Principal Scientist

University of California, Santa Cruz Biota Institute


A Canadian-American multi-disciplinary scientist, designer, and author, Dr. Bruce Damer works in evolutionary biology developing and testing a new model for the origin of life on Earth and in the design of spacecraft to provide a viable path for expansion of human civilization into the Solar System. He was instrumental in the delivery of some of the earliest user interfaces for PCs in the 1980s, led the community bringing the first multi-user virtual worlds to the Internet in the 1990s, and supported NASA and the space industry on numerous direction-setting simulations and designs for missions since 2000. He also has a passion for chronicling the history of computing in his DigiBarn Computer Museum and curates archives of consciousness explorers such as Dr. Timothy Leary, Terence McKenna and others. He currently serves as Principal Scientist at DigitalSpace; Associate Researcher, Dept of Biomolecular Engineering at UC Santa Cruz; Associate, NASA Astrobiology Center; Member, International Society for the Study of the Origin of Life, and Founding Director, Contact Consortium. He also served as Visiting Scholar at the University of Washington and as a member of the Faculty at Charles University, Prague. He received his PhD from University College, Dublin; MSEE from the University of Southern California and BSc from the University of Victoria.

Bruce Damer's writings include:  Book: "Avatars, Exploring and Building Virtual Worlds" (1997); PhD Thesis: "The Evolution Grid, An Approach to Computational Origin of Life Endeavours" (2011); Article, NewSpace Journal (With Peter Jenniskens et al): "SHEPHERD: A Concept for Gentle Asteroid Retrieval with a Gas-Filled Enclosure" (2015); Article, Life Journal: "A Field Trip to the Archaean in Search of Darwin's Warm Little Pond" (2016)

Dr. Damer's work is available at: