It gives me pleasure to write a blogpost that will be entirely upbeat and positive, instead of my usual curmudgeonly scorn. Bob Zimmerman has given me permission to announce (I think for the first time publicly) that when he appears on Coast to Coast AM tonight, giving updates on New Horizons' final approach to Pluto, he will be officially introduced as the new Science Adviser. The reign of Richard Hoagland in that rôle is over.
I congratulate Bob and I congratulate Lisa Lyon, executive producer of C2C, for making that decision. I have personally sent e-mails to Lisa and George Noory many times saying how much I've appreciated Bob's accurate, entertaining and up-to-date spots on the show, and saying how much better his contributions have been than those of his predecessor. I suppose it's even possible I may have influenced this decision in a small way.
Bob is self-taught in space technology and history (just like me.) Although he does have a master's degree it's in US colonial history, not physics or engineering. His first career was actually in B movies, first as a key grip then moving into production. His only Producer credit was for Underground Terror (1989). His full IMDB credit list is here.
Bob was interested in spaceflight, he says, "from childhood." He thought about training to become an astronaut, but realized that he didn't have the math skills. Instead, he turned his zeal for exploration upside down and went caving. Cave exploration remains his major passion.
Once he decided to start writing about spaceflight, he became amazingly prolific. In addition to his book Genesis, The Story of Apollo 8 (1998) (which I read with admiration, having my own memories of that mission and its crew), he wrote Leaving Earth (2003) and two other space history books, as well as at least 100 shorter pieces in multi-media.
I think he'll continue to be excellent as a popularizer of space exploration, and his New York accent is cute, too. We won't mention his politics on this blog. NOT AT ALL (grin).
His biblio (newspapers and magazines)
PS. For those with a taste for skullduggery, Richard Hoagland gives his side of the story here, in an interview with Steve Warner on digital radio. It's on auto-run now but will drop into archive at some point.