David is currently on tour for his new book, "Super Stars: The Biggest, Hottest, Brightest, Most Explosive Stars in the Milky Way." An astrophysicist as well as a skilled artist and model maker, the art in the book of alien moonscapes and close-ups of stars is all done by David using photoshop and models he made out of foam core and spare bits and bobs you'd find around the house or in a model airplane kit.
You want to know what Betelgeuse really looks like? "Super Stars" shows you. The back of the book contains constellation maps that call out where particular stars are within a constellation in a way that is clearer than most other astronomy books, too.
David started his school presentations talking about what interested him as a kid, so David's slide shows NOT ONLY include very cool sound effects, but clips of B movies from the Fifties. From an early age, David was encouraged to make something out of nothing. He wanted a telescope, so he went to the library, found a book about how to make one out of everyday materials and a passion for science and astronomy was born. This can do attitude has served him well. Inspiring stuff.
Also -- do you know how cool it was to see his step-by-step process of making star art and ufo models? Using a program most kids have access to, and materials you could find in your garage or garbage can? Very cool, is the answer. His message to kids wasn't just about how great The Universe is, but the UNIVERSE. Life is fun, pay attention to what makes you happy and try to do as much of that as you can. For David right now, that is astronomy, but he has a pretty interesting past, too.
Though he currently works as the Director of Public Affairs and Science Information at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, before that he was a marine biologist and lead singer for the band The Chocolate Watch Band (opening for The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, and Jimmy Page among others.) He now leads educational tours for the Smithsonian taking people to Hawaii, Arizona, Chile, or Italy. You can bet those tours are a hoot.
In a few weeks, David is going to New York to work on his new Discovery Channel show about what would happen if aliens landed on Earth (probably not anything awesome for humans.) He ended his school talks by sharing the first page of the script for that show. I know we are all waiting to find out what happens on page two!
David's other books: