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Future Con Returns to Awesome Con Highlighting the Science in Science Fiction

The Smithsonian magazine Future Con returns as part of the region’s premier comic and pop culture convention, Awesome ConFriday, April 26 – Sunday, April 28 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Scientists and entertainers will come together at the themed pavilion and on stage to connect science and technology with science fiction and fantasy. Future Conpresents three days of special programming that will include tech demos, meet-and-greet opportunities with prolific thought leaders and the opportunity to dive into the stimulating and fantastical overlaps between real-world science and the science of the future. Attendees of all ages will be able to engage at panel Q&As and discussions as well as hands-on tech demos and workshops, all focused on fostering awareness and enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Awesome Con, now in its seventh year, is thrilled to welcome a range of leaders and experts from organizations that represent scientific advancement and education across numerous industries. Representatives from the National Science Foundation, National Geographic, NASA Goddard Space and Flight Center, APS Physics, Nova Labs, Central Intelligence Agency, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science will lead programs and workshops throughout the weekend.

Among highlights of this year’s Future Con programming, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine will join commercial space leaders for a discussion of exciting new developments at NASA and in the growing space industry.

Image Credit: NASA

Guests can explore space with Dr. Erin Macdonald, who will guide a panel dubbed Astronomy 101, blazing through the science of planets, the solar system and stars. Looking to dive a little deeper? Dr. Macdonald will explore the science of gravitational waves, the collision of black holes and a neutron star merger with fun stories and a conversation about what these discoveries mean as we move forward.

Image Credit: Dr. Erin Macdonald

The Central Intelligence Agency will demystify the Agency in several sessions that showcase intelligence work. Guests will work through actual operations officer tests, hear about the U-2 and A-12 spy planes and Area 51, the testing site that made them famous, and will learn how eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes contributed to one of the most audacious CIA missions of the Cold War. And, in the grand tradition of Madam Pince in Harry Potter, Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Dr. Barbara Gordon in Batman, the curious can learn what it is like to be a librarian working in espionage and why some heroes wear cardigans.

Image Credit: Central Intelligence Agency
Image Credit: Central Intelligence Agency

As true crime gains a mainstream following in the US, Future Con will explore technological advancements in criminal investigation, and the fight against the same technology being used in sinister ways. U.S. intelligence experts focused on digital and physical 3D modeling will demonstrate tools used on national security missions, including imagery and geospatial information used to visualize human activities that occur on the surface of the Earth.

Future Con will also explore the possible realities that exist in popular comics as well. Two panels will highlight the science of Voltron: Legendary Defender, and Aquaman. Attendees will learn about wormholes, crystals, the future of flight, life in the extremes of the deep ocean, and bio-inspired technologies that could one day allow humans to take on superhero abilities.

Future Con takes place Friday, April 26 – Sunday, April 28 inside this year’s Awesome Con, and no separate ticket is needed to attend Future Con events—admission to Awesome Con includes access to Future Con’s speakers, exhibits, and events.

Awesome Con Reveals its Programming Schedule

Awesome Con, Washington DC’s Comic Con powered by Third Eye Comics, has announced three days of programming complete with panels, workshops, celebrity appearances, and more, taking over the Walter E. Washington Convention Center from April 26-28.

Family-friendly pavilion Awesome Con Jr presented by the Toy Association returns with even more events planned to educate and entertain kids of all ages and parents alike. Smithsonian is partnering with Awesome Con once again to present Future Con, a science pavilion showcasing the intersection between science and science fiction with live demonstrations and experts discussing everything from space exploration to spy technology, and more. Back for the third year is Pride Alley presented in partnership with Geeks OUT and Washington Blade, shining a spotlight on LGBTQ creators and fans in an even more robust section of Artist Alley and presenting special programs addressing diversity in pop culture.

