2022 RG Speakers

Bringing Columbia Home: The Untold Story of a Lost Space Shuttle and Her Crew

On February 1, 2003 the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated during re-entry over the skies of East Texas. NASA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and more than 200 other organizations, plus thousands of volunteers, leapt into action to find the remains of Columbia’s crew. The recovery effort became the largest land search-and-recovery operation in US history, as 25,000 people walked every square foot of Columbia’s 250- by 10-mile debris field to search for pieces of wreckage that would identify the cause of the accident, so that NASA could return the Shuttle fleet to flight. Jonathan Ward spent several years interviewing people ranging from the NASA Administrator, to astronauts who led the search for their comrades, to the everyday people of Deep East Texas who volunteered selflessly of their time and talents, to the engineers who reconstructed Columbia’s debris and definitively proved how the accident happened. Jonathan wrote a book, “Bringing Columbia Home,” about the accident with NASA Launch Director Mike Leinbach, who led the debris reconstruction effort. It’s a moving and fascinating story. There is a feature film in development based on the book!

Jonathan H. Ward is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and a NASA Solar System Ambassador. He has written four books about the US space program, most recently collaborating with Col. Eileen Collins on her memoirs, “Through the Glass Ceiling to the Stars: The Story of the First American Woman to Command a Space Mission.” Jonathan frequently serves as a Resident Astronomer and guest lecturer on Viking and Cunard ocean cruises. Jonathan is president of the astronomy club in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Capturing Chondrites aka Asteroid Mining

Richard Graham will discuss The History and Future Prospects of Prospecting.

Baby Making

Richard will talk about plotting a course for the Brightest future (how to optimally produce intelligence in the next generation(s)).

Richard Graham spent a half decade studying the stock market and making bets. He is now almost entirely obsessed with fitness and works on ideas for inventions and products. He enjoys attending conventions on all sorts of topics. He aims to live a low consumption low waste life. Richard is a member of Thomas Jefferson Mensa but frequents many of CBR Mensa’s activities.


Bruce Holland is a member of Central South Carolina Mensa, Intertel, and ISPE. He has been hosting a monthly trivia contest for the past 16 years and is hosting Trivia on Friday night at the RG. In his spare time over a twelve year period, he wrote a book, “The Pavilion”.


Ken Heptig will lead Yoga on Saturday and Sunday mornings. He has been practicing yoga for over 20 years and is the Director of GoalYoga School which trains and certifies Yoga Teachers. He has published 7 books on yoga, including “Yoga Secrets: 52 Life-Changing Secrets: Calm Your Pain, Stress, and Anxiety and Find More Energy, Happiness, and Meaning in Your Life.”

Measuring Cybersecurity – How to quantify the intangible

Dr. Jack Freund is an expert in IT risk management specializing in analyzing and communicating complex IT risk scenarios in plain language to business executives. He currently leads a team of risk analysts at TIAA-CREF. Jack has over 16 years in IT and technology. He is a member of CBR Mensa.

Jack is introducing people to cyber risk quantification by applying measurement science and the international risk standard FAIR (the subject of his award-winning book). He reviews the problems with traditional risk assessment methods using verbal labels (high, medium, low) and ordinal scales (Likert, e.g. 1-5). Jack introduces range-based estimating, equivalent bet theory, and the Monte Carlo method to solve difficult-to-quantify problems like those that exist in cyber security. Topics he discusses include how to correctly identify a risk scenario, decompose risk categories to scenarios, connect scenarios to organizational priorities, deal with missing, failed, or broken controls, and audit findings. Jack’s measurement techniques can also be used in everyday life to help estimate time, reputational impact, quality, and other things that are difficult to measure precisely.

Knowledge Ark

A knowledge ark is a collection of knowledge preserved in such a way that future generations would have access to said knowledge if all other copies of it were lost. A knowledge ark would have to be resistant to the effects of natural or man-made disasters in order to be viable. Such an ark should include, but would not be limited to, information or material relevant to the survival and prosperity of human civilization. Freya Harris will discuss the need for a Knowledge Ark, how it should be constructed, and what information should be included. Freya is a member of Mensa in Georgia.

