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Origins Project marks 5th year with gala night of intellectual stimulation

By

Skip Derra

The Origins Project at Arizona State University is hosting a weekend celebration of its fifth anniversary by focusing on the future of humanity in “Transcending our Origins: Violence, Humanity and the Future,” at 7 p.m., April 5 at ASU's Tempe campus.

Tickets for the April 5 Great Debates are now available. The Great Debates will be the capstone event to a weekend full of activities for the Origins Project, said director Lawrence Krauss.

“The Origins Project will host a workshop on violence and explore the future of humanity during the weekend, and will discuss all of these issues in a public forum on Saturday evening,” Krauss said. “We also will be taking part in NPR’s Science Friday with some members of the weekend activities providing expert commentary on the show, and there will be an Origins Project fundraising dinner on Friday evening.

“We want to capture the ongoing excitement and the intellectual stimulation that have become the hallmarks of the Origins Project, covering three of the four major Origins themes in this anniversary year, complementing our Great Debate on the cosmos held in February, and revisiting some of the remarkable excitement generated in our first major Origins Symposium in April of 2009,” he added.

At 7 p.m., April 5, Origins will hold the first of two Great Debates in Gammage Auditorium on ASU’s Tempe campus. The first Great Debate is titled “The Origins of Violence,” and will feature such noted scholars and writers as experimental psychologist Steven Pinker, Harvard; primatologist Richard Wrangham, Harvard; political scientist Erica Chenoweth, University of Denver; psychologist Adrian Raine, University of Pennsylvania; international relations scholar John Mueller, Ohio State University; and Sarah Mathew, assistant professor is ASU’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change. The group will discuss the development of violence from the brain to world wars.

The second panel, which will begin at approximately 8:30 p.m., is titled “The Future: From Medicine and Synthetic Biology to Machine Intelligence.” It will feature scientists and notable experts such as evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, biologist and entrepreneur Craig Venter, science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson, investor and former journalist Esther Dyson, distinguished scientist Eric Horvitz of Microsoft, science executive George Poste of ASU, and physician and evolutionary biologist Randy Nesse of ASU's School of Life Sciences. They will talk about the future of new biomedical and robotic technologies and their impact on humanity.

Lawrence Krauss will moderate the evening.

“From exploring questions ranging from the origins of the Universe and human origins, to addressing the future of our species, the Origins Project tries to focus on topics that are not only at the forefront of scientific and scholarly inquiry, but also ones that also go straight to the heart of questions every human being asks,” Krauss said. “The fact that we have been able fill the 2,700-seat Gammage Auditorium consistently with audience members willing to come to hear about science and listen to the scientists who are doing the work testifies to the intense interest these issues hold for the public at large.”

Tickets for the Origins Project Great Debate Transcending our Origins: Violence, Humanity and the Future are available online through Ticketmaster.com and at the ASU Gammage Box Office, (480) 965-3434. Discounted student tickets are available with a student ID at the Gammage Box Office. The first 1,250 tickets are free (two per person) to persons presenting a valid ASU ID at the Gammage Box Office only.

For more information on Origins events, please go to www.origins.asu.edu, or call (480) 965-0053.

Source:
Lawrence Krauss, (480) 965-6378

Media contact:
Skip Derra, skip.derra@asu.edu
(480) 965-4823