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Webcast to beam Origins Symposium to wide audience

March 18, 2009

Live captioned webcasting is one of the options that students and the public – from Tempe to Chengdu, China – can use to watch and hear the world’s leading science intellectuals and authors discuss forefront questions of origins at ASU’s Origins Symposium April 3 and 6.

Tickets to public lectures and panel discussions on April 6 are nearly sold out, but live captioned webcasting, public viewing rooms on all four ASU campuses, and broadcasts on ASUtv are among the options for those unable to obtain tickets. ASUtv is available to the public on Cox Digital Cable, Channel 116, and Quest Choice TV, Channel 138. More information and a webcasting link can be found online at

“The Origins Symposium at ASU is one of the most exciting public science events held ever, anywhere,” says Lawrence Krauss, professor and director of the Origins Initiative at ASU.

Krauss, a theoretical physicist and cosmologist in ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has assembled a spectacular array of scientists for the symposium. The guest list ranges from Stephen Hawking, “perhaps, the most famous living scientist” whose book “A Brief History of Time” has sold more than 10 million copies, to Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist and “one of the most visible scientists on TV and radio.” Also scheduled is J. Craig Venter, who helped decode the human genome, and a panel of Nobel laureates moderated by Ira Flatow, host of “Science Friday” on National Public Radio.

Flatow also will broadcast “Science Friday” live from ASU’s Tempe campus from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., April 3, in Katzin Concert Hall.

Besides Krauss, who is a faculty member in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and the Physics Department, two other faculty members from ASU – Paul Davies and Ariel Anbar – are scheduled to be among the on-air guests. Davies is a theoretical physicist and cosmologist in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, while Anbar is an associate professor in ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, as well as the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

“In addition, there will be an exciting and diverse panel including Hugh Downs, Ann Druyan and Neil deGrasse Tyson, with perhaps a surprise guest or two, to discuss science and culture at the April 6 evening presentation,” Krauss says. “The symposium will truly span what the Origins Initiative at ASU will continue to explore – from the origins of the laws of nature to the nature of human consciousness and culture.”

Symposium speakers will address some of the forefront questions and mysteries associated with our existence, Krauss says, such as:

• How did the universe begin?
• How does life evolve?
• How do human institutions arise and develop?
• What will be the technologies of the future?

“The symposium inaugurates what I hope will be one of the most exciting new education and research initiatives anywhere,” Krauss says. “ASU is uniquely positioned for this initiative, with great strengths across cosmology, evolutionary biology and human evolution.”

Among the speakers at the public symposium April 6 will be Donald Johanson, founding director of the Institute of Human Origins in ASU’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change.

Other notable visiting scientists scheduled to speak throughout the day on April 6 include Steven Pinker, Brian Greene, Baruch Blumberg, David Gross, Walter Gilbert, Sheldon Glashow, John Mather and Frank Wilczek.

On April 2, a special panel of science journalists, including Flatow, Dennis Overbye and Claudia Dreifus of the New York Times, and Sharon Begley of Newsweek, are scheduled to meet with students at the Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

A schedule of speakers and presentations can be found online at