As conspiracies around the origins of the coronavirus go mainstream, they present both challenges and learning opportunities for students studying socially responsible research and innovation

For over a year now there have been conspiracy theories swirling around that COVID was designed and engineered in a Chinese lab, that the research has its origins in the US, and even in some cases that Anthony Fauci-Director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases-is the evil mastermind behind all of this!

Despite their contorted implausibilities, these theories have persisted in the face of evidence to the contrary. And in recent weeks they have been given a boost as a new wave over concerns around “gain-of -unction research” have hit the headlines.

The timing here is…


What exactly is the future, how are we connected to it, and what is our responsibility to it?

These are questions that the new podcast Future Rising grapples with as it takes listeners on a journey that starts with the Big Bang, and ends with our responsibility to future generations within an increasingly complex world.

They’re also questions that are deeply pertinent to my work as an Associate Dean in the Arizona State University College of Global Futures as I grapple with how we build a more just, equitable and vibrant future together — and how we help everyone to…


What have pendulums, the future, and Iron Man, got in common? More than you might at first think!

Swinging Stick™ Double Pendulum

Several years ago now, I had the pleasure of being the inaugural Charles and Rita Gelman Professor of Risk Science at the University of Michigan. As is often the case with such positions, I was asked to give a public lecture to mark my inauguration.

I gave that lecture back in the fall of 2010. And throughout it it, I had a rather curious device sitting on the desk in front of me.

The device was a double pendulum that was identical to the one that featured in the 2010 movie Iron Man 2, and that ended up being a…


Eight weeks ago, Mission: Interplanetary hit the podcast airways. Looking back over our first season, we’ve had some amazing conversations around the future of humans in space!

Mission: Interplanetary is a collaboration between Arizona State University’s Interplanetary Initiative and Slate, and was created to form unique conversational platform for exploring some of the big questions around the future of humans in space. We’ve just completed our first season of the podcast and, looking back, we’ve been pretty successful here!

My co-host former NASA astronaut Cady Coleman and I, have had an incredible series of guests on the show, covering topics ranging from space debris with former astronaut Mark Brown and the end of the universe with astrophysicist Katie Mack, to how to make space accessible to everyone


What does it mean to decolonize space exploration? We explore this on the Slate podcast Mission: Interplanetary with the fabulous Natalie Trevino

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

If you haven’t had the chance to check out the new Mission: Interplanetary podcast from ASU and Slate, I’d highly recommend it-and not just because my co-host is the fabulous former astronaut and ASU Global Explorer in Residence Dr. Cady Coleman!

With the podcast, we set out to explore fresh perspectives on how we think about space. And I think we’re doing a pretty good job so far.

This week’s episode is a great example of this. Our guest is the space theoretician Dr. …


Escaping the constraints of conventional thinking in higher education

Back in March, I was asked to give the first FRANKx lecture at ASU. These lectures are designed to draw on ASU experts and visionaries who “strive to challenge, disrupt and redefine the landscape of higher education with innovative ideas that encourage conversation and thinking outside the status quo.” Rising to the challenge with some relish, I crafted my lecture around the topics of “base-coding,” “bounded infinities,” “metaphorical quantum tunneling,” and the future of education. I took the brief quite seriously! These notes draw from my reflections as I prepared for the lecture and the lecture itself (which you…


Warnings of potential “early pulmonary toxicity” associated with graphene-containing face masks raise serious questions over safety checks and balances.

Shengquan SNN200642 graphene-containing face mask

Face masks should protect you, not place you in greater danger. However, last Friday Radio Canada revealed that residents of Quebec and Ottawa were being advised not to use specific types of graphene-containing masks as they could potentially be harmful.

The offending material in the masks is graphene — a form of carbon that consists of nanoscopically thin flakes of hexagonally-arranged carbon atoms. It’s a material that has a number of potentially beneficial properties, including the ability to kill bacteria and viruses when they’re exposed to it.

Yet despite its many potential uses, the scientific jury is still out when…


Back in January 2019 I got an email from my good friend and colleague Lance Gharavi with the title “Podcast brainstorming.” Two years on, we’ve just launched the Mission: Interplanetary podcast — and it’s amazing!

It’s been a long journey — especially with a global pandemic thrown in along the way — but on March 23, the Mission: Interplanetary podcast with Slate and ASU finally launched.

After two years of planning, many discussions, a bunch dry runs, and lots (and by that I mean lots) of Zoom meetings, we are live!

As the team behind the podcast talked about and developed the ideas underpinning the Mission: Interplanetary, we were interested in exploring new ways of thinking and talking about the future of humanity as a space-faring species as part of Arizona State University’s Interplanetary…


Completing any degree can be challenging. The ASU College of Global Futures Final Mile Fund sets out to make it a little easier.

Sometimes the final mile of a degree can be the toughest to get through! Photo by Elena Rabkina on Unsplash

This is a story about giving-you have been warned! It’s also a story about empowering students. And importantly, it’s a story about small acts of kindness that can have a profound impact on student success.

The short version is that my wife and I have just launched the Final Mile Fund in Arizona State University’s College of Global Futures to help students in the final stretch of completing their degree-and we really need your help growing the fund.

This is the long version:

Sweating the Small Stuff

For many students, that final stretch to completing their degree is tough. They’re juggling debt, possibly working…


Slate and Arizona State University are partnering on the new podcast Mission: Interplanetary, and it’s going to be unlike anything you’ve heard — literally.

I must confess to nerding out a little. I’m co-hosting a new space podcast with the amazing former astronaut and Arizona State University’s Global Explorer in Residence Cady Coleman. And it’s going to be freakin’ awesome!I must confess to nerding out a little. I’m co-hosting a new space podcast with the amazing former astronaut and Arizona State University’s Global Explorer in Residence Cady Coleman. And it’s going to be freakin’ awesome!

The podcast — aptly called Mission: Interplanetary — is a partnership between ASU’s Interplanetary Initiative and Slate, and boldly goes where few space podcasts have gone before as…

Andrew Maynard

Author of Future Rising: A Journey from the Past to the Edge of Tomorrow, and Associate Dean in the ASU College of Global Futures

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