Diandra Leslie-Pelecky Hilborn earned undergraduate degrees in physics and philosophy from the University of North Texas and a Ph.D. in condensed matter physics from Michigan State University. She spent the majority of her twenty-year academic career as a nanomaterials research and educator at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
Her research in magnetic nanomaterials was funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy. She developed fundamental understanding of magnetic materials as well as applications of nanomaterials to medical diagnosis and treatment processes such as magnetic resonance imaging and chemotherapy.
Leslie-Pelecky is nationally recognized for her work in science education and outreach at all levels, with projects primarily funded by the National Science Foundation. She is a popular speaker with technical and non-technical audiences, including addresses for the public sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, colleges and universities, science museums, and the American Physical Society. Her book, The Physics of NASCAR, was excerpted by TIME magazine and has been featured in publications from the Materials Research Bulletin to Sporting News. Her blog, Building Speed, focuses on the science of motorsports and is avidly read by NASCAR fans and insiders.
Diandra has written for and appeared in number of motorsports-related television broadcasts, including segments for ESPN (one of which won the 2010 Aflac Motorsports Journalism Award of Excellence) and an episode of the Emmy-winning series Quest for the Cup. She hosted and wrote the National Science Foundation project The Science of Speed, and appeared in a segment for the H2 show Invisible. She is a bi-weekly guest on the SiriusXM Speedway satellite radio program where she uses science to debunk "NASCAR Myths" for motorsports fans.