The Heinlein Society Scholarship Application Deadline 4/1/21

The Heinlein Society has opened its tenth annual scholarship essay contest for the 2021-2022 academic year. Three $3,000 scholarships will be awarded to undergraduate students of accredited 4-year colleges and universities —

  • Virginia Heinlein Memorial Scholarship — Dedicated to a female candidate majoring in engineering, math, or biological or physical sciences.
  • The Yoji Kondo Scholarship and Jerry Pournelle Scholarship — May be awarded to a candidate of any gender; in addition, “Science Fiction as literature” is an eligible field of study.

Applicants will need to submit a 500-1,000 word essay on one of several available topics:

a. How Robert Heinlein influenced your career choice. What Heinlein writings would you use to illustrate how he sparked your interest in science and technology?
b. Discuss the advantages to the human race of a permanent settlement on the Moon or Mars.
c. Biologist J.B.S. Haldane once wrote “I have no doubt that in reality the future will be vastly more surprising than anything I can imagine. Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.” Find, discuss, and comment on one episode in your STEM field in the past 50 years that you find surprising.
d. Robert Heinlein said “The golden age of science has yet to begin.” Evaluate this statement compared to your technical field. Do you expect to see this golden age in your lifetime?
e. Discuss how Heinlein has influenced modern science fiction and fantasy.
f. What are the structural, procedural, and operational limitations of computer simulations of which a practitioner or user must be acutely aware? Discuss with respect to your career field.
g. How might advances in your chosen field of study affect how people live 50 years from now? What changes, good or bad, might society see?

The deadline to apply is April 1. Full guidelines and the application form are on the Society’s website.  Winners will be announced on July 7, 2020.

Previous scholarship winners who will still be attending college in the 2021-2022 academic year as undergraduates are eligible to apply again, but they must choose a different essay topic than previously.

The Heinlein Society 2020 Scholarship Winners

The Heinlein Society celebrated Robert A. Heinlein’s 113th birthday today by announcing the three winners of its 2020 Scholarship competition.

Dr. Yoji Kondo Scholarship

  • Charles Hanson

Charles was also our first non-U.S. winner in 2016 (from Canada), and was a finalist again in 2017. Completion of his undergraduate degree was delayed by circumstances beyond his control, so he will be attending the University of Alberta this year as a senior. His major is Mathematics, but he has a studied a range of sciences including biology, meteorology and mathematical physics. When not studying, he teaches piano and physics and volunteers at a local observatory. His goal is to pursue entry into medical school or a graduate degree in mathematical medicine.

Dr. Jerry Pournelle Scholarship

  • Tulla Bee Picardi

In the fall she will begin her freshman year at Stanford University. Her major is Neuroscience and Human Biology, on a Pre-Med track. She is active in the National Math Honor Society, National English Honor Society, Rho Kappa History Honor Society, and the Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society (among others) and is a lifetime member of Mensa. She scored 35 on the ACT and 1550 on the SAT. She spent four summers participating in Duke University’s Talent Identification program, taking three-week intensive college courses in subjects such as Anatomy, Physiology and Medical Ethics. Her long term goal is to become a neuro-oncologist.

Virginia Heinlein Scholarship

  • Samantha Townsend

She will be attending UNC Chapel Hill in North Carolina as a freshman in the Fall, majoring in Applied Mathematics and Statistics with a minor in Software Development. While attending high school, she began taking courses at Wake Technical Community College, and was able to complete their entire Calculus sequence. After obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree, she plans to pursue both a Master’s and PhD, and ultimately to start her own business in Data Analytics. Samantha’s Instagram account (@stem357), on which she posts mathematical memes, has over 60,000 followers.

The Heinlein Society received 365 scholarship applications, a record. About 80% of those who applied identify as female. There were 20 international applicants, more than in any previous year, from around the globe: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Greece, Ghana, Haiti, India, Israel, Kazakhstan, Morocco and India.