Highlights from Awesome Con 2019 include:

Celebrity & Comic Guests

Hear from some of the biggest influencers from the world of pop culture and comic books at panels, screenings, Q&As, and more. Main Stage events include:

  • Weird Al Q&A (2:30PM – April 26 – Main Stage)
  • Karate Kid Q&A (4:15PM – April 26—Main Stage)
  • The Office Q&A (6:00PM – April 26 – Main Stage)
  • Riverdale Q&A (11:45AM – April 27 – Main Stage)
  • Princess Bride Q&A (2:00PM – April 27 – Main Stage)
  • Star Trek: Next Generation Q&A (3:45PM – April 27 – Main Stage)
  • Matt Smith Q&A (11:45AM – April 28 – Main Stage) 
  • Weird Science Q&A (2:00PM – April 28 – Main Stage)

Future Con

  • Exploring the Future of Crime (11:00AM – April 27 – Room 150) – Technological advances have benefited our world in immeasurable ways—but there is an ominous flip side. Criminals are often the earliest, and most innovative, adopters of technology, and modern times have led to modern crimes. From big data to artificial intelligence and genetics to robotics, today’s criminals are at the forefront of the tsunami of technological threats coming our way. In this session, Marc Goodman, author of the New York Times best-selling book Future Crimes, rips opens his database of hundreds of real cases to give the audience front-row access to these impending perils. While many of the stories Goodman will tell sound like science fiction, they are indeed fully rooted in startling scientific facts. This discussion will raise raises tough questions about the expanding role of technology in our lives and propose a path forward to ensure we all benefit from humanity’s technological advances rather than become imperiled by them.
  • The Science of Voltron: Legendary Defender (5:00PM – April 26 – Room 144) – Come along, Paladins! The Voltron: Legendary Defender series has come to a close, so it’s time to explore some of the best science in the series. We’ll learn about wormholes, crystals, gluon fields, and much more while we discuss how much the series got right (and a few things they got wrong). Kids of all ages are welcome!
  • Science of Aquaman (7:00PM – April 26 – Room 144) – This panel will discuss the actual science behind Aquaman’s powers. He can communicate with marine life, is adapted to live and thrive in harsh underwater environments and has superhuman strength. All these abilities, including being able to “talk to fish,” as Batman would say, are rooted in science. Come learn about the incredible adaptations that allow life to thrive in the extremes of the deep ocean, the methods scientists use to study the undersea landscape, and the bio-inspired technologies being developed that could allow a human to effectively take on the abilities of Aquaman.
  • Germ Warfare: A Very Graphic History (12:00PM – April 27 – Room 146) – Join world-renowned author Max Brooks (World War Z) for a conversation about his newly-released graphic novel on the dangers posed by biological agents. Members of the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense will also be present to discuss the novel and its message about the threat of biological attacks and naturally occurring outbreaks in the 21st century.
  • Astronomy 101 Through Science Fiction (5:00pm – April 27 – Room 144) – Welcome to Astronomy 101! Always wanted to learn astronomy? Science Fiction fan? Dr Erin Macdonald will take us through the first semester of astronomy with hardly any math and a whole lot of science fiction references. We’ll blaze through the science of planets, the solar system, and stars at warp speed; come ready to learn!
  • Intelligence Super Models: 3D Modeling in the Intelligence Community (8:00pm – April 27 – Room 144) – Join U.S. Intelligence Community experts on digital and physical 3D modeling who will demonstrate and discuss their experiences impacting national security missions. 3D modelers will exhibit a variety of capabilities utilized by NGA and CIA across the 3D disciplines, including leveraging imagery and geospatial information to visualize human activities that occur on the Earth.
  • The Story and Science of Gravitational Waves (2:00pm – April 28 – Room 144) – In 2015 our quest to study and explore the universe took a giant leap forward with the discovery of gravitational waves. The LIGO Scientific Collaboration has detected ripples in spacetime from the collision of black holes as well as a neutron star merger that showed up in every spectrum possible. Dr Erin Macdonald (a former member of LIGO) will discuss the history behind the detection, share some fun stories, and what these discoveries mean for astrophysics going forward.

Awesome Con Jr

  • Monster Battle Time KO! (3:45PM – April 28 – Awesome Con Jr Stage) – Three teams of artists go head-to-head in the biggest Monster Battle Time of the season! This year there are three teams of stellar cartoonists to design your monsters and battle for ultimate artistic glory! Free comics to all attendees.
  • Dreamworks Screening (4:00PM – April 26 – Awesome Con Jr. Stage) – Dreamworks will surprise guests with a special feature screening.
  • Kids Costume Parade (12:00PM – April 27 | 12:00PM – April 28 – Awesome Con Jr Stage) – Awesome Con is excited to announce the Kids Costume Parade! Registration is limited to the first 30 kids (and their parents).
  • National Wildlife Federation Animal Show with Naturalist David Mizejewski (1:30PM – April 27 – Awesome Con Jr Stage) – An educational presentation of exotic animals from all over the world with a message about conservation.

