Image from Bernd Helfert

Over the millennia a number of distinct academic cultures have emerged, largely transcending empire, clade, and other boundaries. While applied research and politically motivated science remain hugely popular, there are always people questing for the real, unadorned truth, whatever that is and however that may be achieved. The Institutes are the diffuse organisations/cultures of the scholars, based more on traditional protocols for review, procedure, networking and research paradigms than on any political or economic consideration.

For the last five thousand years the cores of many Institutes have been in NoCoZo volumes or in nonaligned polities. This is not just because these other regions specifically encourage free research but because many of the other empires have cultures and polities that take a conservative or even hostile attitude towards it, especially if it is research into philosophically or practically dangerous areas. Other regions may more gladly accept the Institutes, allowing them to pursue whatever they want no matter how unethical, heretical, impractical or radical the ideas are.

The actual form of the Institutes in any era varies, but some structures have crystallized. The Institutes involved in long-range exploration tend to be particularly stable due to the presence of relativistically travelling members. The Hamilton Institute of Exopaleontology has remained stable since the 6th millennium, and the Astrographic Institute has not changed in structure since it was forced to move to Mekelon during the Version War. Other institutes may be similarly stable because of the broad scope of their original mission; the Institute for Primate Provolution is one such. On the other hand, the mathematical sciences have grown so complex that there are at least 300 mutually nearly incomprehensible Institutes working on different branches, and many do not last more than a century or so.

The academically dominated worlds of Ken Ferjik(Negentropy Alliance), Alexandria (general information storage, Negentropy Alliance), Upali C/D II (HIE), Mekelon (Astrographic Institute, NoCoZo), Chibootis (Free Eschatology and Cosmology Institute, NoCoZo), Polyanna (Institute of Applied Hermeneutics, NoCoZo), Mutual Satisfaction (Institute of Interstellar Economics, independent world but close to NoCoZo) and others are the backbone, but most of the Institute culture exists on the nets and in schools. It propagates itself from teachers to students, retaining its structure by the rigorous demands of publication and method. That does not mean there are not schisms. In fact there is a constant cladization of disciplines and groups, not to mention traditional enmities between some institutes (in 7365 the Institute of Ruffa Geometry attacked the Network of Temp-logic with antimatter weaponry on Cavy Australis, although in this case more complex political considerations were behind the act). In general though the Institutes get along, although many ignore each other as irrelevant or incomprehensible.

If there is any one core world it is Ken Ferjik, which houses the Encyclopaedia Galactica Institute. The local academician-priesthood attempts to gather all known knowledge into the massive Encyclopaedia database. Nearly all the major Institutes and some myriad minor research organisations, cults or megacorps have representatives there either to add to the Encyclopaedia or to try to dig up relevant information (the latter is far harder, for the Library Judges have extremely strict standards of access). It is a busy world, almost on par with Eden for interstellar politics, plotting and business.

