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Origins research addresses some of the most interesting and important questions of fundamental science:
Answers to the many questions will involve a interdisciplinary approach that utilizes ideas and techniques from diverse fields such as astrophysics, physics, biology and biochemistry, mathematics, geology, chemistry, anthropology, and advanced computational and visualization techniques.
The Origins Institute (OI) at McMaster University
The Origins Institute in the Faculty of Science at McMaster University commences operations July 1, 2004. The first Director of the OI is Dr. Ralph E. Pudritz of the Department of Physics and Astronomy and its first Associate Director is Jonathon Stone of the Department of Biology, both at McMaster University. Its current membership consists of 25 faculty members from the Departments of Physics and Astronomy, Mathematics and Statistics, Biology, Biochemistry, Geography and Geology, Psychology, and the Dept. of Anthropology - as well as members at the Perimeter Institute and TRIUMF. Collaborative links with national and international institutes and universities are sought.

Recognizing that fundamental science is also nourished by and has basic responsibilities towards university and public education, the OI will develop internationally recognized programs that rest on three pillars of activity:

Interdisciplinary Research - Featuring Origins Scientific Workshops and an Origins Postdoctoral Program.

Public Outreach - Featuring an annual Origins public Lecture Series.

Scientific Themes - The fundamental Origins questions range over 6 basic interdisciplinary themes. The OI will focus on a few well-crafted programs within this set.

  • The Origin of Space and Time
    (particle physics, the early universe)
  • The Origins of Structure in the Universe
    (galaxies, stars and planets)
  • The Origin of the Elements
    (nuclear astrophysics)
  • The Origins of Life
    (evolutionary biology and astrobiology)
  • The Origins of Species
    (biodiversity, adaptation)
  • The Origins of Humanity and Consciousness

1. OI Science Workshops
A central aspect of the Institute's scientific research program is to run well-focused, 3-4 week long, research workshops. The first OI science workshop will occur from May 23 - June 4 2005 on the theme: "Astrobiology and the Origins of Life".
2. OI Public Lecture Series and Outreach Facilities:
The Origins Public Lecture Series is designed to bring world-class researchers to McMaster to give free public talks in areas of fundamental scientific research and broad public interest.
3. Origins Undergraduate Specialization
The undergradaute specialization will allow up to 40 outstanding undergraduate students, registered in some "home" department, to take a 3 year specialization that focuses on Origins themes and an undergraduate research thesis in some area.

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