Pride Alley

  • Fabulous Fictional Females (1:30PM – April 26 – Room 152) –  featuring a diverse panel of female writers, artists, and editors discussing the ‘Strong Female Character’ trope, breaking down what goes into telling a great story and sharing our professional experiences in the realms of comics, literature, and theater.
  • Gender in SFF Fiction: Women & Nonbinary Authors (2:30PM – April 26 – Room 152) – From the elusive Strong Female Protagonist to LGBTQ representation, and what an individual author’s responsibility is, this panel will explore what it means to be a female or nonbinary author in the male-dominated genre of sci-fi and fantasy fiction.
  • Diversity Amongst the Stars (4:30PM – April 26 – Room 144) –A celebration of the diverse characters we love and a discussion about how the galaxy has changed over the last few years and where we still hope it may go.
  • Strengthening Geek Culture (4:30PM – April 26 – Room 152) —A spotlight on queer creators and fans, Strengthening Geek Culture will unite the LGBTQ and allied creators attending Awesome Con through a panel celebrating the diversity and creativity of queer geekdom and LGBTQ contributions to pop culture. 
  • Exploring Gay & Lesbian Comic Creators (5:30PM – April 26 – Room 144) – This panel will explore some of the creators and their contributions to producing gay and lesbian comics and how they have influenced the mainstream comic industry to this day. Some of the creators that will be explored are Howard Cruse (Stuck Rubber Baby), Trina Robbins (Wimmen’s Comix), Alison Bechdel (Fun House), and Joe Phils (Joe Boys) to name a few.
  • Resistance, Feminism, & Fandom (6:30PM – April 26 – Room 144) – Science fiction is often a form of social commentary, and engaging with sci-fi fandom means voicing that commentary via social media. As women, people of color, and other LGBT+ participants who are quite visible in fandom during this charged era in American politics, we want to discuss our experiences speaking out on various social platforms even when it may not be the popular thing to do.
  • We ARE Gaymers! Be Proud! (11:30 AM – April 27 – Room 152) A discussion surrounding the collective identity of gamers, outside negative feedback, and how the community can response
  • Pro Wrestling Connection for Marginalized Fans (1:30PM — April 27 – Room 152) Centering women, non-binary, & LGBTQ+ voices in wrestling fandom-these fans have crucial perspectives to share. If you’ve never felt comfortable at a wrestling panel before, this one’s for you.
  • Crossplay 101 (2:30PM – April 27 – Room 152) – An introductory lecture about what crossplay is and educating how to crossplay safely.
  • Representation Matters, So Make It Good (4:30PM – April 27 – Room 152) Stories matter. More diverse media representation is incredibly important, but not all representation is created equal. The result of years of narrative research, this panel lays out a comprehensive and easy to follow guide to creating healthy and compelling queer characters and stories, with examples and suggestions across media and genres. 
  • The BLERD Panel (5:30PM – April 27 – Room 152) – Picking up where we left off last year, the BLERD Panel will give the black nerd state of the union with comedy, connection, and community!
  • Cositivity (12:30PM – April 28 – Room 152) – This panel is designed to be a safe space for cosplayers to discuss their experiences with cosplay. Mediated by the panelists, we will be sharing our experiences as well as opening the floor for others to discuss theirs.

Additional Programming Highlights:

