Session Descriptions

Click on each presenter’s name to be taken to their biography.

Busting 101

802 Ghostbusters

A look at the cult classic Ghostbusters film franchise, materials, and prop building.

So You Want to Build a TOS Tricorder?

Brian Mix

Maybe you’ve seen Brian Mix on Adam Savage’s Tested showing off his “working tricorder.” Join him as he walks you through how he did it, and his meager beginnings as a prop maker back in the dark ages of fandom. Yes, you can build one too! Brian on Tested: 

How Long Until Lt. Cmdr. Data? A Look at AI

Professor Matthew Szydagis

Artificial intelligence (AI) of decent quality seems to finally be upon us, after decades of waiting, through the advent of advanced chatbots such as ChatGPT, but many individuals, including AI experts, have sounded the alarm recently about the possible downsides of powerful AI.

I’ll explain in my talk the difference between software-only and mobile-hardware-based AI (i.e. robots and androids), weak or narrow and strong AI, and the top-down versus bottom-up approaches, with the latter including neural networks, and machine learning in general. We will also review why strong or broad AI is such a challenging problem, taking humanity so long to achieve, and discuss positive/negative examples from ChatGPT and similar programs by competitors, from the perspective of a physicist, who has used AI in very different contexts (e.g., particle identification).

The talk will conclude with a discussion of how long it may take to marry good software with flexible hardware, including quantum computer and hypercomputer (non-Turing-machine) examples, to create something/someone(!) akin to TNG/Picard’s Commander Data, a personal hero of the speaker’s, who is recognizable and recognized as a fully sentient being, comparable to humans.

It’s a Collector’s World!

Joey Gates

No matter which fandom you are into, Joey knows the ins and outs of its merchandise and toys. Which ones can you open and play with, and which ones should stay pristine? Spoiler alert – you buy two! One to play with and one to keep! 🙂

Cosplay 101

Andrew Liptak

Cosplay and costuming have long been a pillar of science fiction fandom. Andrew Liptak, author of Cosplay: A History, will talk about the role that Star Trek played in the evolution of the activity, and how it helped propel it into a mainstream phenomenon.

Overview of Artemis

Dr. David Alexander

NASA Principal Medical Officer for the Gateway/Moon to Mars Program Dr. David Alexander walks us through the Artemis Program and its goals of exploring the Moon for scientific discovery, technological advancement, and learning how to live and work on another world as we prepare for human missions to Mars.

A Multiverse Hierarchy

Dr. Ronald Held

We will be discussing different levels of a potential multiverse.

3 Hirogen in the Forest: The Fermi Paradox and Aliens

Dr. Kevin H. Knuth

Dr. Matthew Szydagis

The popular TV show 3 Body Problem has brought the Fermi paradox and the dark forest hypothesis into the public eye. Drs Szydagis and Knuth explore and explain the possibilities of malevolent aliens and why we might need to stay quiet and hide!!!!!

Using AI to Characterize Planets Orbiting Other Stars (Exoplanets)

Dr. Kevin H. Knuth

The fields of astronomy and astrophysics are engaged in an unprecedented era of discovery as recent missions have revealed thousands of planets (exoplanets) orbiting other stars. Efforts are currently underway to characterize them, meaning that for the first time in history we are discovering what the population of planets in the universe, is really like!

We will discuss how machine learning (AI) is being used to learn the nature of these planets. In addition, we will discuss how NASA’s climate models ae being used to train a new AI system to tell us what these planets are like based on atmospheric spectra recorded by the James Webb Space Telescope

Star Trek Thunderdome: 2 Episodes Enter 1 Episode Leaves!

Phil Merkel

I have a special place in my heart for the classic Trek episode The Corbomite Maneuver. Sometimes I feel Star Trek fulfilled its mission to show us what the future could be with how this story played out. Between the drama of Bailey freaking out on the bridge, Kirks calm gamesmanship and Spock’s curiosity this was a moment in TV history where we truly boldly went where no man had gone before and discovered strange new worlds.

