Elizabeth Loftus is Distinguished Professor at the University of California - Irvine. She holds faculty positions in two departments: Psychology & Social Behavior; and Criminology, Law & Society. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Stanford University. Since then, she has published 22 books (including the award winning Eyewitness Testimony) and over 500 scientific articles. Loftus's research of the last 40 years has focused on the malleability of human memory. She has been recognized for this research with 7 honorary doctorates and election to the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the American Philosophical Society, and the National Academy of Sciences. She is past president of the Association for Psychological Science, the Western Psychological Association, and the American Psychology-Law Society.
Loftus has been an expert witness or consultant in hundreds of cases, including the McMartin PreSchool Molestation case, the Hillside Strangler, the Abscam cases, the trial of Oliver North, the trial of the officers accused in the Rodney King beating, the Menendez brothers, the Bosnian War trials in the Hague, the Oklahoma Bombing case, and litigation involving Michael Jackson, Martha Stewart, Scooter Libby, and the Duke University Lacrosse players.
Perhaps one of the most unusual signs of recognition of the impact of Loftus’s research came in a study published by the Review of General Psychology. The study identified the 100 most eminent psychologists of the 20th century, and not surprisingly Freud, Skinner, and Piaget are at the top of that list. Loftus was #58, and the top ranked woman on the list.
Professor Daniel Simons
Daniel Simons is a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois, where he heads the Visual Cognition Laboratory. His research explores the limits of awareness and memory, the reasons why we often are unaware of those limits, and the implications of such limits for our personal and professional lives. He is best known for his research showing people are far less aware of their visual surroundings than they think.
Simons received his B.A. from Carleton College and his Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Cornell University. He then spent five years on the faculty at Harvard University before being recruited to Illinois in 2002. He has published more than 100 scientific articles and book chapters, and his work has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Office of Naval Research. He is a Fellow and Charter Member of the Association for Psychological Science and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, and he has received many awards for his research and teaching, including the 2003 Early Career Award from the American Psychological Association.
In addition to his scholarly research, he is the co-author (with Christopher Chabris) of the NY Times bestselling book, The Invisible Gorilla. He has penned articles for the NY Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and the Chicago Tribune (among others), and he appears regularly on radio and television. His work has been exhibited in more than a dozen science museums worldwide. You can learn more about him and his work at www.dansimons.com.
Acclaimed by MAGIC Magazine as the premiere comedy magician in the world today, Mac was just named “Magician of the Year” by the Magic Castle in Hollywood, just broke a Guinness World Record, just appeared on his seventh TV special for NBC-TV, just got voted the sixth best show in all of Las Vegas, just rocked the audience on The Late Show with David Letterman, tore it up on Penn & Teller’s Fool Us (where Penn and Teller called Mac, “The greatest comedy magician at least alive today, and maybe who ever lived”), and his book from Random House just entered it’s 12th printing. He’s been named “Entertainer of the Year” by Las Vegas Weekly, and “Best Magician,” “Best Bargain Show,” and “Favorite Male Las Vegan” by the Las Vegas Review Journal. He is currently starring in the long-running The Mac King Comedy Magic Show at Harrah’s Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas where, over the last 18 years, he has performed over 9000 shows to more than two million fans.
His astounding sleight of hand and irresistible humor has been seen both live and on television in China, Spain, Japan, Germany, Australia, Denmark, Sweden, England, Argentina, Holland, Finland, Canada, Chile, and Portugal.
According to his wife and daughter, he is a fine husband, a great dad, and all around swell fellow.
Guest of Honor: Simon Aronson
Simon Aronson is a patriarch of the Chicago magic community and has had a substantial impact on card magic and mentalism. For over 25 years, he has hosted the Chicago Magic Session, a weekly meeting of some of the best minds in card magic. He, alone, has authored five tomes on card magic, and his work features in the repertoires of many top close-up magicians. With degrees in philosophy, economics, and law from the University of Chicago, Simon had a successful career as a real estate attorney. He and his wife, Ginny, are world-renowned for their “second sight” mindreading act, which will be featured in the SoMA 2019 Gala Show. In addition to creating practical magic, Simon has a keen interest in magic theory, and is well known for his essay, “The Illusion of Impossibility,” published in his 1990 book, The Aronson Approach.