The Institute for the Science of Origins is excited to sponsor the Origins Science Scholars Program for the general public at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

red-rectangle-join-us-button-hiDuring this unique program, members of the community engage with each other and with leading scholars of the origins sciences to investigate everything from the big bang to the developing mind and emerging life. Each evening begins with a presentation by a world-class researcher, followed by dinner and open discussion among all the participants.

We are excited to share unique and challenging perspectives and hope to leave participants better educated about origins research and the Institute for the Science of Origins.

We look forward to seeing you!

Click here to see videos of past OSS lectures!
Click here to register online
To register by phone: Call Felicia at 216-368-2090

Spring 2020 Program

.The seven-week program addresses new issues::

“The New Body-Machine Interface”
“Mother & Child Health”
“Fire, Food and our Future Climate”
“Smart and Sensible Renewable Energy”


When: April 14, 2020 through May 26, 2020
Where: ONLINE! (access info provided with free registration)
n.b. Sessions usually take place on the campus of Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, but this semester all will be online, free and open to the public! Also check out the free online talks in our “Life, the Universe and Hot Dogs” series! 

Tuesday evenings
Lectures begin at 6pm, followed by Q&A and discussion
(n.b. Our in-person evenings include dinner but due to current circumstances, we can’t eat together this semester. However, we encourage you to order in a meal from one of the great University Circle restaurants or one of your own local favorites and enjoy it at leisure while listening to our speakers!)


April 14

Dustin Tyler
Case Western Reserve University

“Biology and Human-machine Relationships in the Present”

This session will be held online.

Building on 40+ years of neurotechnology success, Tyler’s lab at CWRU explores the fascinating interface between the body and machine guided by a vision that goes beyond prosthetic limbs to interface the human body with technological advances to achieve direct neural connections between machine and human sensorimotor systems to create human-centered, symbiotic relationships between humans and technology.


April 21

Dustin Tyler
Case Western Reserve University

“Human-machine relationships: Engineering the Future”

This session will be held online.

 Tyler’s lab at CWRU strives to spin out revolutionary HFi technology to new enterprises, to expand the limits of human experience through a human technology interface, and to enhance one’s sense of self, community, and capability beyond  biological barriers. Tyler is working toward a world of human fusion in which a person can be directly connected to an avatar in a place far remote, perhaps a surgeon in Cleveland could perform an operation on a patient on the other side of the world. The human experience connects to the Avatar’s experience, the human and the robotic system become symbiotically linked. The human experiences the world of the robot. The robot becomes the extension of the human and the human intelligence. 

April 28

Jurgen Bosch
Johns Hopkins University & Case Western Reserve University

“The 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic”

This session will be held online
The 2020 pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has upended lives across most of the world.  Jurgen Bosch will give us an insider’s view of the current state of the pandemic and introduce us to the tools and techniques scientists are using to fight the outbreak. Before turning his attention to SARS-CoV-2, Dr Bosch’s focus was on finding a vaccine against Malaria, and research on aspects of Cancer, Cystic fibrosis and Antifungals. He is the author of more than 80 peer reviewed publications and holds five patents. 


May 5

Nicole Burt
Cleveland Museum of Natural History

“Breastfeeding and Maternal & Child Health”

This session will be held online

Biological and forensic anthropologist Nicole Burt uses stable isotope analysis to reconstruct dietary patterns in children. Her work has yielded information about breastfeeding and weaning patterns in ancient and modern human populations, studying diet, childhood growth and osteology by analyzing teeth and bone. Isotope ratios reflect what an individual’s dietary makeup was in life. Burt’s unique research methods allow her to reconstruct what a person ate—more corn than wheat, or more fish than pork, for example. In infants, breastfeeding and weaning patterns are preserved in their teeth, which allows Burt to determine when a child was weaned and what he or she ate afterward. She is even able to discern what the child’s mother ate during pregnancy. Burt is now turning her innovative techniques to the present, reaching out to connect with the area’s medical community and organizing a long-term research study examining the effects of maternal choices about breastfeeding and weaning on infant and maternal health. Her goal is to gather data that can be used to engage communities in Cleveland in conversations about ways to optimize maternal and child health.


