City’s professors share science at Comic-Con

Oisis Jones

Three City College professors have active roles at Comic-Con, which draws approximately about 130,000 annually to San Diego’s Convention Center.

Professors Lisa Will and Shane Haggard have participated in panel discussions while Lisa Chaddock has volunteered in the yearly blood drive at the convention.

Will is an associate professor of astronomy and physics and the resident astronomer at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.

She and Haggard participated in a panel discussion called “The Science of H.P. Lovecraft,” which was was first presented in 2014 and offered again last year, drawing a standing-room crowd.

She said she got involved with Comic- Con because of her self-professed “geek girl” status.

“I have been an avid reader of science fiction and fantasy books, as well as comic books, my whole life,” said Will.

“I hear people complain that we have a scientifically illiterate society. My experience shows people have great curiosity about science but don’t always have the opportunity to interact with scientists themselves. It’s important that science is accessible to the public.”

She said that people have taken her astronomy class at City after attending her panel at Comic Con.

And women at the convention tell her how happy they are to see a female scientist, she added.

Will said she expects to hear in June whether she will be returning as a panelist at the convention. But she will be attending Comic-Con, nevertheless.

Professor Haggard, who teaches chemistry, got involved with Comic-Con by working with Will and a friend, Aaron Vanek. The latter pitched an idea for the panel discussion on science of writer Lovecraft.

Haggard said he got involved in the convention because he has always loved comics, science fiction and science.

“I thought it would be fun someday to actually be part of a panel talking about science and how it relates to comics, sci-fi, books, and movies,” he said.

Haggard said that “people really seem to enjoy hearing that the science, in some cases, isn’t really all that farfetched. What might have been considered mostly just science fiction, is slowly becoming science fact.”

Professor Haggard plans to attend Comic-Con but also won’t know until June if he will be part of a panel.

Science is everywhere! Science isn’t scary or hard. Science can be fun and exciting,” he concluded.

Chaddock, who teaches geography, is part of the volunteer committee that plans the Heinlein Blood Drive every year.

A published composer, Chaddock also writes songs with her writing partner Geoff Hanson, both members of a musical group called Drawing Attention. They produce a CD for people giving blood at the convention.

“We have been doing this part of the project for three years,” she said. “We had students work on the art for the project cover, as well as joining the group and singing some of the music.”