The Fall Meeting will offer general sessions, each covering a different and exciting topic applicable across all fields of Earth and space science. These engaging lectures will cover a broad array of subject material and will include this year’s Presidential Forum and Union Frontiers of Geophysics speakers.

All Sessions will be held in Hall E, Moscone North.

Monday, 14 December: U13B Special General Session, 12:30–1:30 P.M.

Peter DiamandisPeter H. Diamandis
Chairman and CEO of XPRIZE

Diamandis and other XPRIZE representatives will be at the Fall Meeting to formally announce a new XPRIZE competition.

Peter H. Diamandis, M.D., is the Chairman and CEO of XPRIZE, a non-profit organization that leads the world in designing and launching large incentive prizes to drive radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. Best known for the $10 million Ansari XPRIZE for private spaceflight and the $10 million Progressive Automotive XPRIZE for 100 mile-per-gallon equivalent cars, XPRIZE is now launching prizes in Exploration, Life Sciences, Energy & Environment, Learning, and Global Development.

Diamandis is also an international leader in the commercial space arena, having founded and run many of the leading entrepreneurial companies in this sector including Zero Gravity Corporation, the Rocket Racing League, and Space Adventures.

As Co-Founder & Chairman of the Singularity University, Diamandis counsels the world’s top enterprises on how to utilize exponential technologies and incentivized innovation to dramatically accelerate their business objectives.

Diamandis attended MIT where he received his degrees in molecular genetics and aerospace engineering, as well as Harvard Medical School where he received his M.D.

Tuesday, 15 December: U21B Presidential Forum, 10:10–11:00 A.M.

Elon MuskElon Musk
CEO and Lead Designer at Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX)

Elon Musk is the CEO and Lead Designer at Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), which he founded in 2002, and the CEO and Product Architect at Tesla Motors, Inc., which he co-founded in 2003.

As lead designer at SpaceX, Musk oversees the development of rockets and spacecraft for missions to Earth orbit and ultimately to other planets. The SpaceX Falcon 1 was the first privately developed liquid fuel rocket to reach orbit in 2008. Following that milestone, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft won the NASA contract to provide a commercial replacement for the cargo transport function of the Space Shuttle, which retired in 2011. In 2010, SpaceX became the first commercial company to launch and recover a spacecraft from Earth orbit with its Dragon spacecraft. In 2012, Dragon achieved the distinction of being the first commercial spacecraft to dock with the International Space Station and return cargo to Earth. In 2014, SpaceX won a commercial crew contract from NASA to carry astronauts in 2017. By pioneering the development of reusable rockets, SpaceX is pursuing the long-term goal of making humans a multi planetary species.

At Tesla, Musk serves as product architect, overseeing product development, engineering, and design for the all-electric vehicle range, which is manufactured in Fremont, California. The Tesla Roadster sports car debuted in 2008, followed by the Model S sedan, which was introduced in 2012. The Model S was named Consumer Reports’ Best Overall Car in 2014 and 2015 and earned the highest-ever safety rating awarded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. From the beginning, Tesla’s mission has been rooted in accelerating the transition to a sustainable energy economy, in which compelling electric transport will play a crucial role. In that spirit, the company opened its patents to all in 2014.

In addition, Musk is the non-executive chairman and principal shareholder of SolarCity, which he helped create. SolarCity is now the leading provider of solar power systems in the United States. Previously, Musk co-founded PayPal, the world’s leading Internet payment system, and served as the company’s Chairman and CEO.

Tuesday, 15 December: Union Agency Lecture, 12:30-1:30 P.M.

Cordova_h_v2_200x300 France A. Córdova
Director, U.S. National Science Foundation

France A. Córdova was sworn in as director of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) on 31 March 2014. Nominated by President Barack Obama to head the $7.2 billion independent federal agency, she was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on 12 March 2014. Córdova leads the only government science agency charged with advancing all fields of scientific discovery; technological innovation; and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. NSF’s programs and initiatives keep the United States at the forefront of science and engineering, empower future generations of scientists and engineers, and foster U.S. prosperity and global leadership.

Córdova’s scientific contributions have been in the areas of observational and experimental astrophysics, multispectral research on X-ray and gamma ray sources, and space borne instrumentation. She has published more than 150 scientific papers.

In 1997, Córdova was awarded an honorary doctorate by Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles. She is a recipient of NASA’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Medal, and was recognized as a Kilby Laureate in 2000. The Kilby International Awards recognize extraordinary individuals who have made “significant contributions to society through science, technology, innovation, invention, and education.” Córdova was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is a National Associate of the National Academies. She is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Association for Women In Science (AWIS).

Thursday, 17 December: Union Frontiers of Geophysics Lecture, 12:30-1:30 P.M.

gordon-mcbean new VersionGordon McBean
President of the International Council for Science (ICSU)

Gordon McBean is President of the International Council for Science (ICSU) and Co-Chair of the Governing Council for Future Earth: Research for Global Sustainability and Professor Emeritus of Geography at Western University, London, Canada. He was Professor of Geography at Western with joint appointments in Political Science and Physics. From 1994 to 2000, he was the Assistant Deputy Minister in Environment Canada with responsibilities for climate, weather, and air quality sciences and services and advising the government on related issues. Prior to that, McBean was a Professor of Atmospheric-Oceanic Sciences at the University of British Columbia and a research scientist with Environment Canada.

McBean has been very active in international scientific programs from BOMEX as a graduate student, to GATE, to being a member, then Chair, of the World Climate Research Programme and Chair of Planning Committee – Science Committee for the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk Program. He was also President of START International (environmental capacity enhancement in Africa and Asia). McBean’s recent research projects include being Principal Investigator of the Coastal Cities at Risk: Building Adaptive Capacity for Managing Climate Change in Coastal Megacities (Vancouver, Bangkok, Manila, and Lagos), an Insight Grant on Integrated Strategies for Risk Reduction and an investigator with Marine Environmental Observations Prediction and Response (MEOPAR-NCE). He was previously leader of the integrating theme for ArcticNet NCE.

McBean has been appointed a Member of the Order of Canada for “contributions to the advancement of climate and atmospheric sciences in Canada and for leadership in national and international scientific organizations”, Order of Ontario, and awarded, in 2015, the University of British Columbia Alumni Award of Distinction, the American Geophysical Union Ambassador Award, and the Cleveland Abbe Prize of the American Meteorological Society. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, American Geophysical Union, Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics, Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and the American Meteorological Society.