  • Voice-a-Palooza (6:30Pm – April 26 – Room 146) – VIDEO GAME VOICE ACTORS BEHAVING BADLY. Join professional voice actors as they reinterpret movie scripts, poetry, songs and more in their character voices, read the craziest phrases that YOU provide in their character voices, and create an entirely new video game from YOUR suggestions. A Classic and a MUST NOT MISS.
  • Awesome Con Short Film Fest — Grabbing some popcorn, all your friends, and a seat, as Joe Carabeo (Award winning Director, Astray Productions President, Project Resolution Producer) brings the Awesome Con Short Film Festival to you! There will also be an exclusive filmmakers Q&A after the screenings afterwards moderated by TV host Molly Nevola.
    • Sci Fi / Action / Horror (2:00PM – April 26 – Room 101)
    • Awesome Con Short Film Fest – Comedy & Drama (12:00PM – April 27 – Room 101)
    • Awesome Con Short Film Fest – Documentaries & More (12:00PM – April 28 – Room 101
  • Helping Kids Understand the World Through Nonfiction, Fact-Based Fiction, and Real Science (1:00PM – April 28 – Room 150) – National Geographic Kids Editors talk about writing exciting non-fiction for kids, how to infuse your story with a good dose of real science, and how to keep ’em coming back for more of the good stuff: facts.
  • Very Secret, Very Cool, But Not Aliens: The U-2, the A-12, and Area 51 (5:00PM – April 26 – Room 140) – CIA historians will present the development, deployment, and capabilities of the CIA’s most famous spy planes, as well as the testing site the helped make famous.  Come learn about the U-2, the A-12 (and the vastly inferior SR-71), and Area 51.  Also, join a discussion of studies conducted by Gerald Haines about UFO sightings and the correlation with the operations conducted by these aircraft.
  • DC Celebrates 80 Years of Batman Comics (5:00pm – April 27 – Room 150) – Eighty years after his debut, Batman continues to be one of the most popular and iconic Super Heroes of all time. Meet some of the key players in the Dark Knight’s world who create and bring you the best Batman comics stories ever. Buckle up for an incredible ride in the Batmobile and hear what these creators have to say about one of your all-time favorite DC Super Heroes!
  • Some Heroes Wear Cardigans: Librarians at CIA (1:00PM – April 27 – Room 140) – Madam Pince in Harry Potter. Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Dr. Barbara Gordon in Batman. Librarians and libraries have been depicted in pop culture a variety of ways throughout the years, but are often portrayed as sidekicks. The librarians at CIA think differently. Come hear them talk about what it’s like to be a librarian working in espionage and discuss why they think some heroes wear cardigans.

Awesome Con returns to Washington, D.C. April 26 – April 28

The seventh annual Awesome Con by LeftField Media, will unite 80,000 fans of comics, technology and science, television and film, custom art, over-the-top cosplay, and more at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center from Friday, April 26 through Sunday, April 28, 2019. The convention floor and panel rooms will buzz with hundreds of hours’ worth of programs including: celebrities and experts hosting panels and exclusive reveals; cosplay fashion shows; gaming tournaments; iconic pop culture memorabilia collections; and as always, a diverse array of activities for the whole family.

Family-friendly pavilion Awesome Con Jr presented by the Toy Association returns with even more playful events planned to educate and entertain kids of all ages and parents alike. Smithsonian partners up with Awesome Con once again to present Future Con, a science pavilion showcasing the intersection between science and science fiction with tech demonstrations, experts discussing everything from dystopia to scientific advancement, and more. Back for the third year is Pride Alley presented in partnership with Geeks OUT and Washington Blade, shining a spotlight on LGBTQ creators and fans in an even more robust section of Artist Alley and presenting special programs discussing diversity in pop culture.

In addition to returning esteemed comics publishers such as DC Comics and Third Eye Comics, for the first time at Awesome Con, Dark Horse Comics, and Oni Press will be onsite. Attendees will have the opportunity to stop by their panels for special announcements and exclusives. 

With Awesome Con 2019 hosting more energetic programs, more globally recognized special guests, and presenting more exclusive previews and announcements to attendees than ever before, it continues to grow into a standout annual destination – and unite fans at one of the largest pop culture events in the country.

WHEN: Friday, April 26; exhibit hall hours 12pm – 8pm, programming until 10pm

Saturday, April 27; exhibit hall hours 10am – 7pm, programming until 10pm

Sunday, April 28; exhibit hall hours 10am – 5pm

WHERE:

Walter E. Washington Convention Center
801 Mt. Vernon Pl NW
Washington, DC 20001

SPECIAL GUESTS:

Screen Stars:

Comic Guests:          

  • Greg Capullo (BATMAN series for DC Comics, SPAWN, Marvel Comics X-FORCE, QUASAR, The Creech)
  • Amy Chu (Red Sonja, Kiss, Wonder Woman, Deadpool)
  • David Walker (Luke Cage, Occupy Avengers, Cyborg)
  • Amanda Conner (Vampirella, Harley Quinn, Power Girl)
  • Jeff Parker (Agents of Atlas, X-Men First Class, Hulk, Flash Gordon, Aquaman)
  • Amy Mebberson (Walt Disney Company)
  • Cat Staggs(DC Comics, Smallville, The Vampire Diaries)
  • Steve Orlando (Midnighter, Justice League of America)
  • Chrissie Zullo (Vampirella, Josie and the Pussycats, Fables: The Wolf Among Us, Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love)
  • James Silvani (Disney and Muppet comics for BOOM! IDW and APE Entertainment)
  • Jimmy Palmiotti (Event Comics, Marvel Knights, Paperfilms)
  • Peter Tomasi (Batman and Robin, Robin Rises: Omega, Superman/Wonder Woman)
  • Richard Starkings (Hip Flask, Elephantmen, Doctor Who Magazine, The Real Ghostbusters, Transformers)
  • Kyle Starks (Sexcastle, Rock Candy Mountain, Secret Wars, Too, Invader Zim, Rick and Morty)

TICKETS: Daily and full weekend passes are available. Badges purchased before March 11 can be mailed to a provided address. Prices increase on April 1.

