Scott Parazynski: Biography highlights

The first explorer to have both flown in space & climbed to the summit of Mount Everest, Scott is a best-selling author, CEO and gifted communicator who can help take your organization to new heights!

Known for:

Adventurers and Explorers

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Full biography of Scott Parazynski

Scott Parazynski’s Background

Dr. Scott Parazynski is an expert in leadership under adversity, and deriving the very best from multidisiplinary teams. He has spoken all over the world about the rigors, risks and rewards of exploration in extreme environments, deriving important lessons in teamwork, risk management and innovation under the most demanding circumstances, on or off the planet. Your audience will be left breathless but empowered with real-world tools to elevate their organization in an increasingly competitive world.

Among his many presentations, he has:

  • Delivered hundreds of keynotes to corporate leaders, industry and scientific conventions, and major non-profit organizations
  • Presented Medical Grand Rounds at some of the world’s most prestigious medical schools, hospitals and conferences
  • Appeared on all major US broadcast networks as well as many overseas TV networks, discussing various aspects of the space program, the importance of exploration, STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and technological innovation
  • Filmed as team physician and summit climber during Discovery Channel’s 3rd season of “Everest: Beyond the Limit,” as well as the Science Channel’s “Secret Space Escapes.”

Scott has lived and traveled all over the world, spending many of his grade school and high school years in places such as Dakar, Senegal; Beirut, Lebanon; Tehran, Iran; and Athens, Greece. A graduate of Stanford University and Stanford Medical School, he went on to train at Harvard and in Denver in preparation for a career in emergency medicine and trauma. Dr. Parazynski has numerous publications in the field of space physiology with particular expertise in human adaptation to stressful environments.

In 1992 he was selected to join NASA’s Astronaut Corps and eventually flew 5 Space Shuttle Missions and conducted 7 spacewalks (“Extravehicular Activity,” or EVAs). In his 17 years as an Astronaut, he served in numerous senior leadership roles, including EVA Branch Chief and the Lead Astronaut for Space Shuttle Thermal Protection System Inspection & Repair (in the aftermath of the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy). Mission highlights include a global ozone mapping mission on STS-66; leading the first joint US-Russian spacewalk during STS-86 while docked to the Russian space station Mir; serving as Senator John Glenn’s crewmate and “personal physician” during STS-95; and conducting EVA assembly of the Canadian-built space station arm during STS-100.

In October 2007, Scott led the EVA team on STS-120, a highly complex space station assembly flight, during which he performed 4 EVAs (becoming only the second astronaut to perform four EVAs on a single Space Shuttle mission). The fourth and final EVA is regarded by many as one of the most challenging and dangerous ever performed.

During the EVA he was positioned by a 90-foot robotic boom farther than any orbiting astronaut had ever ventured from the safety of their airlock. During this EVA he had to repair a fully energized solar array wing. The tremendous coordinated effort in orbit and on the ground by Mission Control and other engineering experts has been likened to the Space Shuttle and Space Station era’s “Apollo 13 moment.”

In addition to being a life-long SCUBA diver and accomplished mountaineer, Scott is also a commercial, instrument, multiengine and seaplane-rated pilot with over 2,500 flight hours. He began climbing in his teens, and has climbed in the Alaska Range, the Cascades, the Rockies, the Alps, the Andes and the Himalayas. On his second attempt to scale Mt. Everest, on May 20, 2009, he became the first astronaut to stand on top of the world. Further, as part of a NASA-sponsored expedition to the high Andes, he conducted a scientific dive in the summit caldera lake of 19,700-foot Licancabur volcano, the world’s highest lake.

He recently served as Founding Director and Chief Medical Officer of UTMB’s Center for Polar Medical Operations where he oversaw the medical screening and on-ice care of the National Science Foundation’s US Antarctic Program, and was fortunate to travel widely across the most remote continent on earth.

Dr. Parazynski is currently Founder and CEO of Fluidity Technologies, developing revolutionary robotic controls powered by artificial intelligence, derived from his experiences as a pilot and astronaut. He is a prolific inventor and product developer, and serves on the Boards of several organizations and companies.

He is the recipient of a number of prestigious awards, including: the US Astronaut Hall of Fame, five NASA Spaceflight Medals, two NASA Distinguished Service Medals, two NASA Exceptional Service Medals, two Vladimir Komarov Diplomas from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, two Flight Achievement Awards from the American Astronomical Association, the Aviation Week Laureate Award, the Antarctica Service Medal, the Ellis Island Family Heritage Award, the Gold Medal from the American Institute of Polish Culture, the National Eagle Scout Association’s Outstanding Eagle Award, the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland and the Lowell Thomas Award from the Explorers Club.

A Top 10 competitor in the 1988 US Olympic Luge Team trials and coach for the Philippines during the 1988 Calgary Olympic Winter Games, he was selected as an Honorary Captain of the 2010 US Olympic Luge Team for the Vancouver Games. Additionally, he is a member of the Arkansas Aviation Hall of Fame and was awarded the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa from the Military University of Technology in Warsaw, Poland.

