts & Sciences. While a graduate student, Plait explored writing about science for a broad audience. After taking positions at the Space Telescope Science Institute working with instrumentation for the Hubble Space Telescope, he is currently a full-time writer, promoting science literacy, a healthy dose of skepticism and critical thinking.
Plait is known for a straight, no-nonsense lecture style that reaches to the heart of an issue. This approach has made him a popular contributor to many national conferences that focus on critical thinking and/or science. He is a regular panelist for “The Amaz!ng Meeting,” an annual conference to discuss science, skepticism and critical thinking. The conference is sponsored by the James Randi Educational Foundation, for which Plait served as president from 2008 to 2010. The principle focus of the meeting is taking a critical thinking approach to current topics in the news.
Plait’s keynote address is scheduled to begin Friday at 4 p.m. at Foundation Hall (directions here). All are welcome to attend all or part of the Forum for Interdisciplinary Dialogue. To view the conference program and to register online, visit the forum’s website.