ASX 12th Annual Symposium “Stellar Graveyard”

Location and Time:JJR MacLeod Auditorium (MS 2158), 1 King’s College Circle from 7-10 pm the night of Friday, January 23, 2015.

We are honored to be featuring:

Professor Christian Ott from California Institute of Technology,

The Theory of Stellar Death and Explosion: Massive stars die in spectacular core-collapse supernova explosions and leave behind neutron stars or black holes. The explosions eject the products of stellar nucleosynthesis into the interstellar medium from which planets form and life is made. I discuss the physics of massive stars, their evolution towards collapse, and the complex and rich physics of core collapse and the subsequent explosion as elucidated by new three-dimensional supercomputer simulations. I outline how observations with new messengers — gravitational waves and neutrinos –can yield new insights and test our theories about the highly dynamical processes occurring at the heart of the next core-collapse supernova that exploding in the Milky Way.

Professor Samar Safi-Harb from University of Manitoba,

Supernova explosions are among the most energetic explosions in the Universe. As the main ingredients for recycling of both matter and energy in the Universe, they enrich the interstellar medium with the elements we are made of, accelerate cosmic rays to extremely high energies, and (sometimes) leave behind neutron stars: highly compact and hot stars whose central densities are comparable to nuclear densities and whose magnetic fields can exceed the Earth’s a trillion-fold or even much more! I will share both the excitement and the physics learnt from studying these fascinating, extreme, objects and highlight the growing diversity of compact objects and nebulae unveiled through high-energy observations. I will conclude with an outlook to the future with highlights of Canada’s recent involvement in high-energy missions, including the upcoming ASTRO-H X-ray satellite.

Professor Harvey Richer from University of British Columbia,

White dwarf stars are the end product of stellar evolution for stars up to about 8 times the mass of the Sun. About 98% of all stars will end their lives as white dwarfs, thus demanding that we understand them in detail. We have been observing these stars in ancient star clusters and are using them to study a number of interesting questions. Among these are:
1) What are the ages of the oldest visible stars?
2) Can we use white dwarfs as dynamical clocks?
3) What can we learn about the interior physics in white dwarfs?
Most of our data come from observations with the Hubble Space Telescope. I’ll describe why we choose to use this instrument and provide a primer on how to get time on it.

Quick Links: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Students: FREE (with ID and pre-registration) from ANY university, college or school

Public: $15

Ticketing: Eventbrite

This is the 12th annual symposium organized by ASX. In the past, the symposium has featured famous astronauts, numerous top researchers, and leaders in the space industry. Previously, this annual event had attracted more than 1000 audience members.

Symposium Volunteers Needed

ASX is seeking volunteers for the Symposium. If you are interested in participating in the planning of one of the largest events run at the University of Toronto, send us an email to, with subject line “Symposium Volunteering”. Let us know if you would like to help in a particular area (e.g promotions, program logistics, day of event tasks, etc).

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ASX 11th Annual Symposium “Into the Cosmos”

Location and Time:JJR MacLeod Auditorium (MS 2158), 1 King’s College Circle from 7-10 pm the night of Friday, January 24, 2014.
Tickets available at Eventbrite.

This is the 11th annual symposium organized by ASX. This event aims to educate the public on some aspects of cosmology, and encourage students and the public to get informed and involved in the exciting projects and discoveries in cosmology. In the past, the symposium has featured famous astronauts, numerous top researchers, and leaders in the space industry. Previously, this annual event had attracted more than 600 audience members.

We are honored to be featuring:

Professor Anthony Aguirre (University of California, Santa Cruz)

Professor Matt Dobbs (University of McGill)

Professor Rafael Lopez-Mobilia (University of Texas at San Antonio)

Professor Anthony Aguirre from University of California, Santa Cruz

During the past two decades astronomers and cosmologists have assembled an extremely successful model that accurately describes and explains the evolution of the observable universe over the past 13.8 billion years, most recently confirmed with amazing accuracy by the PLANCK satellite’s observations of the cosmic microwave background. A key component of this cosmological “standard model” is the theory of Inflation, in which at ultra-early times the universe was expanding exponentially. Originally envisaged as an important but brief cosmological epoch, since Inflation’s invention cosmologists have realized that in many cases inflation completely upends our picture of the ultra large-scale structure of the universe, and suggests that the universe lasts forever, may not have had a beginning, and has enormous size and complexity that is best described as a ‘multiverse’. Aguirre will trace the development of these ideas, as well as look forward to prospects for testing or even confirming the idea of an infinite inflationary multiverse.