How does this hold up against Balance of Terror, an episode loosely based on the 1957 film, The Enemy Below which speaks to the nation’s history in World War II and comments on the current Vietnam War? Each story delivers profound and thoughtful themes perfect for the times they first aired. How do they work today, which do you think best represents Star Trek today. Do you find one better than the other in terms of themes and ideas, drama and excitement. Attendees are welcome to discuss, argue, agree and disagree with me during the course of the discussion. This is a safe space so all opinions will be welcome.

Nick of Time… After Time. A look at Nick Meyer’s Films

Bill Latham

Bill takes a look at writer/director Nicholas Meyer, whose work includes Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

Star Trek: The Undiscovered Covers

Phil Merkel

In the 1970s I stood in front of the Science Fiction section at Walden Books in Tower Plaza Phoenix Arizona and was struck by the amazing original artwork that accompanied the James Blish episode novelizations of the original trek books. After a while I’d check the price of the blueprints and tech manuals and count the days to my birthday or Christmas and wonder if I’d manage to get them this year.

Now, 50 years later I own all the books but the one empty spot in my Star Trek life is what were those Star Trek stories painted on the cover about? What was happening when the Enterprise flew past that wrecked ship or why was that crewman standing on the planet looking up at the Enterprise?

So today I thought I ask the attendees of this panel to write a brief outline describing whats happening on that unwritten story of that old cover. We’ll go around the room when we’re done and describe (or maybe pitch it like a movie or episode!) what YOU think is happening in that story, that Undiscovered Star Trek and share it with the room. Of course, reading your outline will be optional if you feel shy but understand we’re making a safe space, and all ideas will be heard with open minds. Paper and pencils will be provided, and copies of the artwork will be available either to bring back to your seats (print outs) or projected. Artwork will be any of the classic book series covers that were original paintings, not photos of the episode, we’ll include the artwork from the original New Voyages book series from the mid 1970s. Write as many outlines as you like or just concentrate on one depending on how quickly you want to work. We’ll spend a few minutes at the beginning describing the exercise then about 15 – 20 minutes writing (Less if everyone finishes quickly) and then share the ideas with the room. Who knows, maybe you can submit this outline to one of the current Star Trek streamers out there!


Roy Bjellquist

Please join Roy Bjellquist from “Roy’s Tie-Dye Sci-Fi Corner” as he discusses the Spectacular 1970’s Science Fiction series, Space:1999. Discussion will center around the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the series, as well as the upcoming documentary by Jeffrey Morris, “The Eagle Obsession”.


Roy Bjellquist

Please join Roy Biellquist from “Roy’s Tie-Dye Sci-Fi Corner” as he takes a nostalgic look back at “Star Trek” of the 1960’s, which will be celebrating its 60th Anniversary this November, with the production of “The Cage”. The discussion will also focus on the episodes of that era and how they have endured till this day into 2024.

Name That Tune!

Phil Merkel

A repeat of the hugely popular game show of Trekonderoga 2021 with different (And easier!) songs to guess. Presented at Phil’s booth on the vendor floor, during open vendor hours.

Gaffing 101: the Genius of Gerald Finnerman

Kent Schmidt

Kent Schmidt explains lighting on sets and shows us the subtle and beautiful lighting techniques of Gerald Finnerman. He will let you know what to look for as you watch the show!

Star Trek Enterprise: It’s been a long road…

Jim Yager “Uncle Jim”

Let’s talk Enterprise, launched on UPN in 2001, it ran until 2005, does it really deserve all the bad press?

Star Trek then and now

Jim Yager “Uncle Jim”

Star Trek aired on NBC on September 8, 1966, since that time there have been 11 Star Trek shows, with more on the way. What a journey it’s been, and things have changed a lot, let’s discuss.

Open Round Table on ALL Things Trek

Michael Rizzo

Mike Rizzo hosts his popular and funny round table on all things Trek! From The Original Series to Strange New Worlds, he explores it all with you. Join in the conversation, everyone is welcome, and see where it takes you!

Cosplay Contest

Join in the fun and show off your best cosplay costume work! We keep it positive, laid back, and FUN!!! Skits and songs are welcome, and everyone gets a prize!!!! Show off your costume or just come to watch the show.