In addition to the winners, the other top 10 finalists are:

  • Catherine Anderson
  • Kasandra Aulenbach
  • Emily Black
  • Rachel Hetzler
  • Samuel Koblensky
  • Hannah Reilly
  • Erin Yuan

The Heinlein Society Scholarship Application Deadline 4/1/20

The Heinlein Society has opened its eighth annual scholarship essay contest for the 2020-2021 academic year.

 Three $2,500 scholarships will be awarded to undergraduate students of accredited 4-year colleges and universities —

  • Virginia Heinlein Memorial Scholarship — Dedicated to a female candidate majoring in engineering, math, or biological or physical sciences.
  • The Yoji Kondo Scholarship and Jerry Pournelle Scholarship — May be awarded to a candidate of any gender; in addition, “Science Fiction as literature” is an eligible field of study.

Applicants will need to submit a 500-1,000 word essay on one of several available topics:

a. How Robert Heinlein influenced your career choice. What Heinlein writings would you use to illustrate how he sparked your interest in science and technology?
b. Discuss the ‘Golden Age of SF’ and Robert Heinlein’s role in it.
c. Most of the Heinlein estate and literary legacy is devoted to commercial space activities (the mission of the Heinlein Prize Trust). Given that focus, consider Heinlein’s “The Man Who Sold the Moon”, and other works. Will our future expansion into space be government initiated, or private/commercial? Which is better? Which will ultimately be the way forward?
d. Robert Heinlein said “The golden age of science has yet to begin.” Evaluate this statement compared to your technical field.
e. Discuss the advantages to the human race of a permanent settlement on the Moon or Mars.
f. The expansion of social media has led to widespread placement of devices by which your movement and private conversations can be monitored. Social media has also accelerated the clustering of like-minded interests into largely non-interacting ‘tribes’—the so-called ‘metadata’ gathering. Can you find and comment on the Heinlein stories that predicted these phenomena?
g. How might advances in your chosen field of study affect how people live 50 years from now? What changes, good or bad, might society see?

Full guidelines and the application form are on the Society’s website.  Winners will be announced on July 7, 2020.

Previous scholarship winners who will still be attending college in the 2020-2021 academic year as undergraduates are eligible to apply again, but they must choose a different essay topic than previously.

The Heinlein Society’s New Officers

By Keith G. Kato: The new officers for The Heinlein Society were selected at its September 9, 2019 Board of Directors meeting.  They are:

  • President and Chairman of the Board:  John Tilden of Maryland.  “JT” was previously Treasurer of the Society, and succeeds Geo Rule of Minnesota as President.
  • Vice President-Secretary:  Dr. C. Herbert Gilliland of Maryland, Emeritus Professor of English at the United States Naval Academy, continues as Vice President-Secretary.
  • Treasurer:  Dr. Beatrice Kondo of Maryland succeeds John Tilden as Treasurer.  Dr. Kondo was re-elected for another three-year term this year, and is the daughter of the late Dr. Yoji Kondo, astrophysicist for NASA who wrote SF under the name Eric Kotani.

The results of this year’s Board of Directors election was announced at the Society’s online phone-in Annual Meeting on September 8.  Three of nine Board seats are elected each year.  By seniority the remainder of the Board is:

  • SFWA Grandmaster Joe Haldeman of Florida, re-elected for another three-year term.
  • John Seltzer of Washington state.
  • Betsey Wilcox of Texas.
  • Walt Boyes of Missouri.
  • Mike Sheffield of California.
  • Ken Walters of Tennessee, elected to his first three-year term.

At the Annual Meeting, President Geo Rule stated he chose not to run for re-election to the Board due to his increased work commitments, which he felt would not allow him to give the Society the time and effort the job required.  He would continue his committee work.

The Heinlein Society 2019 Scholarship Winners

The Heinlein Society celebrated Robert A. Heinlein’s 112th birthday today by announcing the three winners of its 2019 Scholarship competition.

