Public Release: 

Science historian/author James Burke to speak at 12th Von Braun Forum in Huntsville

NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center News Center

Best-selling author, television producer, and noted science historian Dr. James Burke will be the featured speaker Thursday at NASA's Von Braun Forum in Huntsville, Ala. The event is free to the public and will be held in the South Hall of the Von Braun Center from 2:15-3:45 p.m.

A frequent keynote speaker on the subject of technology and social change, Burke will kick-off the event Thursday with "Exploration: Discovering New Frontiers," -- a discussion of how new knowledge triggers innovation, changes in how such innovation occurs and the subsequent impact on society. He will address the history of exploration that led to humans reaching into space and how technology drives economic development, as well as improving our quality of life.

This is the 12th year for the Forum, sponsored by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center to communicate the Center's goals, accomplishments and impact on the region and the nation. The event involves the academic, industrial, arts and professional communities. It was named in honor of Dr. Wernher von Braun, Marshall's first director and leader of the Saturn V rocket team that took man to the Moon. His persuasive efforts to rally Americans around the space program helped Huntsville become a technology-centered city that continues to reap the benefits of economic expansion from spin-off industries.

Previous forum speakers have included Walter Cronkite, John Denver and Jim Hartz.


Burke has been writing, hosting and producing award-winning documentary television series for 35 years. His most recent television work is a 10-hour technology history series called "Connections3" for The Learning Channel. He has authored eight books and contributes a monthly column to Scientific American.

In 1965, Burke began work with the British Broadcasting Corp. and became its chief reporter on the Apollo moon missions. He went on to produce, write and direct television series for the BBC, PBS, The Learning Channel and The Discovery Channel. His books include "Tomorrow's World," "Tomorrow's World II," "Connections," "The Day the Universe Changed," "Chances," "The Axemaker's Gift," "The Pinball Effect" and "The Knowledge Web." Burke was educated at Oxford and holds honorary doctorates for his work in communicating science and technology.

An art symposium, part of the Von Braun Celebration of the Arts and Sciences, will begin at 3:45 p.m. The multimedia presentation will include narration and live music focusing on NASA's and the Marshall Center's accomplishments and visions for the future. It also is free and open to the public.

Both the Von Braun Forum and the arts and sciences celebration this year are part of the three-day Technical and Business Exhibition and Symposium (TABES) and Tennessee Valley Economic Summit that began Tuesday.

Note to News Editors/Assignment Editors: Media desiring to cover this event may contact Jerry Berg at 256-544-0034.

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