Feb 18, 2020

Some questions are as old as time: Are we alone? Where do we come from? Why are we here? The ultimate origins of Humanity, Life, and the Universe itself are themes that pulse through science and popular culture and are among the most important and inspiring lines of inquiry we engage in as scientists and scholars.

The discovery of thousands of exoplanets and the determination that life arose on Earth very soon after its formation have opened the possibility that life, of at least a basic kind, could be common in the Universe. But, even in such a spirit of optimism, where should we look for new life and how would we recognize it? Only by better understanding how life-like chemical systems emerge, what physical environments are needed for such emergence, and what universal features would be expected of any version of “life,” can we hope to successfully engage in the search for life across the Galaxy.

We are positioning UW-Madison to be at the forefront of this revolution in science, to fulfill the Wisconsin Idea, and to find the answers to some of humanity’s deepest questions. To do this, we are in the planning stages of creating the Wisconsin Center for Origins Research (WiCOR) and we are inviting you to become a part of our effort. WiCOR will bring together scientists from Astronomy, Chemistry, Geoscience, Atmospheric/Oceanic Science and the life sciences, and draws on Statistics and Computer-and-Data Science. WiCOR will allow faculty from all these disciplines to come together and collaborate and share knowledge.

We are thrilled about taking a big step into the science of the origins of life. Please stay tuned for future news releases and please consider a gift on the Day of the Badger to show your Bucky Spirit and to help us launch WiCOR. Thank you for joining us on this journey.

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