Factropolis -- A new fun fact every day!

Meet Our Editors

Editor-in-Chief: F. Thomas Anderson, Ph.D.

Entomologist/Horticultural geneticist

"Make the most of every day…every day."

Born in London but now living in New Zealand, Dr. Anderson has a passion for the relationship between insects and plants. He is a regular contributor to several horticulture magazines and has written groundbreaking articles on everything from bark beetle reproduction to the cloning of the cape gooseberry.

In 1999, Dr. Anderson synthesized a plant protein that revolutionized the growing and harvest of the babaco tree (Carica pentagona). He now owns the second-largest hybrid babaco orchard in the world.

Dr. Anderson’s hobbies include sailing, diving, woodworking and Prussian military history.

Scott Mitchell

Professor of Forensic Anthropology

"A factfinder is part investigator, part historian, part adventurer and all reporter."

Scott has spent much of his career cataloging the prevalence of tooth decay among ancient societies in South America. His controversial theories linking enamel thinning to soil erosion have shed new light on the fall of the Incan and Aztec empires. Scott also bears the distinction of being the first person to climb K-2 without the use of an ice axe.

Scott’s hobbies include mountain climbing, base jumping and cooking.

J.J. Cercone

Aviation Engineer

“If man weren’t meant to fly, he wouldn’t have been given feet on which to land.”

J.J. is a guiding force in aviation technology, a master craftsman who has helped push jet engine technology and the sport of stunt flying to bold new heights. He spent his early career as a specialist at Boeing, where he designed a series of intake nozzles widely considered to be the finest in the world. For the past 15 years he has devoted his attention to fly-by-wire control systems and experimental stunt aircraft, and he organizes a yearly airshow in California.

J.J.’s hobbies include writing short stories and singing in his church choir.

Anja Santos-Neville

Art historian

"Never be afraid to follow a dream, even if it belongs to someone else."

Anja is one of the world’s foremost experts on 20th century Latin American and Spanish paintings. She made a name for herself in 2000 when Sotheby’s asked her to evaluate a painting rumored to be one of the “lost” Picasso velvets – a holy grail of the art world. She immediately recognized it as a forgery, saving the potential buyer a small fortune and leading to the arrest of a notorious ring of Russian art forgers.

Anja’s hobbies include painting (of course), horseback riding and caring for her twin daughters.

Levetta Swanson


“If you try hard enough, you can find something interesting about even the most boring subject in the world.”

“Lev” heads the juvenile rehabilitation department at the largest salmon hatchery in eastern Alaska. She specializes in caring for injured and weak fish, and has devised a system of floating harnesses and splints that has saved the lives of countless juvenile salmon. In 2005 she was recognized as a “Local Luminary” by President George W. Bush.

Lev’s hobbies include bingo and Native American folklore.

Eike Austerlitz

Cave diving instructor

“When you peer into the darkness, you peer into the soul of mankind.”

Eike is at the top of his game when he’s in the bottom of a deep hole. He has mapped some of the most formidable underground lakes in the world, and has taught diving seminars attended by members of elite military squadrons from Australia, Poland, Germany and England.

Eike’s hobbies include bodybuilding, dancing and long walks on the beach.

Jamie Rodgers


“Read between the lines.”

Jamie has had the factfinding bug ever since she was a young girl. She grew up in rural Mississippi, where she used to scour trash bins for discarded books and magazines (which she read voraciously). Her favorite periodical was – and still is – National Geographic. By the time she was 18 she had devised her own method for cataloging greeting cards, and with help from her local newspaper had amassed a collection of more than ten thousand cards in 127 different languages. From those humble beginnings she went on to carve out a career at some of the best libraries in North America. She currently works as an administrator at the New York Public Library.

Jamie’s hobbies include crossword puzzles and movies.

Sandra Weinstein

Museum curator

"There is nothing more beautiful than knowledge in its purest form."

Sandra is one of the newest additions to the Factropolis team – she joined our staff in 2001 after meeting Anja at an art conference in Barcelona. Sandra is the quintessential history buff and a brilliant historical investigator. Her factfinding abilities are the stuff of legend among the other team members – they say she could squeeze a fact from a lump of coal in a dark closet with her eyes closed. Sandra is an expert on American history and art.

Sandra’s hobbies include Civil War reenactment and naturism.


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