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FameLab Astrobiology Finals: Atlanta GA, April 16 2012

Photos at the finals of FameLab Astrobiology at the 2012 NASA Astrobiology Science Conference (AbSciCon in the vernacular) at Georgia Tech. AbSciCon hosted the FameLab Astrobiology finals, where 11 finalists from previous events across in Houston, Denver, and DC were chosen to face off. Each finalist gave a three-minute talk about an area of astrobiology (one prop allowed, no PowerPoint!). Three judges asked a few questions after each talk. Check out the video of the whole show!

The Judge's Choice Astrobiology winner was Brendan Mullan, who won a trip to the FameLab finals at the FameLab International 2012 Finals at the UK's Cheltenham Science Festival. The Audience Choice Astrobiology winner was Aomawa Shields.

Congratulations to all the participants and winners... there was an amazing amount of talent here!

Also see my photos from the FameLab Astrobiology DC event in Washington DC, March 9 2012.

All photos by Henry Throop (NASA HQ / PSI).

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Pre-show Prep

Shawn Domagal-Goldman (NASA HQ) preps everyone before the 7 PM FameLab finals at AbSciCon.
Daniella Scalice (NASA Ames) scouts the room.
MC Nichelle Nichols (aka Uhura) warms up during the rehearsal.
Judge David Grinspoon (Denver Museum of Nature and Science) is distracted by a larger force-field.
Mary Voytek, head of Astrobiology at NASA HQ.
Mary acts out the pre-show.
Our three judges share David's burrito.
Judge Linda Billings (GWU / NASA).
Judges Bill Margol (National Geographic) and David Grinspoon.
Judge David Grinspoon.
Contestants line up in the ballroom...
FameLab-er Heather Graham catches up on some live-blogging before the main event.
Kate Follette (U of Arizona).
Lucas Joel (UC Riverside) looks for inspiration beforehand.
Parag Vaishampayan (JPL).
And on to the first contestant!

Michael Chaffin (U. Colorado), "Does Science Require Faith?'

Michael Chaffin

Judge Bill Margol.
Judge Linda Billings.
Two of the three judges have swapped their beers for bottled water, while David Grinspoon holds out.
Kate Follette (U of Arizona), "They Call it Space for a Reason."

Kate Follette

Speaker #3, Heather Graham (PSU), on "#OccupyTheUniverse"

Heather Graham

Noah Hammond (SETI) discusses "The Late Heavy Bombardment: The Solar System's Civil War."

Noah Hammond

Lucas Joel (UC Riverside) on "The Curious Case of the First Animal Movement" !

Lucas Joel

Brendan Mullan (Penn State) tries to answer the question "Where are All the Aliens?"

Brendan Mullan

Liz Percak-Dennett (U. Wisconsin) advocates for 5' 10" of geologic time.

Liz Percak-Dennett

Aomawa Shields (U. Washington) talks on "Bi-Polar Ice" !

Aomawa Shields

Rebecca Turk MacLeod uses her prop to bolster the case for "The RNA World."

Rebecca Turk MacLeod

As Uhura watches over!
Parag Vaishampayan (JPL) talks about The True Nature of Self.

Parag Vaishampayan

And finally, FameLab Atlanta contestant #11, Nicole Yunger Halpern, tells why it is true that "I Love the Smell of Evolution in the Morning... It Smells Like Physics."

Nicole Yunger Halpern

The FameLab clock counts down from 3:00.

Intermission with Famelab MC Nichelle Nichols

With the contestants finished up, the judges have receded to their chambers. Now it's Nichelle Nichols' turn to tell highly entertaining stories of the early days of her career... pre-FameLab.
All eleven contestants...

And the winners!

Steve Burgess (Cheltenham Science Festival -- the UK organizer of FameLab).
Shawn's nametag may be misspelled, but that does not prevent him from getting the audience ready for the judges' results.
And the "People's Choice" winner is...
Aomawa Shields!!!
Woo-hoo Aomawa!!
And the overall winner is... Brendan Mullan!
Hi-fives all around to Brendan (who had been doing the same to everyone else during the rest of the show).
The crowd in Atlanta.
Congratulations to everyone. (That's NASA HQ exobiology program officer Michael New at the center.)
Live long and prosper!
Group shot with all the Atlanta participants, as well as everyone in Atlanta who participated in the FameLab prelims held in DC, Denver, and __, plus the judges and organizers.

Group shots

All the Atlanta FameLab contestants...
Atlanta FameLab contestants with judges and organizers.
Aomawa, Uhura, Brendan...
Grinspoon covets the orb.
The organizers are bit disorganized...

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Henry Throop

Last modified Thu Sep 5 10:32:17 2013