James C. Albury
Gainesville, FL, USA
James is the coordinator of the Kika Silva Pla Planetarium, Co-host of the PBS television series "Star Gazers" and current president of SEPA (2019-2021)
Albury took over the helm at the Kika Silva Pla Planetarium in October 2009 and spent the first few weeks testing it out to see what his new baby can do. His first creation, "Meteors!," opened Friday, Nov. 20, 2009 and not only supplied an explanation and history of meteors, past and present, but also came with its own 5,000-year-old, 75-pound meteorite. He has been making a living under these celestial recreations since he was barely into his teens. He grew up in Miami, FL where he started volunteering at the Miami Museum of Science's planetarium at age 14. He began by helping with seating, but by age 15 he was behind the console and on the payroll. While he quickly learned the mechanics, he could not take on narration duties until his voice changed. Albury stayed with the Miami Museum until age 22. At 21, he arrived in Gainesville for his first tour of duty as a recruit in the UF Astronomy program. He knocked off his bachelor's degree and one year of master's work before re-entering the work force as part of UF's Office of Academic Technology. Thirteen years later, Albury left UF for a management position at Lifestyle Family Fitness in Jacksonville. The change let him reduce his cross state commute --he lived in the Green Cove Springs area at the time-- and spend more time with his wife, Kandra, two daughters, Drea, Mira, and son, Bryce. In October 2011, Albury became a co-host of the nationally syndicated PBS television series "Star Gazers". It's the first and only weekly television program on naked-eye astronomy. Each weekly episode features selected objects for naked eye viewing during the following week. Albury plans to channel some of that boundless energy into expanding public awareness of the planetarium. Within the next year he would like to double attendance. One thing that surprised him when he arrived on campus was how few students knew about what was going on at the planetarium, or had recently seen a show. He would like to add four to five new shows to the current lineup this year, and every year if the budget permits.