Scott is the author of his #1 best-selling memoir, The Sky Below: A True Story of Summits, Space and Speed, along with collaborative writer Susy Flory.


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Available for:

After Dinner Engagement
Guest Appearance
Panel Participation

Watch Scott in action

1/5 videos
Innovation in the Extreme with Scott Parazynski, MD -- Cavendish Global Impact Forum
Innovation in the Extreme with Scott Parazynski, MD -- Cavendish Global Impact Forum
Scott Parazynski | Pushing beyond your limits | Keep On Pushing
Scott Parazynski | Pushing beyond your limits | Keep On Pushing
Scott Parazynski | Exploration: Catalyst for Extreme Innovation | Exponential Medicine 2016
Scott Parazynski | Exploration: Catalyst for Extreme Innovation | Exponential Medicine 2016
Meet the Drapers #12 Semifinal | Salone Monet, Irrigreen, Boxabl, & Digibuild with Scott Parazynski
Meet the Drapers #12 Semifinal | Salone Monet, Irrigreen, Boxabl, & Digibuild with Scott Parazynski
SpinUp 2019 Scott Parazynski - Astronaut and CEO of Fluidity
SpinUp 2019 Scott Parazynski - Astronaut and CEO of Fluidity
Secret Knock

'You better hand out seat belts for your next event as Scott has a way engaging with the audience that makes them want to stand up and cheer. Hire him today, you'll be thanking me tomorrow'

Greg Reid
Forbes and Inc Top Rated Keynote Speaker
American Society for Lasers in Medicine and Surgery

'We recently had the pleasure and privilege of having physician, astronaut, mountain climber and humanitarian Scott Parazynski, M.D. speak at our annual American Society for Lasers in Medicine and Surgery meeting in Denver, Colorado. As president of the society, I sought out a speaker who would inspire, attract and grab the attention of our membership, and maybe even make me look smart for bringing him in. I got so much more than I expected.

On first contact, I found I was speaking to a nice, ordinary-sounding guy, excited to come speak and curious about our unique group. Our full-house was spellbound for Scott's entire presentation. When the announcement first went out, our high-achievers flocked to the huge meeting hall partly expecting to feel somewhat in awe and unaccomplished in comparison to this superman of human achievement.

In addition, many felt he might be unapproachable with so many wanting to see for themselves what someone who has done so many amazing things would be like. The reality was far better than we could have expected. The only shortcoming of the talk for most of our members, was that it wasn't 3 hours long. We were spellbound by the fantastic images accompanied by real-life descriptions of each experience.

I believe the entire membership left the lecture hall feeling we could accomplish so many more of our dreams. The talk opened up the possibility of chasing one's dreams, and reaching higher, having seen the literal and figurative heights that Scott has attained, with extreme effort, bravery and fear, successes and failures. In short, you should not miss having Scott Parazynski speak at your event, whatever it may be. The fantastic story of a young boy chasing his dreams opens up possibilities in anyone's life, who is lucky enough to hear Scott speak. The lecture is delivered by a thoroughly brilliant, pleasant, humble, and witty guy you could envision hanging out with.'

Outsell, Inc.

'Your experiences as a NASA astronaut and adventurer gave our business audience a fresh perspective on the "No Guts, No Glory" conference theme and helped set the positive tone for the rest of the event. Our goal was to provide participants with new strategies and avenues for success in a changing economy, and your talk helped us achieve the right collective mindset to start things off.'

NASA Headquarters

'I invited Scott to share his passion and experiences interacting with the public at a NASA-wide meeting in Boulder in September, 2010. My audience was totally captivated by Scott's warm personality, and he was able to quickly connect with the participants and actively engage them in his talk. As the only astronaut that has flown five times in space and scaled Mt. Everest, Scott has a unique perspective on engaging the public in the wonders of space and science. He shares his passion and perspective every day through his career and extra-curricular activities, and I was extremely pleased with the outcome of his talk.'

Human Exploration and Mission Operations Directorate
European Medtech Summit

'On behalf of the European Tech Tour Association I would like to congratulate you on your superb presentation to the 150 of the world's prominent leaders in the medical technology sector on the occasion of the launch of the European MedTech Summit. As you know the vision of the European MedTech Summit is to gather the ecosystem of MedTech in Switzerland every other year to offer world leaders the opportunity to participate in this "Olympics for MedTech CEOs".

Your inspiring presentation at the gala dinner of our Summit was a phenomenal way to communicate the importance of leadership and vision in reaching monumental achievements. The overwhelming response of the senior executives at the event is a testament to your superb skill in connecting with your audience and conveying the lessons you have learned during the extraordinary journeys you have embarked on during your own life. Thank you for sharing your inspirational stories and we look forward to welcoming you again to future Summits.'


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