Marianne Dyson's Author Visits
Whether you’re looking for a role model for female students, a scientist to run a STEM workshop, or a speaker with some unique stories, please consider an author visit. I offer programs appropriate for school-aged children up through senior citizens, as well as science workshops for students and teachers.
Mission Control: Solving Problems in Realtime Presentation
How did a girl from Canton, Ohio became one of the first female flight controllers for NASA? What do flight controllers really DO? Historical anecdotes exemplify both the humorous and serious aspects of preparing for Space Shuttle flights, dealing with multiple system failures and sick crewmembers, fighting the “glass ceiling” at NASA, and juggling work and family. Note, a more technical “lessons learned” version of this talk is available for aerospace/NASA audiences.
Duration: one hour. Audience: grade 8 & up.
Author will provide a model of the space shuttle and historical artifacts for display.
Fee: $300 for one presentation, $500 for two, or $900 for four. Hosts are offered 20 percent discount on autographed copies of all books preordered. Travel expenses* are charged separately.
Your Future Space Presentation
What role will space play in your future? Using PowerPoint displays and a scale model of the International Space Station, the author brings audiences up to date on what is happening in the world of human space exploration. Interactive demonstrations counter misconceptions about gravity and allow attendees to briefly experience what it is like to go into space. Students and adults alike may want to reconsider their future career and vacation plans once they learn of the exciting opportunities offered by the emerging commercial space era.
Duration: one hour. Audience: all ages.
Fees: $300 for one presentation, $500 for two, or $900 for four. Hosts are offered 20 percent discount on autographed copies of all books preordered. Travel expenses* are charged separately.
Sky Explorers Tour Presentation
Your tour starts on Earth, stops at the International Space Station, visits the Apollo landing sites on the Moon, and then makes quick stops at each of the planets (and a few dwarfs) before heading out to the nearby stars and our sister galaxy. Audiences learn why Galileo should have worn sunglasses, Mercury is fast, Venus breaks cameras, the Moon has no dark side, Jupiter is king, planets don't twinkle, the 13 (yes, 13) signs of the zodiac, and what mythological animals are in view tonight. A current star chart is supplied that host may copy for attendees to take home.
Duration: one hour. Audience: all ages.
Weather and schedule permitting, presentation can be followed by a 15-30 minute trip outdoors to observe the Moon and/or night sky (with the telling of a few tall tales). This option is a fun activity "after hours" at conventions.
Fees: $300 for one evening/weekend/after-school presentation, $500 for two, or $900 for four during the school/work day. Hosts are offered 20 percent discount on autographed copies of all books preordered. Travel expenses* are charged separately,
For Houston area only, with lead time to reserve the portable planetarium from the Lunar and Planetary Institute, I can take kids on a tour of the night sky and share constellation stories, one class at a time. The planetarium will not fit in a standard classroom! A stage or gym area with a high ceiling is required, and an hour plus custodial help to set it up and pack it afterwards. Students required to bring coat or pillow to lay on.
Duration: 45-60 minutes. Audience: grades 4-8.
Fees: $900 for four classes of about 20 each during one school day. Second day is $500. Hosts are offered 20 percent discount on autographed copies of all books preordered. Travel expenses* are charged separately.
Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workshops reinforce concepts and practice math skills. Activities taken from my books were tested by either Scholastic or National Geographic consultants. Others were developed by me for use teaching astronomy to gifted kids in the Clear Creek Independent School District’s WAVE program.
Space Science Workshop
This workshop follows the format of a simulated space flight with a launch, orbit and landing phase. During the course of the workshop, eight questions are answered via activities: 1) Why does everything float in space? 2) What does it feel like to go into space? 3) What’s different about meals in space? 4) How do you weigh a weightless rat? 5) How does fire behave in space? 6) How do you pick things up in space? 7) How do you return from space? and 8) Why does it seem heavier things fall faster?
Duration is 3 hours with a short break in the middle. (Duration can be shortened a half hour by completing some activities at home using supplies/directions provided.) For student workshops, teacher must help supervise students. Max of two workshops/day with an hour break between workshops for reset and lunch.
Audience: Maximum 20 students in grades 4 to 8, or teachers of those grades.
Fee: $600 for one workshop or $900 for two plus $5/person supply fee. Host must provide water, copies of handouts, scissors, tape, and markers. Hosts are offered 20 percent discount on autographed copies of all books preordered. Travel expenses* charged separately.
This workshop has participants compare living conditions on the Earth, the Moon, or on Mars in the future. It stresses scale modeling. Younger students can “assemble” models from parts precut or measured for them ahead of time while older students or adults can measure and make models using diameter, circumference, volume, distance/time, mass, and gravity data. Demonstration version takes about 2 hours, and Hands-On takes about 4 hours for adults, and longer for kids. This workshop can be followed by the Living Solar System for a full day of teacher inservice.
The workshop answers the following questions: 1) Where did the Apollo missions land? 2) How do the Earth, Moon, and Mars compare by diameter? 3) How far away is the Moon? 4) How far away is Mars? 5) Why is everything weightless in space? 6) How do the Earth, Moon, and Mars compare by volume and mass? 7) How much do things weigh on Earth, the Moon, and Mars? 8) How high/far can you jump on Earth, the Moon, and Mars? 9) Why are modules round in space? and 10) How might someone prove they were really on Mars?
Duration is 3 hours. (Duration can be shortened a half hour by completing some activities at home using supplies/directions provided.) For student workshops, at least one teacher or parent must be available to help supervise students. Max of two workshops/day with an hour break between workshops for reset and lunch.
Audience: Maximum 20 students in grades 4 to 8, or teachers of those grades.
