2024 Keynote Speaker Diana Gabaldon
Lowell Observatory is thrilled to announce the keynote speaker of the 2024 I Heart Pluto Festival’s Night of Discovery event: Diana Gabaldon, a celebrated and award-winning author and great-granddaughter of Stanley Sykes, a pivotal figure in Lowell’s history.
Diana Gabaldon, renowned for her incredibly successful “Outlander” series, which also inspired a hit television series on Starz, will share her insights and perhaps reflect on this unique familial connection, bridging her creative world with the scientific heritage of her great-grandfather, Stanley Sykes. In addition to helping build the famous Clark dome at Lowell Observatory, Sykes also designed the telescope that led to the historic discovery of Pluto in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh.
Leading the interview will be Melissa Sevigny, science writer for KNAU and fellow author. Following their discussion, fans will have the opportunity to meet both Gabaldon and Sevigny during a book-signing session.
Kevin Schindler, Lowell Historian and Public Information Officer, and host of the Night of Discovery event, says: “We are beyond thrilled to welcome Diana Gabaldon as our keynote speaker. Her ability to weave science and history into enthralling narratives aligns perfectly with the spirit of discovery that Clyde Tombaugh embodied when he first glimpsed Pluto here at Lowell. This event is not just a celebration of Pluto’s discovery; it’s a journey through science and imagination – a true Night of Discovery.”
To start off the Night of Discovery event, sponsored by Unisource Energy Services, Kevin Schindler will take the audience through the day that Pluto was discovered by 23-year-old self-taught astronomer Clyde Tombaugh. This will be followed by Gabledon’s keynote presentation, which will pertain to her mission to bridge science, history, and awe through her writing.