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Past Conferences
 

Where can we turn to find the story of our lives, an existential roadmap that explains where we have come from, why we are here, and where we are headed? Must each of us discover meaning within the context of our individual lives, or are there universal sources of meaning that we can all access? Is there any relationship between living a meaningful life, and the quality of our health and well-being? Neurologist Jay Lombard, philosophers Massimo Pigliucci and Michael Ruse, and author Emily Esfahani Smith join forces to shed light on these perennial questions from their respective disciplines.

 

The notion that humans, in all their complexity, are merely an evolutionary accident, an insignificant speck in a boundless cosmos, is deeply unsatisfying for most non-scientists and fails to resonate with their life experience. What, then, can evolutionary biology ultimately tell us about the meaning of our lives? Paleoanthropologists Melanie Chang and Ian Tattersall, and paleontologist Simon Conway Morris share their insights on these competing concepts, and explain how meaning and purpose can be gleaned from the remarkable story of life itself.

From the birth of galaxies to the self-organizing dynamics of our planet to the ongoing expansion of the universe, the more we discover about the evolution of the cosmos, the more acutely we realize the enormity of what remains to be known. Remarkably, over the past 100 years we have learned more about life in our universe than the entire history of humanity put together. What guidance or wisdom can the study of cosmology and astrophysics offer us in our search for meaning and purpose? Theoretical physicists Paul Davies and Ard Louis, and astrophysicist Lucianne Walkowicz tackle the “big questions” of existence.