Scientist and Science Fiction Author to Speak on NASA Research

September 30, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Yoji Kondo, a NASA scientist and science fiction author under the pseudonym Eric Kotani, will deliver two talks at Illinois Wesleyan University and one at Illinois State University on the subjects of astrophysics and space exploration.

Kondo will give his first lecture, “A Stroll into the Forest/Jungle of Modern Astrophysics,” on Tuesday, Sept. 30 at 4 p.m. in Illinois State’s Moulton Hall, Room 214 (100 N. University St., Normal). At 7 p.m. that evening, he will present research on using “Solar Power Satellites to Cope with the Dwindling Fuel Supply” at Illinois Wesleyan’s Center for Natural Science Learning and Research, Room C101 (201 E. Beecher St., Bloomington). On Wednesday, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. in CNS C101, Kondo will discuss his work as co-investigator for NASA’s Kepler Mission to find planets Earth-size and smaller.

Co-sponsored by the Central Illinois Chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans, all events are free and open to the public. Copies of Legacy of Prometheus, a science fiction novel by Kotani and John Maddox Roberts, and Requiem: New Collected Works by Robert A. Heinlein and Tributes to the Grand Master, a volume edited by Kondo, will be available for purchase and signing.

The NASA director of geosynchronous satellite observatory for 15 years, Kondo also headed the astrophysics laboratory at the Johnson Space Center during the Apollo and Skylab Missions. He has served as President of the International Astronomical Union’s (IAU’s) Commission on “Astronomy from Space,” “Close Binary Stars,” and “Variable Stars” divisions, while holding appointments as professor at four American universities and two international universities, in addition to his current appointment at the Catholic University of America. Professional honors and recognitions include the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement, the Federal Design Achievement Award and U.S. Presidential Award for Design Excellence, and the National Space Club Science Award, among others.

Kondo, who holds a Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of Pennsylvania, has co-edited numerous scientific volumes in addition to publishing more than half a dozen science fiction books under his pen name Kotani. His work as a science fiction author earned him the prestigious Isaac Asimov Memorial Award in 2002.

For additional information, contact Emeritus Associate Professor of Physics Raymond Wilson at or (309) 452-3069.

Contact: Teresa A. Sherman ’09, (309) 556-3181