“2001: A Spacetime Odyssey” is the title of the Michigan Center for Theoretical Physics’s inaugural conference, to be held 21–25 May. That event will be followed in August by a workshop on pattern formation and diffusion-limited growth. In addition to conferences and workshops, the new theory center, based in the physics department at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, plans to host visiting scientists and postdocs, fund graduate and undergraduate research, and hold public lectures and other outreach activities. The MCTP combines the physics department’s aims to build up theoretical physics and break down barriers between fields, and fits with its aspirations to become one of the “Top Ten” in physics, according to founding director Michael Duff, a string and M-theorist. The center is starting out with 34 faculty members from the physics, math, astronomy, and chemical engineering departments, and with $450 000 a year for four years from the university. Much of the first year’s startup money will go to renovating the physics building to make way for the new center.