POC: Charles K. Gatebe, Phone: 301-614-6228, Email:

Maniac Talks are about what inspired people to do what they are doing now in their career. It's about their driving forces and motivators and what keeps them going. It's about how they overcome obstacles. The format of the talks is informal and discussion is encouraged. All talks are recorded/taped and archived at GSFC Library. The talks are also available on YouTube:

February 28, 2018 Christa D. Peters-Lidard Deputy Director for Hydrosphere, Biosphere, and Geophysics, Earth Sciences Division, NASA GSFC.
March 28, 2018 Elizabeth Middleton Code 618, Mission Scientist for Earth Observer 1 (EO-1) satellite.
April 18, 2018 Gavin A. Schmidt Director of NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS)
May 23, 2018 Dennis Andrucyk Deputy Associate Administrator, NASA HQ.
June 27, 2018 Christopher J. Scolese Director, Goddard Space Flight Center
September 26, 2018 Gerald R. North Distinguished Professor and Holder of the Harold J. Haynes Endowed Chair in Geosciences at Texas A&M University
November 13, 2018 Robert W. Corell Chair of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment and a Principal for the Global Environment Technology Foundation

Editor's note: information herein culled from NASA, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, various universities, and other online sources). The YouTube terms of service agreement can be found at


Robert Bindschadler Maniac Lecture

21 May

Dr. Robert Bindschadler, Morgan State University/GESTAR & Emeritus Scientist NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.


Emeritus Scientist, NASA GSFC

Dr. Robert Bindschadler has been an active Antarctic field researcher for the past 25 years. He has led 14 field expeditions to Antarctica and has participated in many other expeditions to glaciers and ice caps around the world. He maintains an active interest in the dynamics of glaciers and ice sheets, primarily on Earth, investigating how remote sensing can be used to improve our understanding of the role of ice in the Earth's climate. Applications developed by Dr. Bindschadler include measuring ice velocity and elevation using both visible and radar imagery, monitoring melt of and snowfall on ice sheets by microwave emissions, and detecting changes in ice-sheet volume by repeat space-borne radar altimetry.

He has advised the US Congress and the Vice President on the stability of ice sheets and ice shelves and served on many scientific commissions and study groups as an expert in glaciology and remote sensing of ice. Some of the more significant awards he has received are: Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (2001); Goddard Senior Fellow (2000); the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal (1994), Excellence in Federal Career (1989); and the Antarctic Service Medal (1984). He currently is the Immediate Past President of the International Glaciological Society, chairs the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Initiative, sits on both the US and International Planning Groups for the International Polar Year and is an Editor for the Journal of Glaciology.

Gene Feldman Maniac Lecture

27 June

Dr. Gene Carl Feldman presents Maniac Talk, "Satellites, Seabirds and Seals: A thirty year retrospective of Ocean Color from Space" on June 27, 2012 at NASA Goddard.


Oceanographer; Project Manager, Aquarius, NASA GSFC

Dr. Gene Carl Feldman was a Graduate Research Fellow at the Marine Sciences Research Center, State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook, where, for his dissertation, he used satellite and oceanographic data to study the variability in, and the relationship between, the physical and biological processes in the ocean. He went on to earn his Ph.D. in Coastal Oceanography. Dr. Feldman has over thirty years of experience with NASA serving as an oceanographer specializing primarily in ocean color remote sensing. In addition to his science, educational and data system development activities, his management responsibilities include having served as SeaWiFS Project manager and currently serving as Project Manager for NASA's Ocean Salinity Mapping Mission, Aquarius. His expertise includes the design, development and operations of the large, multi-mission data processing, archive and distribution systems.

Mian Chin Maniac Lecture

25 July

Dr. Chin Chin talks about Modeling Atmospheric Aerosols: Opportunities, Excitements, and Danger at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center on July 25, 2012


Physical Scientist, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, Earth Science Division, NASA GSFC

Dr. Mian Chin received a B.S. degree from East China Normal University (Shanghai, China), a M.A. degree from Ball State University, and a Ph.D. degree from Georgia Institute of Technology. As a graduate student, she was involved in field experiments measuring atmospheric constituents, laboratory study determining atmospheric photochemical reaction rates and product yields, and one-dimensional photochemical model estimating stratospheric sulfur budget. Between 1992 and 1995, Dr. Chin was a postdoctoral fellow in the Division of Applied Sciences, Harvard University, where she worked with 3-dimensional regional and global atmospheric chemistry and transport models for studying tropospheric ozone, aerosols, and trace gases. From 1995 to 1997, Dr. Chin was a Research Scientist at Universities Space Research Association (USRA) and from 1997 to 2003 a Research Scientist/Senior Research Scientist at Georgia Institute of Technology. In 2003, she joined NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, concentrating on atmospheric model development and satellite data analysis.

Claire Parkinson Maniac Lecture

22 August

NASA climate scientist Dr. Claire Parkinson presented a Maniac Talk entitled "From Math to Civil Rights to Sea Ice to Geoengineering." Claire shared some of the sea-ice science she has been involved in at Goddard over the past 34 years, as well as key moments on her route to becoming a NASA scientist and key factors influencing her perspective on climate change.