Virginia Heinlein Scholarship

  • Rosemary Lach

Rosemary wins this year’s Virginia Heinlein Scholarship – the “Ginny”. She will be attending Rice University as a freshman in the Fall, majoring in Electrical and Computer Engineering. One of her favorite hobbies is model rocketry, and she intends to pursue a career working on control systems. She has already worked as an intern for Northrop Grumman Mission Systems. She has volunteered as a mentor for the Miraleste Intermediate School Robotics Team and as an education volunteer for the Aquarium of the Pacific.

Dr. Yoji Kondo Scholarship

  • Charles Boyle

Charles is this year’s winner of the Dr. Yoji Kondo Scholarship. Charles is a senior, attending the University of Texas at Austin. He is pursuing a triple-major in Aerospace Engineering, Physics, and Astronomy. After he completes his Bachelor’s, he plans to pursue a graduate degree. He is a member of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society and the Sigma Gamma Tau Aerospace Honor Society, for both of which he has performed volunteer work. His main pastime is designing and fabricating in UT’s Makerspace.

Dr. Jerry Pournelle Scholarship

  • Faith Rovenolt

Faith is the Dr. Jerry Pournelle Scholarship winner. She is a senior at Vanderbilt University, majoring in Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology. Her career goal is to perform research in epidemiology. She also hopes “…to spread my passion for biology through teaching, outreach, or science writing.” Her mother is an army veteran and her father is serving in the Navy. She has volunteered her time with Vanderbilt Students for the Armed Services as well as Vanderbilt Students Volunteer for Science.

The Heinlein Society received 233 scholarship applications. In addition to the winners, the other top 10 finalists are:

  • Will Butler
  • Madeline English
  • Samuel Heim
  • Esther Lee
  • Trinity Manuelito
  • Shannon Mowbray
  • Clare Williams

The Heinlein Society Scholarship Application Deadline 4/1

The Heinlein Society has opened its sixth annual scholarship essay contest for the 2019-2020 academic year. Three $2,000 scholarships will be awarded to undergraduate students of accredited 4-year colleges and universities —

  • Virginia Heinlein Memorial Scholarship — Dedicated to a female candidate majoring in engineering, math, or biological or physical sciences.
  • The Yoji Kondo and Jerry Pournelle scholarships — May be awarded to a candidate of any gender; in addition, “Science Fiction as literature” is an eligible field of study.

Applicants will need to submit a 500-1,000 word essay on one of several available topics:

a. How Robert Heinlein affected my career choice.
b. Discuss the ‘Golden Age of SF’ and Robert Heinlein’s role in it.
c. Most of the Heinlein estate and literary legacy is devoted to commercial space activities (the mission of the Heinlein Prize Trust). Given that focus, consider Elon Musk (winner of the Heinlein Prize for Commercial Space Activities) and the Falcon Heavy launch with his Tesla Roadster with Starman inside. Discuss these events in comparison with Heinlein’s “The Man Who Sold the Moon”, and other works. Will our future expansion into space be government initiated, or private/commercial? Which is better? Which will ultimately be the way forward?
d. Robert Heinlein said “The golden age of science has yet to begin.” Evaluate this statement compared to your technical field.
e. Discuss the advantages to the human race of a permanent settlement on the Moon or Mars.
f. The expansion of social media has led to widespread placement of devices by which your movement and private conversations can be monitored. Social media has also accelerated the clustering of like-minded interests into largely non-interacting ‘tribes’—the so-called ‘metadata’ gathering. Can you find and comment on the Heinlein stories that predicted these phenomena?
g. How might advances in your chosen field of study affect how people live 50 years from now? What changes, good or bad, might society see?

The deadline to apply is April 1. Full guidelines and the application form are on the Society’s website: Society’s website. Winners will be announced on July 7, 2019.

Changing of the Guard at The Heinlein Society

Minnesota fan Geo Rule is the newly-installed President of The Heinlein Society.

