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UB to host Origins, a symposium on how things begin

A full day of academic talks will discuss the origins of the universe, the Earth, life, consciousness and culture

Release Date: December 9, 2013

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Download Event Flyer:
“People tend to get stuck in narrow boxes, but many ideas that are truly transformative come from hearing points of view outside of your own field of thought.”
Will Kinney, associate professor of physics
University at Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A group of University at Buffalo colleagues has put together an eclectic event aimed at breaking boundaries between disciplines: Origins @ UB, a daylong symposium at which experts in fields from philosophy to physics will discuss one “Big Question”: Where did we come from?

The public is invited.

When: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 16

Where: 120 Clemens Hall on UB’s North Campus (building No. 9 in the orange section of this map: http://bit.ly/1jq1rRX)

One-line event description: A symposium on the origins of the universe, the Earth, life, consciousness and culture

What: The agenda will consist of 40-minute academic lectures by UB College of Arts and Sciences researchers, including:

  • David Braun (philosophy)
  • Craig Colder (psychology)
  • Omer Gokcumen (biological sciences)
  • Tracy Gregg (geology)
  • Will Kinney (physics)
  • Charles Mitchell (geology)
  • Salvatore Rappoccio (physics)
  • Paige Sarlin (media study)
  • Phil Stevens (anthropology)

The talks will look at problems like the influence of mass extinction on evolution, and time as an emergent property in the Big Bang.

Who should come: Anyone interested in hearing graduate-level presentations. The event is free and open to the UB community and public.

Why you should come: It’s a way to push your intellectual boundaries, says Will Kinney, UB associate professor of physics, who planned the event with UB geologist Tracy Gregg and fellow UB physicists Salvatore Rappoccio and Dejan Stojkovic.

“There’s a need for creative spaces that span disciplines, and this is a first attempt at creating that space,” he said. “People tend to get stuck in narrow boxes, but many ideas that are truly transformative come from hearing points of view outside of your own field of thought.”

Kinney is a co-founder of Buffalo’s Science & Art Cabaret, which brings scientists and artists together a few times a year to speak to the public about a common theme. Since its creation in 2009, the cabaret — usually held in a basement club — has tackled topics ranging from magic and illusions to relativity.

Origins @ UB will be a little different, featuring colloquium-level lectures geared toward graduate students and faculty members. The conversation will be more academic in nature — but still entertaining.

In a flyer promoting the event, Kinney writes, “The theme of Origins is a jumping-off point, not a straitjacket: each speaker is challenged to ask how his or her research, or field as a whole, contributes to understanding where we, as individuals or as a society or as a species or as an ecosystem or as a cosmos, came from.”

Sponsors: Physics at the Falls conference series and the UB Humanities Institute

Media Contact Information

Charlotte Hsu
Director of News Content, Architecture and Regional Planning, Sciences
Tel: 716-645-4655
chsu22@buffalo.edu
Twitter: @UBScience
Pinterest: UB Science