On Wednesday evening, January 16, guests at Thomas Wm. Hamilton’s book signing and informal talk at Bay Street Animal Hospital were treated to refreshments and a fascinating, diverse presentation by one of the most interesting people on the planet — and possibly many other planets, depending on the number of worlds with intelligent life that NASA finds.
The conversation that flowed around the book signing represented a reflection of the author’s own rich background and multifaceted life experiences.
Mr. Hamilton, who recently celebrated his 80th birthday (we did not forget a cake at the book signing), is a prolific writer, scientist, educator, and cat rescuer. His written work includes books and articles on astronomy, an alternate-history/time-travel science fiction novel, and two anthologies of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and satire.
The author worked for three years on Project Apollo (the NASA program to land people on the moon) determining orbital characteristics, fuel usage, and radar accuracy requirements. An asteroid is named after him.
He taught astronomy for 34 years at Wagner College, the College of Staten Island, and St. John’s University, while running planetariums and training generations of students to enter the planetarium field.
A long-time resident of Staten Island, Mr. Hamilton has helped save and nurture hundreds of feral cats in our area. He is a certified and trained Trap, Neuter, and Return specialist, and helps provide daily care for a community of over 90 (and still growing) rescued cats.
A significant development that grew out of Wednesday’s book signing was the idea to form an umbrella organization to coordinate the work of all of the cat rescue groups in the various neighborhoods of Staten Island.