Keith Kato’s term as President ended – “amicably and by my own wishes” he notes — with the adjournment of THS’s online Annual Meeting last Sunday and the announcement of its new Board:

  • President:  Geo Rule of Minnesota.
  • Vice President-Secretary:  Dr. C. Herbert Gilliland (“Herb” to friends) of Maryland, retired Professor of English at the U.S. Naval Academy.
  • Treasurer:  John Tilden of Maryland

Other Board members, listed by seniority:

  • SFWA Grandmaster Joe Haldeman of Florida.
  • John Seltzer, of Washington (state).
  • Betsey Wilcox of Texas.
  • Dr. Beatrice Kondo of Maryland (Yoji Kondo’s daughter).
  • Walt Boyes of Missouri (appointed by the Board to fill Jerry Pournelle’s seat; ratified this past election to continue).
  • Mike Sheffield of California (3rd President of THS, re-elected to the Board this past election).

Incoming President Rule says:

Our previous two presidents have left us a great foundation to build upon. Mike Sheffield was the driving force behind the founding of our very successful Scholarships program, and supported the creation of Heinlein For Heroes during his service as President. Dr. Kato led the Society and ‘Heinlein’s Children’ to the creation and placing of a bronze bust of Robert A. Heinlein in the state capitol building of Missouri in 2016, and leave service as President with membership in the Society, and Society financial assets, at all-time highs in our 20 year history. The membershgip recognized him with a well-earned thank you vote by acclamation at our recent annual meeting.

Rule has served on the Board of Directors of the Society since 2007, and as Vice President-Secretary since 2014. He joined the Society in 2002, and considers himself luck to have had the opportunity to work with Mrs. Virginia (“Ginny”) Heinlein on Society business in the last year of her life.

[Thanks to Keith Kato for the story.]

The Heinlein Society 2018 Scholarship Winners

The Heinlein Society celebrated Robert A. Heinlein’s 111th birthday today by announcing the three winners of its 2018 Scholarship competition.

This year the “Virginia Heinlein Memorial Scholarship” is joined by the “Jerry Pournelle Memorial Scholarship” and “Yoji Kondo Memorial Scholarship,” named in honor of two sff figures and friends of Heinlein who died within the past 12 months.

Virginia Heinlein Memorial Scholarship

Carson Butler

She is attending the University of Virgina entering her junior year. She is majoring in Cognitive Science. While in high school she was selected to attend the Frances Hesselbein Student Leadership Program at the U.S. Air Force Academy. In addition to a potential career in neuroscience, she is interested in aerospace and would “… love to work for NASA one day.” Butler was also the winner of the first “Ginny” in 2016.

Jerry Pournelle Memorial Scholarship

Reese Caldwell

This fall he will be attending Harvard University as a freshman, majoring in Chemical and Physical Biology. For his research into external control activity in synthetic cells with light, he was named one of the top 40 high school scientists in the country by the Regeneron Science Talent Search and has presented at two international conferences. After completing his Bachelor’s, he plans to continue on to obtain his PhD in bioengineering, and eventually to work for a university.

Yoji Kondo Scholarship

Emma Sebesta

She begins her university experience as a freshman at Indiana University Bloomington. She is working toward dual majors in Biochemistry and Spanish, with a minor in Psychology. She will be part of IU’s ASURE program (Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Experience). She was Salutatorian of her high school graduating class and received a gold medal on the National Spanish Exam. After obtaining her Bachelor’s, she plans to continue on to attend medical school and obtain her residency. Her dream is to become a fellow at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in New York City.

The Heinlein Society received 301 scholarship applications, almost double last year’s number. In addition to the winners, the other top 10 finalists are:

  • Kayla Keith
  • Neetij Krishnan
  • Kyra Moosmueller
  • Natalie Murren
  • Spencer Pote
  • Stephen Rosene
  • Edith Steffenhagen

[Thanks to Keith G. Kato for the story. The website text was written by Mike Sheffield, Emeritus President of THS and Chairman of the Scholarship Committee.]

