Ensuring the human race has a long-term future

Ensuring the human race has a long-term future

  • 'Hubble peers at the heart of a spiral galaxy' shows NGC 5793, over 150 million light-years away in the constellation of Libra
    'Hubble peers at the heart of a spiral galaxy'

Image courtesy of NASA, ESA, and E Perlman (Florida Institute of Technology). NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

It could be the first line of a joke: there was a philosopher, a software engineer and a scientist. But the birth of the Cambridge Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) is no laughing matter.

An existential risk is one that threatens the existence of our species and CSER was co-founded by Huw Price, Bertrand Russell Professor of Philosophy, Jaan Tallinn, co-founder of Skype, and Martin Rees, Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics to interrogate these threats. The Centre was set up with a generous donation from Jaan Tallinn and its focus is on the comparatively new idea that developing technologies might lead to direct, extinction-level threats to our species.

Its goal is to steer a small fraction of Cambridge’s great intellectual resources, and of the reputation built on its past and present scientific pre-eminence, to the task of safely harnessing our rapidly-developing technological power and ensuring that our own species has a long-term future.

Read more

Centre for the Study of Existential Risk

Stay informed

For regular updates about the impact of giving to Cambridge, follow @yourscambridge on Twitter.

Related impact stories

Philanthropic giving is at the heart of the success of the Collegiate University, enabling us to make discoveries that change the world and to ensure that our students receive an unrivalled education.

Battcock Centre
Philanthropic impact story
The Battcock Centre for Experimental Astrophysics brings together astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology at Cambridge.

Giving opportunities

Philanthropic giving is at the heart of the success of the Collegiate University, enabling us to make discoveries that change the world and to ensure that our students receive an unrivalled education.

Martin Rees, co-founder of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics
An existential risk is one that threatens the existence of our entire species. The Cambridge Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) — a joint initiative between a philosopher, a scientist, and a software entrepreneur — was founded on the conviction that these risks require a great deal more scientific investigation than they presently receive.
Professor Stephen Hawking and DAMTP
The Stephen Hawking Programme celebrates and memorialises the life and achievements of the late Professor Stephen Hawking, one of the greatest scientific minds of his generation and a celebrated global leader in the fields of cosmology, astronomy, theoretical physics and mathematics.