The symposium On Human Origins and the Future of Humanity took place April 18/19 in the 50th year of the discovery of Lucy by Prof. Donald Johanson who will be one of a number of keynote speakers. Johanson's discovery forever changed mankind's view of ourselves. The program delved into the origin of Life itself and highlighted further and recent developments in the understanding of our genetic heritage, evaluating how mankind has evolved and what new scientific discoveries and technologies will mean for human life going forward. The program considered where humankind is potentially headed given new scientific understanding and discoveries, that offer the abilities to extend life and human capabilities. We looked at our place as a species, in terms of time, our role in nature, in tangent with the many challenges and opportunities that lay before us, such as ecological instability, species extinction and procurement and allocation of dwindling resources.


Lectures and panel discussions, in chronological order:

Our Place in the Future: Lessons from a 3-million-year-old ancestor | 

Donald C. Johanson, Arizona State University, United States

The Origin of Life: Not as Hard as it Looks? | 

Jack W. Szostak, 2009 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, Howard Hughes Medical Institute / University of Chicago, United States

Exploring Molecular Signatures of Life | 

Ben L. Feringa, 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, University of Groningen, Netherlands

Panel discussion with Donald Johanson, Jack Szostak and Ben Feringa | 

Steps toward Complex Matter: Chemistry!  | 

Jean-Marie Lehn, 1987 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, University of Strasbourg / Collège de France, France

Molecular Click Adventures – A Leap from the Shoulders of Giants  | 

Morten Meldal, 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Evolution for Chemical Innovation | (Video not available)

Frances H. Arnold, 2018 Nobel laureate in Chemistry, California Institute of Technology, United States

Panel discussion with Frances Arnold, Jean-Marie Lehn and Morten Meldal | 

Pain and suffering: the agony of not knowing |  

Tim Hunt, 2001 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, Francis Crick University, United Kingdom

Future Vaccines and therapeutics ; approaches to deliver mRNA and other macromolecules |   

Robert S. Langer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States

CRISPR-Cas: the power of microbiology for a transformative genomic engineering technology | (Video not available)

Emmanuelle Charpentier, 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Pathogens Berlin, Germany

Panel discussion with Emmanuelle Charpentier, Tim Hunt and Robert Langer | 

Spaceflight: past, current and future |   

Christer Fuglesang, Sweden's first astronaut in Space

Planetary Boundaries: A tool to guide management of Human-Earth interactions |

Katherine Richardson, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Molecular Precision for Betterment of Humanity |

Omar M. Yaghi, University of California, Berkeley, United States

From Reading to Writing the Genetic Code |

J. Craig Venter, J.Craig Venter Institute, United States

Panel discussion with Omar Yaghi, Katherine Richardson and Craig Venter | 


Download a copy of the program here


More information about the symposium is available on Next Breath

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