Neal Stephenson Wins 2018 Robert A. Heinlein Award

Neal Stephenson in 2008.

Neal Stephenson, science fiction and futurist author, is the 2018 winner of the Robert A. Heinlein Award. The award is bestowed for outstanding published works in science fiction and technical writings that inspire the human exploration of space. This award is in recognition of Stephenson’s body of work, including his 15 novels and many non-fiction articles.

The award will be presented on the evening of Friday, May 25 at opening ceremonies during Balticon 52, the Maryland Regional Science Fiction Convention. Stephenson will not be able to attend due to prior scheduled international travel. Accepting for Stephenson will be his editor, Jennifer Brehl of William Morrow an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Balticon and the Robert A. Heinlein Award are both managed and sponsored by The Baltimore Science Fiction Society. A grant from the Heinlein Society funds half of the costs associated with the award.

The Robert A. Heinlein Award is a sterling silver medallion bearing the image of Robert A. Heinlein, as depicted by artist Arlin Robbins. The medallion is matched with a red-white-blue lanyard. In addition, the winner receives two lapel pins for use when a large medallion is impractical, and a plaque describing the award, suitable for home or office wall display.

The Robert A. Heinlein Award selection committee consists of science fiction writers and was founded by Dr. Yoji Kondo, a long-time friend of Robert and Virginia Heinlein. Members of the original committee were approved by Virginia Heinlein. The current Chairman of the Selection Committee is Michael F. Flynn.

Virginia Heinlein authorized multiple awards in memory of her husband, including the Heinlein Prize, which is fully funded by Virginia Heinlein’s estate, and a National Space Society award for volunteer projects.

More information on the Robert A. Heinlein Award, including past winners, can be found here.

Neal Stephenson’s official webpage — https://www.nealstephenson.com/. He lives near Seattle, WA.

[Based on a press release.]

Pixel Scroll 1/21/18 Right Here In File City, Trouble With A Capital T, That Rhymes With P, And Stands For Pixel

(1) COMPOSING SPACE OPERA. In this Twitter thread Cat Rambo captured the highlights of the Ann Leckie Space Opera class.

(2) WORLDCON 76 ACADEMIC TRACK ADDS PRIZE. The Heinlein Society’s Board of Directors has authorized a $250 cash prize to be awarded to the “Best Paper Presented at the 2018 World Science Fiction Convention’s Academic Track.”  President Keith Kato says “The final evaluation process is under discussion, but will likely involve a judging panel.”

The concom has extended the deadline for Academic Track papers to March 1 as a result.  This prize is not the William H. Patterson, Jr., Prize which is evaluated annually by the Society for the best Heinlein-related academic paper in a particular calendar year.

In addition, The Heinlein Society will be teaming with the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies and The Arthur C. Clarke Foundation for Academic Track papers, and possibly other con activities.

(3) HOW CAN THEY EVER RESPECT US AGAIN? She blabs a trade secret to The Guardian: “Margaret Atwood: ‘I am not a prophet. Science fiction is really about now’”.

“I’m not a prophet,” she says. “Let’s get rid of that idea right now. Prophecies are really about now. In science fiction it’s always about now. What else could it be about? There is no future. There are many possibilities, but we do not know which one we are going to have.” She is, however, “sorry to have been so right”. But, with her high forehead and electric halo of curls, there is something otherworldly about Atwood. Dressed in one of her trademark jewel-coloured scarfs and a necklace of tiny skulls, she cuts a striking figure outside the cafe in Piccadilly where we are huddled.

(4) OUTSIDE SFWA. Vox Day’s post “SFWA rejects Jon Del Arroz” [at the Internet Archive], in which the expelled member condemns and reviles the organization’s decision to refuse admittance to JDA, publishes what is represented to be the text of SFWA’s notification to JDA.

(5) DILLMAN OBIT. Actor Bradford Dillman died January 16 at the age of 87. Some of his better-known roles included Robert Redford’s best friend in 1973’s The Way We Were, and two appearances in Clint Eastwood Dirty Harry movies.

