What is The Next Big Question?

    The Canadian Institute for Advanced Research Announces National Event
    Tour to Get Canadians Talking about the Big Questions Our Planet Faces

    TORONTO, Aug. 22 /CNW/ - This fall, the Canadian Institute for Advanced
Research (CIFAR) will take a group of the best and brightest minds out of
their labs and offices to tour the country and challenge Canadians to think
about the biggest questions facing our world today. Questions that will lead
to the next significant shifts in human understanding - the way we perceive
the Earth, our health, our history, our future.
    The tour of public forums and invitation-only private dinners will touch
down in Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.
At each stop, three researchers from CIFAR will make a case for why the
question their research program investigates is The Next Big Question.
Audience members will have an opportunity to join in the discussion and cast
their vote for which question they think is the biggest and most pressing.
    "Every generation is defined by the questions it asks and answers - is
the earth flat? Did humans evolve from apes? Can we travel to other planets?"
says Richard W. Ivey, CIFAR Chairman. "Curiosity is an innate part of our
humanity, and has fuelled all of our progress and development. I hope that The
Next Big Question tour piques Canadians' curiosity to pause and consider what
questions truly are most important."
    "There is a great deal of exciting work going on in advanced research in
Canada that Canadians are not aware of," explains Chaviva Hošek,
President and CEO of CIFAR. "This tour is an opportunity to capture the
imagination of Canadians by lifting the veil on the inner workings of advanced
research. We want to show people that CIFAR dares to ask the big questions
that are vital to our shared future."
    CIFAR has been asking - and answering - big questions for 25 years. By
enabling the very best Canadian researchers to work closely at the highest
levels of thought and skill with each other and with their top international
peers, CIFAR has become one of the world's leading research institutes. The
questions that CIFAR's research programs tackle are complex and globally
significant. They address society, technology and the very nature of humanity
and the universe.
    In the past year alone, CIFAR researchers have solved a decades-old
mystery about the nature of superconductors, discovered the parts of
chromosomes that contain genes linked to autism, confirmed the past existence
of oceans on Mars and identified extremely powerful links between social
contact and happiness. They lead the world in fields as diverse as quantum
computing, epigenetics, string theory, economics, microbial biology,
climatology and much more.
    In addition to attending the free public events, Canadians can also
express their opinions online at www.TheNextBigQuestion.ca.
    CanWest and GE Canada are proud sponsors of the national tour.

    The Next Big Question National Tour
    Public Forum Dates and Locations:

    September 26 - 4:30 p.m.
    Neptune Studio Theatre

    October 16 - 4:30 p.m.
    Montreal Science Centre

    November 1 - 4:30 p.m.
    Vancouver Public Library

    November 6 - 4:30 p.m.
    Lister Conference Centre, University of Alberta

    November 8 - 4:30 p.m.
    Telus World of Science

    November 14 - 4:30 p.m.
    Great Hall, Hart House

    About CIFAR

    Created in 1982, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research supports
long-term, collaborative research projects involving top Canadian and
international scholars. Through these programs, which address complex,
multidisciplinary questions, CIFAR transforms fields of study, fuels applied
research and technological advance, and informs policy development at the
provincial, national and international levels. For more information visit the
CIFAR website at www.cifar.ca.

For further information:

For further information: Nicole Bell Davies, Media Profile, (416)
342-1833, nicole@mediaprofile.com; Rachel Thexton, Media Profile, (604)
609-6153, rachel@mediaprofile.com

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