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2024 Creativity Conference Speakers and Schedule

Creativity Conference Curators

Mark Moffett

Mark W. Moffett

Mark Moffett, tropical explorer and biologist, is traveling with globe with the support of the John Templeton Foundation to investigate the life and death of societies across the animal world and in humans right up to the present day.

Melissa Wells

Melissa Wells

Melissa Wells is an expert at managing healthcare systems in the US and abroad. When on expeditions with fellow explorer Moffett, she also captures the work and inspiration of scientific researchers through photography and film.

2024 Creativity Conference Speakers and Schedule

John Mather

Friday, January 12, 9 a.m.

NASA cosmologist and Nobel Prize winner in physics, John Mather returns to the Sea Island Creativity Conference to report on the latest findings about the nature of the universe in his role as the leading scientist on the James Webb Space telescope research team.

Ada Limón

Friday, January 12, 10 a.m.

The current Poet Laureate of the United States, and first Latina to be given that honor, Ada Limón’s words often connect us with nature; her poem “In Praise of Mystery” will travel to the second moon of Jupiter on the NASA spacecraft the Europa Clipper.

David Auburn

Friday, January 12, 11 a.m.

Playwright, screenwriter, and theater director David Auburn, whose new play “Summer, 1976” was a New York Times “Critic’s Pick,” earned a Pulitzer and Tony for “Proof,” adapted into a film starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Anthony Hopkins.

Walter Gilbert

Friday, January 12, 2 p.m.

Walter Gilbert, recognized today for his photography and art, has been a pioneer in molecular biology, and especially the functioning of genes, earning a Nobel Prize for first developing methods for decoding the information contained in DNA strands.

Heather Berlin

Friday, January 12, 3 p.m.

Clinical psychologist, neuroscientist, and TV host Heather Berlin is seeking novel treat­ments and preventive measures for impulsive and compulsive psychiatric disorders while investigating the neural basis of consciousness and creativity.

Amy Tan

Friday, January 12, 4 p.m.

The next publication of returning Sea Island Creativity Conference presenter Amy Tan, best-selling novelist and writer of children’s books and memoirs and co-writer of the screenplay for the film adaptation of her book, The Joy Luck Club, concerns her love of birds.

Jody Williams

Saturday, January 13, 9 a.m.

Jody Williams, a life-long advocate of freedom, self-determination, and human and civil rights around the world, is particularly known for her international campaign to ban landmines, an effort for which she received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997.

Terence Tao

Saturday, January 13, 10 a.m.

MacArthur Fellow Terence Tao, who began taking university courses in mathematics at the age of 9, has been decorated with the Fields Medal and the Crafoord Prize and was described by the New York Times as the “Mozart of mathematics.”

Cassandra Extavour

Saturday, January 13, 11 a.m.

Geneticist Cassandra Extavour, who studies the evolution of embryos and the gametes from which they develop at a grand scale across the animal kingdom, is also a professional soprano singing classical music and in operas around the world.

Mark Moffett

Saturday, January 13, 2 p.m.

Tropical explorer Mark Moffett is investigating the life and death of societies across species and in humans right up to the present day. Trained under the Harvard ecologist E.O. Wilson, he is most widely known for finding new species and behavior and recording them in the National Geographic magazine.

Cat Bohannon

Saturday, January 13, 3 p.m.

Cat Bohannon’s book Eve: How the female body drove 200 million years of human evolution is described by the New York Times as a “high velocity, high impact… sweeping saga [and] love letter to the ancient, creaking wonder that is evolution.”