May 12

Chris Cullis

Case Western Reserve University
Fire, Food and our Climate Future

Presented in collaboration with CWRU’s Emeriti Academy.
This session will be held online

Climate change is already transforming the world in which we live. Wildfires burning out of control aided and abetted by severe weather effects driven by global warming. Volatile changes in moisture, temperature and the other environmental factors on which our major food crops rely are putting the world’s bread baskets at risk. Most research on climate change offers a dim vision for our future, but is there hope? Plant geneticist Chris Cullis is working to develop heat and drought-resistant crops and strategies for farming that, alongside other measures, may be able to mitigate the ravages of climate disruption. It’s not too late. Judicious action today can bring about a better future if we act now. 

May 19

Robert Savinell
Case Western Reserve University

“Storing Energy for our Renewable Future”

Presented in collaboration with CWRU’s Emeriti Academy.
This session will be held online

The major challenge of renewable energy resources such as solar and wind involve how to store the energy they generate for future use. Robert Savinell’s expertise lies in electrochemical energy storage and conversion and his interests have included batteries, electrolysis, fuel cells, supercapacitors, and water treatment. His research is directed at fundamental science and engineering research for electrochemical systems and novel device design, development, and optimization. Savinell holds many  patents and his ground-breaking work has provided the inspiration for world-wide activity in developing high temperature polymer electrolytes, and has been licensed to several large multi-national corporations.


May 26

Yohannes Haile-Selassie

Cleveland Museum of Natural History

“New Skull Reveals Human Ancestor’s Face”

Presented in collaboration with CWRU’s Emeriti Academy.
This session will be held online

Yohannes Haile-Selassie, Curator of Physical Anthropology at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and an ISO Fellow, and a team including Dr Beverley Saylor of CWRU’s Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Science, and several CWRU students and alums discovered a beautifully preserved, nearly complete skull of the fossil hominid species Australiopitchecus anamensis, published last fall in the prestigious journal Nature. The anatomy of the fossil shows clear-cut features indicating it has ancestral (aka “primitive”) characteristics, as well as new “derived” characteristics not found in A. afarensis, the species to which Lucy belongs. The geology demonstrates that this species survived much later than had previously been thought. Indeed, at 3.8mya it overlaps considerably with Lucy’s species Australopithecus afarensis. Dr Haile-Selassie will walk us through the discovery and what it means to the emerging story of human origins.


Postponed til Spring 2021:

Katie Hinde, Arizona State University  “Mother’s Milk & the Evolving Microbiome

Katie Hinde is studying breast milk’s status as the first superfood, providing babies with invaluable microbes custom-tailored to their individual needs, via an incredible and unlikely dialogue between the mother’s enzymes and the baby’s saliva. Mother’s milk is older than dinosaurs. Interestingly, the biological recipe of milk differs between sons and daughters. Breast milk is food and medicine and is the message that organizes a baby’s brain, body and behavior. Milk has been shaped by hundreds of millions of years of natural selection. As scientists decode the mysteries of milk and its evolution, we gain essential new tools for human health and well-being.

Many Thanks! 

The ISO Origins Science Scholars Program is presented in cooperation with Case Western Reserve University’s College of Arts and Sciences and The Laura and Alvin Siegal Lifelong Learning Program and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and taped and broadcast in cooperation with CWRU’s MediaVision and IdeaStream.


Learn more:

For more information about the program, you can:
Download the Origins Science Scholars brochure

Click here to register online.
To register by phone: Call Felicia at 216-368-2090

CWRU Students:
If you’d like to sign up for a chance to attend the lecture and dinner on one of the above dates, please follow this link