Fee: $600 for one workshop or $900 for two plus $10/person supply fee. Host must provide water, copies of handouts, scissors, tape, rulers, calculators, and markers. Hosts are offered 20 percent discount on autographed copies of all books preordered. Travel expenses* charged separately.
Living Solar System Workshop
Participants create a solar system “May pole” with strings stretched from the sun at the center to cutouts of the planets (and major moons and dwarf worlds) to scale. They then walk the orbit of their assigned world and see for themselves how the worlds move relative to one another.
Duration: 1.5 to 3 hours. This workshop takes 90 minutes using author’s premade parts, 2 hours for a class to make one solar system (each participant assigned a planet) and use it, or 3 hours for teachers to make a complete set to take home and practice using it. Activity requires a gym, hotel ballroom, or unobstructed sports field or parking lot with enough room for a 40-foot diameter solar system. Max of 3 workshops/day with 30 to 60-minute break between workshops.
Audience: Maximum 24 participants in grades 4 to 8, or teachers of those grades.
Fee: $400 (90-minute) to $600 (2-3 hour) per workshop, or $900 for three short or two longer workshops. For teacher workshops, there's an additional supply fee of $5/person. Host must supply scissors, tape, and markers for each participant. Hosts are offered 20 percent discount on autographed copies of all books preordered. Travel expenses* charged separately.
Skype/Google Hangout Book Discussions
I'm happy to do 30 to 45-minute question and answer sessions on topics from my Science Snacks blog or covered in my books or short stories (basically anything to do with human space exploration!). I do not do STEM workshops remotely.
Audience: Adults or students grades 4 and up.
Fee: $50/half hour between 10 AM and 10 PM Central time M-F. Add $25 extra for weekends or earlier/later times.
Panel Participant/Tour GuideInvite me to be on panels at conventions and book festivals near Houston or Northern Ohio (where I travel often to visit family) or add insider stories to your tour of Johnson Space Center. I'll say yes if there's no cost to me and the event benefits my friends, an organization I care about, or would be so much fun I can’t say no.
Audience: All ages.
Fee: $50-$300 or equivalent in book sales/meals/donations to charity depending on time commitment.
Book SalesI offer 20 percent off (and free shipping because I bring the books with me!) on all preorders of autographed books in conjunction with an author visit. Because I have multiple titles and books are heavy, I can only bring a few copies of each book beyond the preordered copies to offer for sale at events. (Please don’t ask me to speak in exchange for an opportunity to sell books!) Contact me for preorder forms and instructions.
If preorders are not feasible, and your attendees will want copies at the event, please suggest a nearby Barnes & Noble or Independent Bookseller that I can contact to arrange books for your event. Another option, especially in Texas, is to set up a book fair with Southwest Book Company.
*Travel ExpensesI do not charge travel expenses for places I can drive to in less than an hour, i.e. venues in Houston/Clear Lake or near Canton, Ohio, unless no honorarium is offered (such as for a charity event). Then I charge the standard IRS mileage rate which is about a dollar per one-way mile.
Travel expenses include airfare, hotel, rental car or taxi, and airport or hotel parking fees. I do not charge for meals during travel, but expect hotels to provide breakfast and hosts to provide food during events. I generally make my own arrangements to take advantage of travel club discounts, but I’m willing to stay at people’s homes (I don’t smoke and I love cats) and be driven around by volunteers to reduce costs.
To Book an Appearance, Contact Marianne Dyson.
Radio interview, "From the Houston Spaceflight Center to Mars; the Journey of Marianne Dyson," aired 3-22-16 on MSONEWSSPORTS.com.
Feature article by Brian Albrecht appeared in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, on 1-31-16 & 2-1-16.
On Irish radio show Futureproof hosts Lara Dungan, Ian Brunswick, and I discussed the movie, The Martian. My segment is 15 minutes in.
I was on NPR "To the Point" 7-08-11 hosted by Warren Olney about the impact of the last Space Shuttle Flight. The entire show is available. My part starts about 14 minutes in, so I broke it up into four WMA files in order: Me & Architect Thom Mayne, Mayne & Astronomer Jonathan McDowell, and Me & McDowell.
I moderated "The Future of the ISS" for the National Space Society on 5-30-08. Watch the CSPAN broadcast on the NSS Web site.
As part of NASA's 50th anniversary, I was on The Space Show with Dr. David Livingston on 11-11-08, to discuss the first Shuttle flights.
I was interviewed by Cynthia Smith about winning the 2000 SCBWI Golden Kite Award.
2016Rice University Sally Ride Science Festival.
Dallas Frontiers of Flight Museum hosted STEM camp for middle-school girls.
2015Buzz Aldrin & I signed Welcome to Mars at Kennedy Space Center.
2014At Freeman Library with Cindy Price and Astronaut Jerry Ross
2013I sold my first copy of The Callahan Kids (left) at the Seabrook Library's Authors & Ice Cream event in July.
2012I was a featured author at the East Texas Book Festival in Tyler, Texas in September.
2011I toured the solar system with a capacity crowd at Freeman Memorial Library in Clear Lake in July.
Bay City librarian Andrea Savage poses with me and (L to R) DeAsia Abbott, Jynesis Battle, Taniya Abbott, Sami Simons, and Kati Simons after my "Tour the Solar System" presentation.
2009Harvard Elementary third graders compare the sizes of the planets in December.
Me and Great Day Houston host, Debra Duncan, on the set 6-10-09.
Me and former astronaut, Dr. Rhea Seddon, spoke at the annual Butterfly Luncheon in April.
I moderated an Apollo 8, 40th anniversary event in December at JSC.
Briargrove Elementary kids amazed me.
Maegden Elementary students provided a warm welcome.
School visit in Taiwan!