Thad Roberts, a former NASA employee whose ethereal crime caper inspired the book Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History, may not be the first man on Mars, but he is trying to solve the mysteries of modern physics and the Universe.
As a former astrophysicist and flight lead at NASA, Roberts was fulfilling his dream of one day becoming an astronaut when love rewrote his destiny. Wanting to impress his girlfriend, he devised a plan and they stole a 600-pound safe that contained lunar samples from multiple space missions. After getting busted in an FBI sting operation for trying to sell the rarest substance in the world, Roberts spent six years in federal prison.
Roberts's incredible story of bravado and heartbreak is told by New York Times best-selling author Ben Mezrich, whose book The Accidental Billionaires served as the basis for the Oscar-winning film The Social Network. Sex on the Moon is also being made into a film directed by Will Gluck.
Roberts, who was brought up in a strict Mormon household in Utah and was disowned by his parents for having premarital sex, soon realized there was a much larger world out there waiting to be explored, and he went on to obtain multiple degrees in physics, anthropology, and philosophy. A scientific James Bond, Roberts is a thrill seeker who pushes the boundaries of the Universe and has even excavated dinosaur fossils. He is working on a book called Einstein's Intuition, which delves into the hidden structure of nature and the mysteries that plague modern physics.
An engaging speaker, Thad Roberts inspires audiences to follow their dreams, teaches them to realize that their potential is more valuable than their accomplishments, and helps them understand that we are all capable of rebounding from failure. He spoke at TEDx in Boulder in August 2010.
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