Professor Matt Dobbs from University of McGill

Mankind has been looking up at the cosmos throughout history, asking big questions such as, “what is our place in the universe, … how did it begin?” Today, astronomers and scientists have been addressing questions such as these through adventurous exploits that are yielding big answers. In this talk we’ll journey to Antarctica where the South Pole Telescope was built to answer questions about the origin, fate, and composition of the universe.

Professor Rafael Lopez-Mobilia from University of Texas at San Antonio

Cosmology is by now considered a precision science. It has achieved impressive advances in both observation and theory over the last few decades, which finally provide us with good answers to the ancient questions about the origin of the universe, its age and composition, its structure and how it developed, and its likely future evolution. Still, lots of mysteries remain, such as the nature of dark matter and dark energy, the cosmic asymmetry between matter and antimatter, and whether the universe is finite or infinite. In this talk we will explore these mysteries and some of the proposed explanations, and also speculate about what the possible consequences might be for our understanding of the cosmos and of the fundamentals laws of physics.

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Past Symposia

2008 Symposium: Lunar Exploration

Featuring Dr. Robert Richards, Odyssey Moon
John Connolly, NASA
Prof. Ariel Anbar, Arizona State University

host: David Rajzman, U of T
Date & Time Friday, January 25, 2008, 7:00 PM
(Pre-show at 6:00 PM,
Reception at 10:00 PM)
Location The Bloor Cinema
506 Bloor Street West,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

2007 Symposium: The Search for Life

Featuring Dr. Max Bernstein, NASA Ames
Prof. Ray Jayawardhana, U of T
host: Tahir Merali, U of T
Date & Time Friday, January 26, 2007, 7:00 PM
(Doors open at 6:30 PM)
Location Convocation Hall,
University of Toronto
31 King’s College Circle,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

2006 Symposium: Our journey into the Future

Featuring Prof. Mike Brown, CalTech
Nagin Cox, NASA JPL
Prof. Fran Bagenal, U of Colorado at Boulder
Prof. Ray Carlberg, U of T
host: Rahul Chandra, U of T
Date & Time Friday, January 20, 2006, 7:00 PM
Location Convocation Hall,
University of Toronto
31 King’s College Circle,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

2005 Symposium: … in Space

Featuring Dr. Carolyn Porco, Space Science Institute
Dr. James Rice, Arizona State University
Dr. Laurie Chappell, MDA Space Missions
Prof. Slavek Rucinski, MOST, U of T
Prof. Jaymie Matthews, MOST, UBC
host: Ivan Semeniuk, Discovery Channel
Date & Time Friday, January 28, 2005, 7:00 PM
Location Convocation Hall,
University of Toronto
31 King’s College Circle,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

2004 Symposium: To Mars and Beyond

Featuring Astronaut Chris Hadfield, CSA
Prof. Dimitar Sasselov, MOST, Harvard University
Dr. Vicky Hipkin, U of T
Dr. Darlene Lim, NASA Ames
host: Bob McDonald, CBC
Date & Time Friday, January 16, 2004, 7:00 PM
Location Convocation Hall,
University of Toronto
31 King’s College Circle,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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Symposium FAQ


Q: I am a student,  but not at the University of Toronto.  Does the ‘Free Admission’ for Symposium apply to me?

A: Yes!  The Symposium is FREE to all students (with valid student ID), no matter which university, college, or school you are from (even if from outside of Canada).  To reserve your seat, however, make sure you get your tickets in advance.


Q: How can I obtain tickets?

A: STUDENT tickets can be obtained via eventbrite:
Simply fill in the short registration form, after which you will receive a confirmation email.  With this registration, a seat will be reserved for you.  Print the confirmation email and bring it with you to the event, but don’t forget your student ID!  Each student must register separately.

PUBLIC tickets can be obtained from U of T TIX, via:
1) website – (24 hours a day)
2) phone – 416.978.8849 (M-F 11am – 5pm)*
3) in person – University of Toronto, Hart House (lower level hallway),
View Larger Map” target=”_blank”>7 Hart House Cir, Toronto; office hours*: M-F 11am – 5pm
* closed for holiday from 5pm on Fri Dec 19 to 11am on Mon Jan 5)
Note: online orders incur a processing fee of $1 per ticket

Q: Can I purchase tickets at the door?

A: Yes, however, the price will be higher (for pulic), and there is no guarantee that there will be seats available at that time.  We anticipate that this will be a popular event, so to avoid disappointment obtain your tickets early.


Q: How does seating work?

A: Student and Public tickets are “General Admission”, which means there is no assigned seating.  Seating is available on a first come first served basis, so make sure you arrive at the event early (doors open at 6pm).

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