Climate Change Senior Scientist and Goddard Senior Fellow, NASA GSFC

Since July 1978, Dr. Claire Parkinson has worked at NASA Goddard with a research emphasis on polar sea ice and its connections to the rest of the climate system and to climate change. Much of her work has involved the analysis of sea ice from satellite data, and she is the lead author of an atlas of Arctic sea ice from satellite data and a coauthor of two other sea ice atlases. She has also developed a numerical model of sea ice and has done fieldwork in both the Arctic and the Antarctic. Since April 1993, she also has been Project Scientist for the Aqua satellite mission, which launched in May 2002 and is transmitting data on many atmospheric, ocean, land, and ice variables. She has written or cowritten several books, including an introductory text on examining the Earth with satellite imagery, a book on climate modeling, and a book on the history of western science from 1202 to 1930. She speaks frequently to teacher and student groups regarding Earth sciences and satellite remote sensing, and she is a science advisor to the Earth/Sky radio program. She is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering (NAE), a member of the American Philosophical Society, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Meteorological Society (AMS), and Phi Beta Kappa.

Among her many awards: Dr. Parkinson received First Place in the Environment category of ForeWord Reviews’ Book of the Year Awards, for the book "Coming Climate Crisis? Consider the Past, Beware the Big Fix" (2011); was awarded the Remote Sensing Prize, American Meteorological Society (2011); was elected to the American Philosophical Society (2010) and the U.S. National Academy of Engineering (2009); received a NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal (2008); and was elected a Goddard Senior Fellow, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (2005).

Louis Uccellini Joint Maniac & EPO Lecture

12 September

Dr. Louis W. Uccellini, director, NOAA's National Weather Service, National Centers for Environmental Prediction presented a joint Maniac & EPO lecture entitled "Advancing the Forecast Enterprise" at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.


Director, National Weather Service (NWS); Assistant Administrator, Weather Services, NOAA

As National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Assistant Administrator for Weather Services, and Director of the National Weather Service, Dr. Louis Uccellini is responsible for the day-to-day civilian weather operations for the United States, its territories, adjacent waters, and ocean areas. Prior to this position, he was the Director of the NWS’ National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) for 14 years. He was responsible for directing and planning the science, technology, and operations related to NCEP’s Central Operations and Environmental Modeling, as well as seven national centers, including the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., and Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colo. His weather career began at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center's Laboratory for Atmospheres, when he served as the section head for the Mesoscale Analysis and Modeling Section in 1978. In 1989, he joined the NWS as chief of the Meteorological Operations Division, and in 1994, became Director of the NWS’ Office of Meteorology.

Dr. Uccellini received his B.Sc., Master, and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the co-author of a widely acclaimed two-volume American Meteorological Society (AMS) monograph Northeast Snowstorms, published in 2004. Among the many awards he has received in recognition of his research and operational achievements are the following: the Maryland Academy of Sciences Distinguished Young Scientist Award, the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement, the AMS’s prestigious Clarence Leroy Meisinger Award, and the National Weather Association’s Research Achievement Awards for Significant Contributions to Operational Meteorology. In 2001, Dr. Uccellini received the U.S. Presidential Meritorious Executive Rank Award; in 2006, he received the U.S. Presidential Distinguished Rank Award. In 1987, he was became an AMS Fellow, and from 2012 – 2013, Dr. Uccellini served as the President of the AMS.

Robert Cahalan Maniac Lecture

24 October

NASA climate scientist Dr. Robert Cahalan presented a Maniac Talk entitled "Angel Hair, Ice Cream Castles, Dripping Faucets & Euler Fractals." Bob illustrated some ideas learned over the past 6 solar cycles that lit his nonlinear path through studies of physics & math, and some tools & toys that he's had a part in.


Director of the Sun-Climate Research Center, NASA GSFC

Dr. Robert Cahalan has been doing scientific research for more than 40 years. He is Director of the Sun-Climate Research Center at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and recently retired as Chief of Goddard’s Climate and Radiation Laboratory. He is President Emeritus of the International Radiation Commission. He contributed to several Assessment Reports of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), including the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) that garnered the 2007 Nobel Prize. Dr. Cahalan is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society as well as the recipient of numerous awards for scientific research, including the United States Outstanding Leadership and Service Medal.

Piers Sellers Maniac Lecture

November 28

Astronaut Piers Sellers presented a Maniac Talk entitled "Infiltrating NASA..."
When I was a kid, I watched the space race unfold. It was the most exciting thing I could imagine and NASA looked to me to be like the top of a holy mountain. After a lifetime of exploring different parts of that mountain, I still feel the same way. It doesn't get better than this.


Deputy Director of the Sciences and Exploration Directorate and Acting Director of the Earth Sciences Division, NASA GSFC

Dr. Piers Sellers earned his B.Sc. from the University of Edinburgh and his Ph.D. from Leeds University. He also completed pilot training at the Royal Air Force. In 1982, he moved from the U.K. to the U.S. in 1982 to carry out climate research at NASA/GSFC, where, from 1982 to 1996, he worked on global climate problems, particularly those involving interactions between the biosphere and the atmosphere, and was involved in constructing computer models of the global climate system, satellite data interpretation and conducting large-scale field experiments in the U.S., Canada, Africa, and Brazil. In 1998, he was the project scientist for the first large Earth Observing System platform, Terra. In 1996, he joined the NASA astronaut corps and has flown on three space missions to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2002, 2006, and 2010, carrying out six spacewalks and working on ISS assembly tasks. Since 2011, Dr. Sellers has served as the deputy director of NASA Goddard's Sciences and Exploration Directorate and continues his climate research.

He is the recipient of the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Award, the Arthur Fleming Award, the AMS Houghton Award, and, most recently, in 2011, Officer of the British Empire (OBE) for services to science, and is a Fellow both AGU and AMS.