His genre work included TV shows like The Wild, Wild West; Mission: Impossible; Thriller; Wonder Woman; The Incredible Hulk; and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. In the movie Escape From The Planet Of The Apes he was the kind Dr. Dixon who helps Cornelius and Zira evade capture. He also starred in Bug, and appeared in Swarm, and Pirhana.

(6) COMICS SECTION.

  • John King Tarpinian didn’t look to see if this was really in the Old Testament, he just laughed: Bizarro.
  • Chip Hitchcock has his eye on the same cartoon series. He noted that this Bizarro shows new job opportunities, and another Bizarro tells us that even ~gods apprentice:

(7) DREAM HOME. In a hole in the ground there stayed a tourist — “Calling all ‘Lord of the Rings’ fans! You can spend the night in a real-life hobbit hole”.

Wolfe relied on the construction know-how she’d picked up from her parents — her mother remodeled houses when Wolfe was a child — and brought in a backhoe to clear the land. Wolfe needed to ensure the hobbit hole could hold the foot of dirt she planned to place on the roof, so she used marine-grade, pressure-treated wood.

“Any time you put dirt on top of a house, when that dirt gets wet, it’s basically having a swimming pool on top of your house,” she added. “It’s a lot of weight.”

Up next: an entrance fit for a hobbit. Wolfe wanted a signature round entryway, which she created using an industrial-sized cable spool. She enlisted a local designer to craft the hinges and the opening to the 288-square-foot space. He repurposed a trailer hitch to build the door handle.

When guests enter through the circular portal, they immediately stand in the bedroom. To the right is a fireplace, which helps heat the home in the winter, along with a woodworker’s bench. To the left is the bathroom, complete with a large wooden tub…

 

(8) WHO OWNS WHAT? THIRD BASE! At Plagiarism Today, they take on “The Strange Copyright of Doctor Who”.

Exterminate… Exterminate the copyright!

….It’s a bizarre show, even for science fiction. However, a recent news story highlighted an even stranger part of the series.

Shortly after the airing of the 2017 Christmas Special, which marked the end of Peter Capaldi’s run as The Doctor and introduced Jodie Whittaker, the series first female Doctor, a copyright controversy arose.

According to The Mirror, the estate of Marvyn Haisman, the creator of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, took issue with the episode introducing a new character that turned out to be Lethbridge-Stewart’s grandfather. Lethbridge-Stewart is popular character from the series that they hold the rights to.

Though later reports have downplayed the dispute, the story raised an interesting question: Why was one of the series’ most popular characters not controlled by the BBC, which produces the show?

It turns out though that Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart is far from alone in his bizarre copyright status. Many of the show’s iconic characters are controlled, at least in part, by outside entities. The list includes both the robotic dog K9 and even The Daleks themselves.

How did this happen? The answer is both complicated and simple at the same time but it all centers around how the series was written during its early years.

(9) WE INTERRUPT THIS MAELSTROM. Here is the kind of thing people discuss on days when the news cycle isn’t spinning like mad. Or if they need a break on a day when it is.

(10) MOONDUST AND SAND. Andy Weir was the subject of a podcast with Tyler Cowen (“Conversations With Tyler.”) Martin Morse Wooster says, “I’m sure it’s good because Cowen is a good interviewer.”

Martin adds: I learned about this by listening to Cowen’s podcast with New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, which has quite a lot of sf content.  Douthat explained that he wanted to be a fantasy novelist, but settled for being an opinion journalist.  He talks about how Watership Down is his favorite fantasy novel, and about ten minutes of the hour and a half podcast is devoted to a discussion of Dune with an emphasis on the Butlerian Jihad.  The interview revealed that, along with Paul Krugman, there are two New York Times columnists who know a great deal about sf.” — Ross Douthat on Narrative and Religion (Ep. 32).

[Thanks to JJ, Keith Kato, Cat Rambo, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, Will R., and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Davidson.]