ASX returns to U of T


The U of T Astronomy and Space Exploration Society (ASX) will be holding their eighth annual “Expanding Canada’s Frontiers” symposium, titled “Unraveling the Universe”, on Friday, January 28, at Convocation Hall. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the event will begin at 7, with a reception to follow at 10.

“Unraveling the Universe” refers to the recent technological advancements, such as the Large Hadron Collider, which have made it possible for some of the biggest mysteries of the universe to be revealed.

According to their website,, “The quest to understand the universe has been an endeavour of humans for centuries. In recent years, scientific research and discoveries in the astrophysics and particle physics arena have been increasing in numbers and gaining much popularity.

Recognizing this, ASX is pleased to present a lineup of prominent speakers giving talks relating to ‘unraveling the universe’. The topics feature phenomena relating all the way from quarks to quasars—from the latest particle physics research at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), galaxy clusters, and gravitational lensing, to supernovae, dark energy, and black holes. This event aims to educate the public on some of the projects in space exploration, and encourage students and the public to get informed and involved in the exciting discoveries of the space industry. In the past, the symposium has featured famous astronauts, numerous top researchers, and leaders in the space industry.”

The annual “Expanding Canada’s Frontiers” symposiums are ASX signature events, and the biggest astronomy symposium in Canada. It has featured such well-renowned speakers as Chris Hadfield (a Canadian astronaut), Anousheh Ansari (the first female private space explorer), Dr. Peter Schultz (NASA LCROSS), and Dr. Bob Richards (Odyssey Moon; ISU Co-Founder).

Last year, more than 1,000 attended the event, which boasted four guest speakers. Guests included Dr. Firouz Naderi, associate director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Schultz, a co-investigator on NASA’s Lunar Crater Observing and Sensing Satellite mission, which searched for water on the moon in 2009.

This year, the symposium welcomes the University of California at Berkeley’s Dr. Alexei Vladimir Filippenko, one of the world’s foremost researchers on supernovae; Dr. Michel Lefebvre, founder of the Canadian ATLAS collaboration project and recent chair of the Subatomic Physics Grant Selection Committee of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada; and Dr. Gilbert Holder, the Canada Research Chair in Cosmological Astrophysics and associate professor of physics at McGill University. Their biographies can be found on the ASX website a

Run by students and alumni of U of T, the ASX is a non-profit organization started in 2003. Since then it’s expanded to over 2,400 members. Their mission is “to educate, excite, and inspire students and the general public about astronomy and space exploration.” Their events regularly attract more than 1,500 attendees per year.

The organization is currently looking for volunteers for the symposium. Those interested in participating can email [email protected] with “symposium volunteering” in the subject line.

The ASX is also looking for “StarTalks Speakers” who have “educational, exciting, and inspiring ideas and activities” to give a 10-minute talk to an audience at the symposium. The application form is available on the website and should be emailed back to [email protected]

Admission is free for students from any university who pre-register and have valid student I.D. Students can register to attend the symposium at

There is a $20 early bird special for non-students, and admission is $25 at the door. To guarantee seating, the ASX encourages interested attendees to obtain tickets in advance. For tickets, visit