Marianne J. Dyson

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.

See Resources for Writers page for writing workshops and editing services offered.

A Woman in NASA's Mission Control

Dyson at AIAA
Sharing my passion for space with members of AIAA at NASA Glenn, 2016. Photo by Ed Wong/AIAANOS.

Author Marianne Dyson shares her personal experience earning a degree in physics and becoming one of the first women to join the problem-solving team in Mission Control prior to and during the first Space Shuttle flights. 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, fighting the “glass ceiling” at NASA, and juggling work and family.

Duration: one hour. Audience: grade 8 & up.

Author will provide a model of the space shuttle and historical artifacts for display.

Your Future Space Presentation

International Space Station model.International Space Station scale model.

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: grade 4 and up

To the Moon

Students view the morning moon.Students view the morning Moon.

Presentation introduces children (and their parents) to the Apollo Program by taking them on a trip to the Moon and a tour of the landing sites using pop-ups from the book To the Moon and Back, spacecraft models, maps, and PowerPoint slides. Basic properties of the Moon including why it goes through phases, why we only see the near side, how far away it is, and the effects of lower gravity are explained via interactive demonstrations. If time permits, the tour may be extended to Mars.

Duration: one hour. Audience: grades K and up or family groups

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.

Inflatable planetarium from LPI.Inflatable planetarium from LPI.

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.

Honorarium & Travel Expenses

My fees are based on how much time I must commit to accomplish the visit. I live in southeast Houston near NASA Johnson Space Center. I do not accept engagements that require a start time earlier than 9 a.m. because of rush-hour traffic and set up time. If am required to be at the location for lunch or dinner, those meals should be provided. I'm happy to share meal times with staff or students, and some hosts have auctioned off the opportunity to sit at my table to help cover expenses. Hosts are offered a discount on autographed copies of all books preordered.

Houston Area Visits: $400 for a single presentation 30 to 60 minutes for business or community conferences or after-school events that require no more than a 4-hour commitment including drive time. For multiple presentations or STEM workshops (see below) locally, cost is $600 (plus any workshop supply fees) for up to an 8-hour commitment. Discounts offered for repeat business or organizations I'm affiliated with.

Overnight Visits: $800 plus hotel and transportation expenses for venues that require travel the evening before, one or two presentations or workshops the next day, and return by that evening (i.e. 24-hour commitment). Note, a workshop can be scheduled in the morning and afternoon, but because of set up and supply issues, it must be the same workshop. Workshop supply fees are charged per person.

Long-Distance Visits: $1000/first day and $600 for each subsequent day plus hotel and transportation expenses for visits that require multiple hotel nights. Author can present up to four programs during one day or repeat one workshop twice. So, for example, I can fly in on a Monday night, address four groups of students on Tuesday, do two of the same workshop on Wednesday, and then fly out Thursday morning for $1600 plus travel expenses and workshop supply fees.

STEM Workshops

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. Catholic schools: I have a Safeguarding God's Children certificate. Please see tab above "Resources> for Writers" for writing workshop options.

Space Science Workshop

Dyson in Orion.” title=Dyson ready for launch in Orion!

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.

Note, for local workshops, there is a $5/person supply fee. Host must provide water, copies of handouts, scissors, tape, and markers.

Earth-Moon-Mars Workshop

Earth cutouts.” title=Author can provide scale models for assembly by students.

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.

Note for local workshops, there is a $10/person supply fee (because of PlayDoh!). Host must provide water, copies of handouts, scissors, tape, rulers, calculators, and markers.

Living Solar System Workshop

Living Solar System.Living Solar System requires a gym or outdoor area.

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.

For teacher workshops, there's an additional supply fee of $5/person. Host must supply scissors, tape, and markers for each participant.

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 stories (basically anything to do with human space exploration!). I do not do full presentations or STEM workshops remotely.

Fee: $60/half hour between 10 AM and 10 PM Central time M-F. Add $25 extra for weekends or earlier/later times.

Panel Participant/Tour Guide

Marianne Dyson at Space Center Houston 2016.
Tour Guide for the American Engineering Geologists at Space Center Houston.
Invite 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-$400 or equivalent in book sales/meals/donations to charity depending on time commitment.

Book Sales

I offer discounts 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.

To Book an Appearance, Contact Marianne Dyson.

Media Coverage

Featured in cartoon and article by Dale Debakcsy on, 5-31-17.

Guest appearance on podcast The Space Show with Dr. David Livingston aired 11-14-16.

Radio interview, "From the Houston Spaceflight Center to Mars; the Journey of Marianne Dyson," aired 3-22-16 on

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 Martian.

I was on NPR "To the Point" 7-08-11 with Warren Olney to discuss the last Shuttle flight. Hear the entire show, in four parts: Me & Architect Thom Mayne, Mayne & Astronomer Jonathan McDowell, & Me & McDowell.

See more on my ARCHIVE page.

Visit Photos


Speaking at Westview School in Houston, May 2018.
Addressing high school students at Laredo Public Library, May 2018.
Dyson with Bruce Foster, artist for To the Moon and Back, at Houston Public Library, 1-18-18.


Rice University Conference on Women in Physics.


Harvard Elementary Literacy Night, October 19.


Buzz Aldrin & I signed Welcome to Mars at Kennedy Space Center.


Dyson photoAt Freeman Library with Cindy Price and Astronaut Jerry Ross


Authors & Ice Cream event at Evelyn Meador Library in Seabrook, July 2013.I sold my first copy of The Callahan Kids (left) at the Seabrook Library's Authors & Ice Cream event in July.


E Texas Book Fest in Tyler, Texas, Sept. 2012.I was a featured author at the East Texas Book Festival in Tyler, Texas in September.


Freeman Library visit in July 2011.I toured the solar system with a capacity crowd at Freeman Memorial Library in Clear Lake in July.


With Bay City librarian Andrea Savage.
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.


Harvard Elementary third graders. Harvard Elementary third graders compare the sizes of the planets in December.
With Great Day Houston host Debra Duncan.
Me and Great Day Houston host, Debra Duncan, on the set 6-10-09.


With Dr. Rhea Seddon.

Me and former astronaut, Dr. Rhea Seddon, spoke at the annual Butterfly Luncheon in April.

Favorite appearance photo for that year.
I moderated an Apollo 8, 40th anniversary event in December at JSC.


Favorite appearance photo for that year.
Briargrove Elementary kids amazed me.

See more on my ARCHIVE page.

More photos in my ARCHIVE.