Origins Project series to highlight human impact on Earth

November 19, 2014

For good or bad, humans have left an indelible imprint on Earth. In recognition of the impact of humans, from civilization to climate change, the Origins Project at Arizona State University will focus its 2015 activities on the "Year of the Anthropocene." In addition, Origins will launch an exciting new series involving dialogues with major public figures.

“We are very excited to begin in 2015 to focus on a series of ‘themes’ that will frame the yearly programming of the Origins Project,” said Lawrence Krauss, director of the Origins Project. Lawrence Krauss on project screen during Origins Great Debate event Download Full Image

“When considering possible topics, the Anthropocene jumped out immediately. Not only does humanity face a crossroads as it determines how it will respond to pressures in the 21st century that for the first time reflect the truly global impact of humanity on the development of our planet, but ASU is well positioned to lead in research regarding addressing these challenges. Origins can continue to galvanize public interest in these questions by bringing in the best minds from around the world, and also encouraging writers and other artists to collaborate with us to find answers that will affect the future for our children and grandchildren,” Krauss added.

“In addition, encouraged by the public interest in our Great Debate programs, we decided to launch a new series of more intimate dialogues with major figures from science, humanities, politics and the arts, and are extremely excited to host two dialogues in 2015 with actor Alan Alda and world-renowned public intellectual Noam Chomsky,” Krauss said. “These should be great opportunities to explore in-depth not only their ideas, but also what motivated them to do what they have done.”

Here are the public events the Origins Project has planned for 2015:

Science and art

An Origins Project Dialogue featuring Emmy Award-winning actor Alan Alda and Krauss, in a candid and unscripted conversation, will talk about the role of science and creativity in society. In "Science and Art, Long Lost Lovers," Alda and Krauss will talk about how science and art are very similar and complimentary rather than residing on the opposite ends of human creativity. The event will be held at 7 p.m., Jan. 15, at the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix.

Power of extinctions

One of the most powerful forces on Earth is extinction. In a public Great Debate, "Extinctions: Tragedy to Opportunity," (7 p.m., Feb. 7) to be held in ASU’s Gammage Auditorium, a celebrated panel of experts will talk about extinctions through history, from simple biological systems to modern technology, including the debate of what can be done to calm the current rate of extinctions to a perspective of extinctions as evolutionary opportunities, from biology to technology. Panelists include poet and naturalist Diane Ackerman, geneticist Craig Venter, evolutionary biologist Neil Shubin, ASU President Michael Crow, paleogeneticist Svante Paabo and planetary scientist Lindy Elkins-Tanton. Krauss will moderate.

Science, thought and social justice

American linguist, philosopher and cognitive scientist Noam Chomsky will engage with Krauss in an Origins Project Dialogue on "Science, Mind and Politics." The two will talk about contemporary issues on the nature of humanity, the power of science and the mind, and efforts in global social justice. The event will be held at 7 p.m., March 22, at ASU’s Gammage Auditorium.

Water, water, everywhere

A Great Debate on "Water: From Habitable Planet to Water Wars" will be held at 7 p.m., April 4, at ASU’s Gammage Auditorium. The debate will feature a high level panel of experts discussing the origins of planetary water, water in the solar system, the influence of water on life and the water challenges we will face in the 21st century, including water shortages during times of rising sea levels. Krauss will moderate, and an exciting panel is currently being assembled.

“We are certain these events will continue our tradition of bringing programs to Tempe and ASU that cannot be seen anywhere else in the world, explore questions of pressing public and scholarly interest, and in the process help continue to excite our loyal audience to boldly go where no one has gone before,” said Krauss.

Tickets for the "Extinctions" Great Debate will be available Dec. 1, 2014. Tickets for the "Water" Great Debate and the Origins Project Dialogue with Chomsky will be available in early 2015. Tickets for all events at Gammage Auditorium can be found online through and at the ASU Gammage Box Office, (480) 965-3434. A limited number of discounted student tickets are available with a student ID at the Gammage Box Office.

There are also a limited number of free tickets available – first-come, first-served – to all Origins Project events at Gammage. Persons must be present, in person, with a valid ASU ID at the Gammage Box Office.

Tickets to the Origins Project Dialogue with Alan Alda are now available at the Phoenix Convention Center Box Office: 100 N. 3rd Street, Phoenix. Box Office hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Tickets are also available through

ASU students with proper ID can receive tickets at no cost (limited seating) but must be present, in person, at the Phoenix Convention Center Box Office from now until 4 p.m., Jan 15, or at the Orpheum Theatre Box Office (203 W. Adams St., Phoenix) after 4 p.m., Jan. 15 (two hours before showtime) on the day of the performance.

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

Director, Media Relations and Strategic Communications


Arizona soldiers to join in mass military formation at Sun Devil Stadium, Dec. 7

November 19, 2014

Sun Devil Stadium will serve as the site of a mass military formation when Arizona’s soldiers and airmen and women are honored for their service on Dec. 7, the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941.

The event will honor the state’s military personnel and their families for their sacrifice during the last 13 years of conflict, as well as the state’s veteran and military support community. Immediately following the muster that starts at 11 a.m., Dec. 7, is the Arizona National Guard community open house. Ray Anderson speaking at press conference Download Full Image

Featured at the Arizona National Guard Muster and Community Expo will be Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire, Arizona Adjutant General.

“I am proud of each soldier and airman who voluntarily serves our state and nation, and the time has come to recognize them,” McGuire said.

Ray Anderson, Sun Devil Athletics director and university vice president, said the university is honored to host the event.

“As a university, we are recognized as one of the most military and veteran friendly universities in the country. We are very proud of that,” he said. “To engage and partner with the National Guard is an absolute pleasure, honor and privilege for us.”

Arizona State University has been named a “Military Friendly School” for six consecutive years by G.I. Jobs Magazine. The university also supports veterans and active-duty personnel by: awarding undergraduate and graduate degrees to students using GI Bill benefits since the program's rollout in 2009; opening the Pat Tillman Veterans Center in fall 2011; and expanding services to support a military, veteran and dependent population that has grown to more than 4,400 students. The university partners with the Pat Tillman Foundation in support of the Tillman Military Scholars program, which provides scholarships for active and veteran service members as well as their spouses.

ASU recently celebrated our nation’s military on all four campuses through Salute to Service with a variety of events that honored servicewomen and men. The university is ranked No. 2 as a "Best College for Veterans" by College Factual, a listing of the best colleges and universities for veterans nationwide. ASU’s veteran center is also home to VetSuccess on Campus, one of the original eight institutions selected to pilot this joint program with the VA.

Students, faculty, staff and the general public are welcome to attend the free military muster, and stadium gates will open to the general public at 9:30 a.m. The ceremony, a guard tradition dating back to the first muster of the colonial militia in 1636, is scheduled for 11 a.m. to noon, and will be followed by the community expo adjacent to the stadium from noon to 4 p.m. featuring more than 180 vendors, live entertainment, food, attractions, children’s activities, information booths, a job fair and more.

Arizona’s Army and Air National Guard, a force of more than 7,500 Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen, have supported more than 10,000 individual deployments to overseas contingency operations since Sept. 11, 2001.

For more information about the Arizona National Guard Muster and Expo, visit