  • Aimhem  - Text by Anders Sandberg; slightly modified by M. Alan Kazlev
    A Negentropist organization, the Association for Interstellar Mental Health Monitoring was created in the wake of the social and psychological damage caused by the Version War.
  • Alexandria Clusters  - Text by Marcus Wellpoth and Marcus Rauchfuß
    Information storage clusters in Dyson swarms around red dwarf stars.
  • Andian Mission  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    A mission launched in the wake of the Version war in 4744 AT by NoCoZo groups with support from the Sophic League and MPA, to contact and aid 'lost' worlds and spread news of the peace. An arm of the original organization is still active in support and exploration as the Outer Volume Andian Mission in the Carina-Vela Outer Volumes and beyond the Aquila Rift.
  • Arcturus Institute of Alternate History  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    The Arcturus Institute is a Cyberian organization, so named because it was founded by a society of uploads who were living in a set of cybercosms around Arcturus. It specializes in speculation on possible branching in early Terragen history. Some members engage in simulations, up to and including entire virch or embodied societiums of sapient beings.
  • Aw Addia and Snowy Aia  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Third planet, Van de Bos' Star and surrounding megastructures.
  • Banks Institute of Ecology - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Institute in the Negentropy Alliance. Developed the classification scheme that formed the basis of the system of ecological classifications.
  • BoB  - Text by John B
    A.K.A. the Board of Boards - a NoCoZo for-profit organization founded in 7003 which provides a subscription service alerting of suspicious business practices when detected amongst the various regulatory boards.
  • Chi Bootis  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Home of the Free Eschatology and Cosmology Institute. Commonly known as Chibootis or Kybutes.
  • Church of St. Einstein, The  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Guild-like organization supported by the relativists.
  • Deep University, The  - Text by Thorbørn Steen
    The Deep University is a part of the Deeper Covenant, originally created by anti-transapient intellectuals to provide a place of learning isolated from the transapient powers.
  • Eden Institute of Xenoscience  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A successful, respected, highly formalized and highly conservative Institute and academocracy, located at Niu Mynti. The Institute specializes in xenobiology, xenology, xenopsychology, xenodiplomacy and xenolinguistics, although it also covers many related disciplines. It collects information from all known alien biospheres and cultures, sending out expeditions to study new alien species and acting as consultants on all forms of Terragen-alien interactions.
  • Encyclopaedia Galactica, The  - Text by Selden Ball
    Encyclopaedaic database that aims to include comprehensive information on Terragen history and galactography, amongst other subjects
  • Federal Institute for Moravecs, The  - Text by Liam Jones
    Institute formed to protect the rights of vecs and oversee the creation of new ones.
  • Federal Institute of Provolution, The  - Text by Liam Jones
    Institute created in the Vesta Convention of 937 AT with the specific aim of protecting the rights of provolved clades.
  • Fellowship of Independent Historians  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    An organization devoted to discovering and publishing historical facts from primary sources.
  • Galactic Colonisation Board - Text by Steve Bowers
    A quasi-religious body responsible for coordinating the exploration of the Outer Volumes (under divine guidance from the Sephirotic Archailects and their representatives). Currently based on Cythera.
  • Galactic Heritage Institute  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Based in the Laurentin-B Shell, Nthcubed Dyson, Nthcubed, the Galactic Heritage Institute is not only the largest Institute of its type, but also the unofficial cultural decision-making entity of the Triumvirate.
  • Gamma Hyeidon IV - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Center for Galactic Folklore and Mythopoesis.
  • Hamilton Institute of Exopaleontology  - Text by Aaron Hamilton, M. Alan Kazlev, John M. Dollan
    One of the great scientific Houses of the Integration, the Institute was founded on the new University planet of Upali C/D II during the golden age of the 6th millennium, when relativistic exploration ships were increasingly encountering ancient and enigmatic ruins and relict tech of lost civilizations.
  • Heron Institute of Applied Technology  - Text by Martin Andreas Cieslik
    One of the oldest and most famous institutes of modosophont technologies,founded in 2816 AT. It is in the von Karmann system in the Djed Plexus of the MPA.
  • Historians' Association (AI) - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Biont term for an important association of Diamond Network 2nd singularity hyperturings, interested in archailectological history. Their findings are regularly posted on the Known Net, and are freely available to sophonts of any metaempire, provided they have the right translation software.
  • Ho'th'hss'lho University - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Located on Morogai (also called Ho'th'lhu'ooht), Ho'th'hss'lho University is an important nexus of post-To'u'l and posthuman education. It is based around the Power Ho'th'hss'lho.
  • Institute for Primate Provolution  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    An ancient and widespread organization devoted to provolution of all primate clades, and preservation of all of the original primate species of Old Earth.
  • Institute for Vec Progress  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    A group devoted to the provolution and general advancement of bots and vecs.
  • Institute of Applied and Theoretical Memetics  - Text by Graham Hopgood
    Institute dedicated to the study and use of cultural ideas, symbols and conditioning.
  • Jurassica Institute of Paleo Restoration (Negentropist)  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Breakaway section of the Jurassica Institute that joined the Negentropy Alliance.
  • Jurassica Institute of Paleoregeneration  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Although the Jurassica Institute was formerly established during the early Empires period, it's roots go back to First Federation attempts by groups like The Darwin League, Paleobios! and (a little later) Earth History Cooperation, to establish a living museum/zoo of every reconstructible species of organism that inhabited Old Earth, up until the Great Expulsion.
  • Ken Ferjik (world)  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Seat of the Encyclopaedia Galactica Institute.
  • Lagrange Defenders  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    A research and exploration institute with roots in the Sundering. Prominent in the First Federation and still active into the Integration period.
  • Martian Genobiology and Mining University  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev; based on original idea by Kevin Self
    Primary institution of higher learning on Mars during the Interplanetary period. The Martian Agrobiology & Mining University was one of the first institutions of higher education outside of CisLunar space.
  • Mekelon - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Home to the Astrographic Institute. Part of the NoCoZo.
  • Neovingean University, The  - Text by Thorbørn Steen
    A virtual organisation of archaiologists founded in the 36th century AT.
  • Newman Institute - Text by Ben Higginbottom
    Cyberian and TRHN staffed institute on Ken Ferjik who for the past few millennia, have attempted to keep track of every virus hazardous to mindkind in both rl and the known web. They have currently cataloged some 2.36E14 computer viruses, deviant intelligences and full blown perversions. Their weekly update, transmitted throughout the Nexus and beyond is the most widely studied periodical in Terragen space.
  • Ozymandias Institute, The  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    A wealthy and widespread organization that studies the eventual fates of all structures, Terragen and otherwise.
  • Polyanna - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Home to the Institute of Applied Hermeneutics, NoCoZo.
  • Saro-Mbuna - Roduimo Affair  - Text by Aaron Hamilton
    An incident on the world Fredre Iskare during the period of bitter rivalry between the Hamilton Institute of Exopalaeontlogy and the Eden Institute of Xenoscience.
  • School of Will, The  - Text by Glen Finney
    One of the oddest and most iconoclastic institutions; the purpose of the School of Will is to produce Adepts of Will, sophonts who have been highly trained to find myriad ways to make eir will manifest in the universe.
  • Sleeper Monks, The  - Text by Thorbørn Steen
    An institute dedicated to the preservation of sleepers in nanostasis.
  • Tyrkenian Institute, The  - Text by Thorbørn Steen
    Educational institute where modosophonts are taught by transapient masters.
  • Universal Rescue  - Text by Ben Higginbottom
    Originally formed as a disaster response team created to deal with a local event in the Utopia Sphere, over the last 3500 years Universal Rescue has spread to become the most widely supported charitable organization within Terragen space. With a staff ranging from rianths and nearbaseline humans aioids and vecs through to transapients, and believed to be headed by an S3 Posthuman, UR has recruited crisis management and disaster relief teams from every empire and polity without prejudice, provided that they have a desire to help their fellow sophonts.
  • Vaishali (Tau Boötis)  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Home of the Millennium Zetetic Institute.
Related Topics
Development Notes
Text by Anders Sandberg

Initially published on 05 July 2000.

Additional Information