  • Friday Only Admission: $40
  • Saturday Only Admission: $55
  • Sunday Only Admission: $45
  • 3-Day Weekend Pass: $80
  • 3-Day ‘Geekend VIP’ Pass: $150
  • Kids Admission: $15. Valid for kids ages 3-10. Valid for full weekend or any day individually.
  • VIP passes & experiences range from the VIP Geekend ($150) to the premium, limited quantity Club Awesome Reserve Membership ($399-$999) which offers access to various celebrity appearances, reserved Main Stage seating for marquee programs, and exclusive Club Awesome Reserve-only events.

Awesome Con and the Smithsonian present Future Con

Science experts and entertainers will unite this month at the Smithsonian magazine Future Con, a themed pavilion celebrating science, technology, science fiction and fantasy within the Mid-Atlantic’s premiere pop culture convention Awesome Con. From March 30-April 1 Future Con presents three days of special programming that will include tech demos, meet-and-greet opportunities with scientific leaders and the opportunity to dive into the stimulating and fantastical overlaps between real-world science and science fiction. Attendees of all ages can engage with panels and discussions as well as hands-on tech demos and workshops, all focused on fostering awareness and enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Awesome Con welcomes the brightest minds from organizations leading scientific advancement and education to Future Con, with representatives from Boeing, National Science Foundation, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Association for Psychological Science, and the Planetary Society leading programs and workshops throughout the weekend.

Panels like Turning Science Fiction Space Travel into Science Fact presented by Boeing will bring together visionaries and engineers to share how ongoing scientific developments and research are laying the foundation for future space exploration. Learn from experts about what it takes to survive in space, travel to Mars, launch the largest rocket ever into space, and more.

Science lovers will also be able to sit in on Future Con events like the Netflix: “Lost in Space” panel presented in partnership with Netflix, an exclusive preview of the upcoming dramatic re-imagination of the classic show and an exploration of the goals of modern space travel. Attendees can stop by the Future Con pavilion and into an immersive “Lost in Space” pop-up complete with show props and décor that will be featured on the galactic adventure show.

In the panel Science behind Mad Science, X, The Moonshot Factory’s Rich DeVaul will reveal how the moonshot factory brings science fiction-sounding technologies such as driverless cars and balloon-powered internet to life. DeVaul will also share tips for aspiring moonshot takers and unveil some never-before-seen explorations. At the X booth at Future Con, show attendees will be able to see some of X’s prototypes up close and learn more about how engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs are part of X’s early-stage work. The X booth will also allow attendees to play a rapid-fire moonshot thinking game, learn about rapid prototyping and meet some of the scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs behind X’s technology.

Star Wars fans will be delighted with exhibits and events presented as part of Future Con, with franchise film stars John Boyega, Joonas Suotamo, and Jeremy Bulloch planning special appearances over the weekend.

Sci-fi movie fans can also attend a Science of “Pacific Rim” panel inspired by the blockbuster 2013 film. Dr. Rich DeVaul, Director of Mad Science at X, and Legendary Comics’ Senior Vice President of Creative Strategy Barnaby Legg clue attendees in to how close to we are to building defensive robots known as ‘jagers,’ whether we can merge consciousness and share memories and feelings with other individuals, and delve into the scientific principles explored in the film.

Future Con also takes a fun look at fiction vs. fact in the comics world, with panels like The Technology of Dark Nights: Metal featuring a discussion with “Batman” artist and writer duo Greg Capullo and Scott Snyder about the technology at the iconic character’s disposal.

Special Guests

                Industry Experts

  • Dr. Rich DeVaul (Director of Mad Science, X, The Moonshot Factory)
  • Dr. Suveen Mathaudhu (Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Material Science, University of California-Riverside)
  • Dr. Erin McDonald (“Dr. Erin Explains the Universe,” Stanford University)
  • Dr. Theresa McCulla (Beer Historian, Smithsonian)
  • Jared Espley (Planetary Scientist, NASA)
  • Terry Hurford (Planetary Scientist, NASA)
  • Carie Lemack (CEO, DreamUp)

 

                Entertainment Guests

  • John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Pacific Rim Uprising)
  • Dave Bautista (Blade Runner 2049, Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, Spectre)
  • Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, The Walking Dead)
  • Pom Klementieff (Avengers: Infinity War, Guardians of the Galaxy)
  • Sean Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, Gilmore Girls)
  • Michael Dorn (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)
  • Jeremy Bulloch (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, The Newcomers, Doctor Who)
  • John Barrowman (Doctor Who, Arrow, Torchwood, Legends of Tomorrow)
  • Joonas Suotamo (Stars Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens)

Future Con takes place March 30-April 1, 2018 inside this year’s Awesome Con, and no separate ticket is needed to attend Future Con events.

Awesome Con Welcomes Scott Adsit as StarTalk Live! Co-Host

Awesome Con and StarTalk will welcome actor and comedian Scott Adsit as a co-host of StarTalk Live! on June 16 during Awesome Con. Ticketholders for Awesome Con, which runs June 16-18 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, will be able to attend StarTalk Live! on a first come, first served basis with the option to purchase VIP tickets.

StarTalk Live!, an award-winning talk show bridging the intersection between pop culture and science with humor and passion, will headline Smithsonian’s Future Con – an event series and science-focused pavilion within Awesome Con, Washington DC’s Comic Con. Colonel Chris Hadfield, who audiences may recognize from his documentation of his time in space via Twitter, and award-winning actor and comedian Scott Adsit (Veep, 30 Rock) will take the stage as co-hosts for this exciting program. StarTalk Live! is open to all Awesome Con ticket holders with first come, first served seating, and attendees have the option to purchase VIP tickets which include guaranteed seating and a book signing with Col. Chris Hadfield. StarTalk Live! will take place at 8 PM on Friday, June 16 in the Walter Washington Convention Center.

Smithsonian and Awesome Con introduce Future Con

Smithsonian magazine and LeftField Media today announced a partnership to create an exciting new live event called Future Con,” a three-day science, technology, and entertainment celebration that will be featured within the upcoming Awesome Con on June 16-18, 2017 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. Future Con will highlight the intersection of science, technology, and science fiction inside D.C.’s largest pop culture event. It is sponsored by Science Channel, features partners including NASA, the American Physical Society, the National Science Foundation, and Nerd Nite, and it will be headlined by StarTalk Live! hosted by Astronaut Chris Hadfield, who became a social media sensation through his (literally) out-of-this-world videos and performances from the International Space Station.

Driven by experts at Smithsonian magazine, Future Con will mix together interactive experiences, engaging discussions, and special guests centered around creating new awareness and advocacy for all things science, technology, engineering, and math.

Awesome Con, now entering its fifth year, attracts over 60,000 attendees and participants. Awesome Con is a celebration of comic books, movies, television, toys, and games, and Future Con will add science to the worlds Awesome Con explores.

Future Con’s kickoff event will welcome Colonel Chris Hadfield to host a special edition of StarTalk Live! Col. Hadfield is a veteran of two space shuttle missions and former commander of the International Space Station. He’s also been called the “most social media savvy astronaut” by Forbes for his ongoing documentation of his time in space to over 2 million Twitter followers. Col. Hadfield will appear at Future Con to lead a taping of StarTalk Live!, an award-winning talk show bridging the intersection between pop culture and science with humor and passion.

Future Con will see further pioneering names in space travel, artificial intelligence, nanomachines, climate science, and medical research share the stage with some of the brightest names in pop culture—with presenters including John Mather (NASA’s Nobel Laureate and head of the James Webb Telescope), Adam Steltzner (NASA’s “Rock and Roll Engineer” and head of the Mars 2020 mission), and Seth Shostak (Senior Astronomer at SETI: the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence). Thought-provoking talks at Future Con will include Cassini’s Spectacular Grand Finale at Saturn, Parallel and Multi Universe Theory in Sci-Fi, Mars: Past, Present, & Future, Harry Potter and the Genetics of Wizarding, Space Lasers, and Antarctic Dinosaurs.

Future Con takes place June 16-18 inside this year’s Awesome Con, and no separate ticket is needed to attend—admission to Awesome Con includes access to Future Con’s speakers, exhibits, and events.