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Other Partners

Center for the Study of Origins (CSO)


What is the study of origins?

In every department of every university the goal of research and teaching is understanding. We understand a thing when we can explain it. Explanations come in different kinds, however. The most familiar sorts of explanation are those that draw upon or attempt a universal theory couched in general principles, the paradigms of which are found in theoretical physics. In a great many cases, however, the understanding we seek cannot be framed as a universal theory but is instead fundamentally historical in nature. In these cases, we seek to explain not through general principles but through an understanding of origins.

Why CU-Boulder?

CSO is part of the campus-wide Grand Challenge Initiative (GCI). GCI includes projects in Earth and space science, which are two of CU’s areas of greatest strength, as well as the study of origins. The origins project is unique in its inclusiveness, however. While connecting with important issues in Earth and space science, such as historical explanations for changes in Earth’s climate over the past 500 years and the fate of the ancient Martian ocean, CSO brings together researchers from the social sciences and humanities, as well as the natural sciences, to investigate an underappreciated but important issue, namely, the diversity, nature and justification of hypotheses and theories about the past and how they inform our understanding of the present and the future.


The Center for the Study of Origins (CSO) fosters interdisciplinary investigations into specific topics on origins and transdisciplinary research into the general nature (structure, justification, and function) of theories of origins, including ways in which they are used to understand the present and envision the future.

CU Science Discovery


CU Science Discovery is a science education outreach program of the University of Colorado Boulder's Division of Continuing Education. Founded in 1983 to heighten young students' interest in science, CU Science Discovery coordinates an array of programs that connect K-12 students and teachers to current CU science. Each program utilizes CU scientific expertise, equipment, resources and graduate or undergraduate students in order to provide K-12 students and teachers with unique, experiential learning STEM experiences. All programs are designed to be highly interactive and relevant, in order to engage students in the scientific process while connecting them to the science and technology present in their everyday lives.

Through hands-on summer camps and after-school classes, homeschool classes, teacher workshops, school programs, and community outreach events, Science Discovery impacts approximately 30,000 students, teachers and community members throughout Colorado each year.


CU Science Discovery's mission is to heighten interest and increase literacy in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by providing hands-on experiences that connect students and teachers to current CU science. Science Discovery capitalizes on CU Boulder's scientific resources, facilities and expertise to excite students about STEM, expose them to a variety of STEM careers and professionals and inspire a future generation of scientists and engineers.

Materials Science and Engineering Program (MSE)


The Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) Program is an interdisciplinary Ph.D. and M.S. program aimed at providing a rigorous education in materials science and engineering and the fundamental physics, engineering, chemistry and biology that underlie this discipline. Educational goals are achieved through both coursework and training in cross-disciplinary research supervised by one or more science and engineering faculty members.


Serve as a campus-wide resource for materials research and education activities, bringing together faculty from across the UCB campus to leverage expertise and facilities, promoting impactful research in materials science and engineering and enhancing Departmental materials research efforts as well as materials-related efforts that are a part of current campus initiatives and programs such as space science/aerospace engineering, energy systems, renewable and sustainable energy, biotechnology, biomedicine and geosciences;

Create a vibrant materials science research and engineering program that is both highly visible within the UCB community and internationally recognized;

Recruit, train and graduate outstanding doctoral students with degrees in both MSE and the various disciplinary UCB Departments pursuing materials research;

Attract outstanding faculty to the MSE Program and its participating departments;

Support, organize and develop world-class major instrumentation, shared facilities and infrastructure that enables outstanding materials research; and

Catalyze the pursuit of block funding in the materials research arena through coordination of interdisciplinary materials research teams, and fostering of Centers and major collaborations.

Mortenson Center in Global Engineering


The Mortenson Center combines education, research, and partnerships to improve development tools and practice. We train engineers to recognize the issues at the core of development challenges, and collaborate with partners across the CU-Boulder campus and the world to create sustainable, scalable, evidence-based and multidisciplinary solutions to global development problems. Our program provides multiple pathways for engineers to enter the field of development engineering.


Among engineering professionals, create awareness of developing world issues and provide the knowledge and tools necessary to work in the fields of community recovery and development.

Promote research, design and development of holistic solutions for developing communities that account for technical and non-technical issues.

Build local community capacity through collaboration with organizations working in developing communities worldwide.