Author Archives: Andrew Specian

2004 Dr. Rebecca Mercuri

Dr Rebecca Mercuri”Computers, Public Policy and You”

Dr. Rebecca Mercuri became an overnight national celebrity in the center of a media frenzy when the U.S. Presidential election ended in a dead heat in November 2000. A few weeks earlier, she had successfully defended her Doctoral Dissertation “Electronic Vote Tabulation: Checks and Balances” at the University of Pennsylvania, and then found herself defending the Democratic Recount Committee in the now-legendary Bush v. Gore case working its way through the court system. Her testimony was presented to the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and referenced in the briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court. Since then, she has provided formal testimony on voting systems to the House Science Committee, Federal Election Commission and the U.K. Cabinet, has been quoted in the U.S. Congressional Record, and has played a direct role in municipal, state, federal, and international legislative initiatives. Rebecca’s comments on election technology are frequently cited by the media, and she authors the quarterly “Security Watch” column in the Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery. She is currently at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, as a research fellow in their Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Dr. Mercuri is also a popular TCF lecturer and long-time attendee.

2005 Dr. Brian Kernighan

Dr Brian Kernighan”Computers: What Matters, and Why”

Brian Kernighan received his BASc from the University of Toronto in 1964 and a PhD in electrical engineering from Princeton University in 1969. He was a member of the Computing Science Research center at Bell Labs until 2000, and is now a professor in the Computer Science Department at Princeton. He is the author of 8 books (including the well known “white book” on C with Dennis Ritchie) and some technical papers, and holds 4 patents. Brian’s research areas include programming languages, tools and interfaces that make computers easier to use, often for non-specialist users. He is also interested i

2006 Dr. Gregory Olsen, Ph.D.


Dr Gregory Olsen, Ph.D.
“Experiences of the third private citizen to orbit the earth”Gregory Olsen, born in Brooklyn, New York, was the son of a IBEW Local 3 electrician. He graduated from Ridgefield Park High School, Ridgefield Park, New Jersey in 1962. After being written off as a failure by teachers due to poor grades in high school, Gregory Olsen planned to join the United States Army until he was counseled to try college for several months. Through an IBEW Local 3 scholarship, Olsen attempted college, kept his grades high, and graduated magna cum laude with multiple degrees from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He later graduated with a PhD from the University of Virginia.

He is an American entrepreneur and scientist who in October 2005 became the third private citizen to make a paid trip into space. He is the co-founder and present chairman of Sensors Unlimited Inc., a company developing optoelectronic devices such as sensitive near-infrared (NIR) and shortwave-infrared (SWIR) cameras. One of Sensors Unlimited’s major customers is NASA.