Dr Ron Williams was born and raised in Bloomington Indiana. He received his BA degrees in Psychology and Chemistry at Indiana University Bloomington in 1976. He received his MA degree in Experimental Psychology with a concentration in gerontological psychology from the University of Notre Dame and his PhD in Neuropsychology from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. After a short time working as an analytical chemist he returned to graduate school in psychology and later worked as a counselor and therapist as well as director of programming for older adults at the Dunn Community Mental Health Center in Richmond Indiana from 1979 to 1991. He has been a part of the professional staff at Fort Wayne Neurological Center since 1991 and is the director of the Neuropsychology Dept. Fort Wayne Neurological Center is one of the largest Neurology/Neurosurgery/Neuropsychology practices in the Midwest. Dr Williams’ practice involves diagnosing and treating patients with a wide range of neurological and psychological disorders. He is board certified in Neuropsychology by the American Board of Professional Neuropsychology and Diplomate of the American College of Professional Neuropsychology. He is also adjunct professor of psychiatry for the Indiana University School of Medicine. He served as the first chairperson of the Indiana Governor’s Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease and co-founded the first family support group in Indiana for Alzheimer’s patients. Dr Williams’ most recent research and publications pertain to the identification and measurement of cognitive dysfunction in dementing illnesses and multiple sclerosis.
Dr Williams’ passion for space exploration dates back to the 1960s as a young boy who was obsessed with everything related to the early days of the US and Russian space programs. He has visited the Kennedy Space Center 28 times since his first visit at age 15 when he witnessed the launching of Apollo 15. He has returned to KSC to see 3 shuttle launches. He has had the privilege of meeting all three Apollo 11 astronauts and is an avid collector of space related books, artifacts and astronaut autographs. As a 13 year old, in the 1960s, Ron and a handful of his “space inspired” buddies built a life-size mock-up of a Gemini spacecraft and stayed inside the capsule for extended periods during the time that actual Gemini missions were going on in space. He is an avid amateur photographer and astronomer. He vehemently believes that man is driven and destined to explore the universe around him and in the process of that exploration will develop and discover countless medical, social and technological advances that will benefit civilization.
Dr Williams’ individual research interest, while on the HI-SEAS mission will focus on exploring the cognitive, personality and psychological characteristics of the crew and their relationship to adjustment, group dynamics and mission success. The effect of lighting on sleep and other adjustment factors will be studied. He will also be testing astronomical equipment and techniques for telescope viewing while in space suits and electronic remote viewing within the simulation habitat. He is organizing a public outreach involving amateur radio contacts with the HI-SEAS habitat that will be totally unique in the HAM radio community due to the imposed reception delay due to Mars-Earth distance. He is also planning communication and learning experiences with several elementary and middle school classes while on the mission.