Interstellar Travel

Jack Howard is a Solar System Ambassador as part of the NASA’s public outreach and education programs. He first became interested in astronomy and space exploration when Sputnik was launched, Echo I crossed the night sky, and the race to the Moon began. He earned a BS in physics and math at King College and a master’s degree in astronomy from James Cook University. In 2000, he started the astronomy program at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College in North Carolina, where he teaches physics and astronomy. His main interests are solar system exploration, exoplanet research, human space flight, and cosmology. Jack is a member of CBR Mensa.

Cuba: A Charming Enigma

Cuba has always fascinated U. S. travelers, particularly when it was off limits. Many restrictions on visiting Cuba have now been lessened, so it is possible to visit one of the U.S.’s closest neighbors. Sharing his pictures of Cuba, Maxwell Mowry will describe his 2019 visit, from the frustrations of dealing with a communist infrastructure to the friendliness of the people.

Maxwell joined Mensa in 1980, a member of Coastal Carolina Mensa. He has spoken at RGs, AGs, and WGs on topics as varied as French history and Southern literature.  Since retiring after a 44-year career of teaching Spanish, he has renewed his passion for international travel. At last count he has a lifetime total of having visited 60 countries from the smallest (Vatican City) to the largest (Russia).

How to Survive an Eye Exam

Join Dr. Debbie Hettler on an ocular journey! Debbie is an eye doctor who is excited to explain the specifics of (1) why certain testing is done during an eye examination, (2) what those tests mean as well, as well as (3) how to best prepare for an eye exam as a patient. What questions should you ask, what should you bring with you, how should you prepare and what should you expect during a good examination? What is it that the doctor is seeing when they shine all those annoying bright lights into your eyes?  Why are they asking those stupid questions? Why should you bother going through all of this and how often?  Which symptoms merit more frequent exams?

Dr. Debbie Hettler holds a B.S and O.D from The Ohio State University College of Optometry and an MPH from University of Illinois. Her professional professional practice experience includes optometric education, clinical practice in HMO’s, and the VA as well as quality assurance activities. She has also worked in Washington DC as the Clinical Director, Associated Health Education in the Office of Academic Affiliations with rotations through the IRS and as a Presidential Management Council Cohort member.   She is currently a Clinical Optometrist for the VA in Daytona Beach Florida. She has over 100 scientific presentations including such topics as clinical techniques, ocular disease, public health issues, contact lenses, and managed care, and authored articles published concerning public health primary care  coordination and ocular disease topics. She is a member of Central Florida Mensa.

Afterlife in Dungeons and Dragons Cosmology

What if the afterlife had more destinations than just Heaven and Hell?  The D&D game’s afterlife has many destinations, some with classical roots but others with non-Western origins, that evolved from the game designers’ visions based on the game’s needs and mechanics.

 Doug Barron is widely known in Mensa circles as “Jolie Elder’s husband.”  He has played Dungeons & Dragons since at least 1980 and has a layperson’s interest in classics and mythology.  He pays the bills by being an engineer of fortune, working in at least nine different disciplines in airplane engineering and testing.

The Methodologies of Serial Killers

We often take a look into the minds of serial killers. As a forensic technician, Mark has looked into the methodologies of serial killers. We have studied WHY they kill, so let’s look into the commonalities that help us identify and catch serial killers.

Mark Mynhier is an Air Force Veteran and a retired forensic technician. He is a member of Central South Carolina Mensa.

Joke Off

Bob Maier is a member of Charlotte/Blue Ridge Mensa and a semi-professional humorist. He is originally from Toledo, Ohio and graduated from the university of Toledo in 1973 with a BS Double Major in Mathematics and Philosophy.  He is a local stand up comedian and a former member of The Charlotte Comedy Theatre’s improv troupe.