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April 11, 2022, 4:30-600pm
STEVEN PINKER asks the big questions about human progress—and sets out, in public, to answer them. In 2018's Enlightenment Now, Pinker argues that, despite the headlines, the world is getting better, not worse. (Bill Gates calls it "my new favorite book of all time.") In optimistic keynotes, full of sharp wit, common sense, and dazzling argumentation, Pinker makes the case for reason, science, and humanism. These Enlightenment ideals, in the face of tribalism, authoritarianism, and other modern dangers to democracy, are worth celebrating—and protecting.
"Enlightenment Now is not only the best book Pinker's ever written. It's my new favorite book of all time"
— Bill Gates on Enlightenment Now
A provocative speaker, much in demand, Steven Pinker is a cognitive scientist who has been named by TIME as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. His keynotes have helped millions demystify the science behind human language, thought, and action. Pinker is a Harvard professor, a TED speaker, and a bestselling author, twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Highly respected in the scientific community, his work and opinions are extensively covered in the mainstream media, and have won a wide general audience.
In his new talks—based on Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress—Pinker argues that, despite fear-mongering and political upheaval, the world is getting better: peace, prosperity, knowledge and happiness are on the rise. "The world is getting better, even if it doesn't always feel that way," writes Bill Gates, in a review of the book. "I'm glad we have brilliant thinkers like Steven Pinker to help us see the big picture. Enlightenment Now is not only the best book Pinker's ever written. It's my new favorite book of all time." The New York Times included the book in its year-end list of 100 Notable Books, and NPR and Esquire both named it as one of the best books of 2018.
Enlightenment Now is the follow-up to The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Had Declined, which was a #1 Amazon bestseller. Keynotes based on that book inspired audiences worldwide with its core message that, if you look at the facts, we are living in the most peaceful human era ever. The talks pointed the way to a better future for humankind.
"The Better Angels of Our Natureis a supremely important book."
— The New York Times
Pinker's other bestselling books include The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature ("Required reading." – Los Angeles Times) and How The Mind Works ("A model of scientific writing: erudite, witty, and clear." – New York Review of Books). Pinker's acclaimed "language" series includes The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language, Words and Rules, The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature, as well as The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century.
A native of Montreal, Steven Pinker is Johnstone Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. Previously, he taught at Stanford and at MIT. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has won a number of teaching prizes, and his research on visual cognition and the psychology of language has received numerous awards, including the Troland Award from the National Academy of Sciences.
January 27, 2020 at 4:30 WATCH HERE
Nina Tandon is at the cutting edge of science where sci-fi meets reality. She works on growing artificial hearts and bones that can be put into the body, and studies the new frontier of biotech: homes, textiles, and videogames made of cells. Named one of Fast Company's Most Creative People in Business, and one of Foreign Policy's 100 Leading Global Thinkers, Tandon speaks on the future of healthcare and technology.
Nina Tandon is leading the charge of biology's industrial revolution. She is the founder and CEO of EpiBone, the world's first company growing living human bone for skeletal reconstruction. The benefits of this revolutionary stem cell technology, which has already been approved by the FDA for clinical trial, include simplified surgery, improved bone formation, and shorter recovery times for patients. "Being able to use your own cells means you're empowered to heal yourself as well," says Tandon, who also co-authored Super Cells: Building with Biology, a book cataloguing the latest biotech inventions "using nature's building block: the cell."
Nina Tandon believes that the era of engineered tissues—like, for example, a replacement kidney grown in the lab—is just beginning. Tandon shows us how we (and our bodies) have lived through most of history (Body 1.0), and then how we evolved into "cyborgs" with implants (such as pacemakers and artificial joints, Body 2.0). Now, Body 3.0 is all about growing our OWN body parts. For her Ph.D. thesis, Tandon grew cardiac cells that beat like tiny hearts. In this thrilling and eye-opening talk, she explains the process of growing tissue and transplants, and the future of medical science. With the help of manufacturing and information technology, we are on the verge of being able to grow human tissue—and Tandon is here to walk us through this unbelievably exciting era.
A master of speculative fiction proves that literature can show us our future—if we look.
Booker Prize-winning author of over fifty books, including The Handmaid's Tale and Alias Grace. Her talk on April 18, 2019, is available to stream with a Dartmouth ID here.
Robert Post is a Sterling Professor of Law at Yale Law School, and served as the School's 16th dean, from 2009 until 2017. Before coming to Yale, he taught at the University of California at Berkeley School of Law. Post's subject areas are constitutional law, First Amendment, legal history, and equal protection. He has written and edited numerous books, including Citizens Divided: A Constitutional Theory of Campaign Finance Reform (2014), which was originally delivered as the Tanner Lectures at Harvard in 2013. Other books include, Democracy, Expertise, Academic Freedom: A First Amendment Jurisprudence for the Modern State (2012); For the Common Good: Principles of American Academic Freedom (with Matthew M. Finkin, 2009); Prejudicial Appearances: The Logic of American Antidiscrimination Law (with K. Anthony Appiah, Judith Butler, Thomas C. Grey & Reva Siegel, 2001); and Constitutional Domains: Democracy, Community, Management (1995). Watch the lecture here.
Read about this lecture in the Valley News.
January 10, 2018
"The Half-Life of Freedom: Race and Justice in America Today"
Jelani Cobb is an American writer, author and educator. The Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism at Columbia University, Mr. Cobb was previously an associate professor of history and director of the Institute for African American Studies at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut from 2012 to 2016. Since 2015, he has been a staff writer at The New Yorker.
Geoffrey R. Stone is the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago and is a noted First Amendment scholar.
The nature and scope of freedom of speech on college campuses has become a hot button issue. How should universities respond to calls for restricting speech? Do these restrictions inform academic freedom or undermine it? What ought universities do when freedom of speech conflicts with a commitment to equality?
Lecture Title: "Free Speech on Campus: A Challenge of Our Times"September, 2017. Watch the lecture
President of the Carnegie Council - "Rising Fences: Migrants, Borders and a New Frontier for Ethics", Winter 2015
"Engaged Buddhism and Ethics: Practicing Compassion and Fearlessness in an Endangered World” Winter 2014
Mary B. Saltonstall Professor and Professor of Ethics and Population Health at Harvard School of Public Health, Spring 2013
Henry R. Silverman Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania, Spring 2012
Attorney, author, Special Master of the Federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001, head of BP Claims Fund for 2010 gulf oil spill. Spring 2011
Nonfiction writer, Mountains Beyond Mountains and Strength in What Remains Spring 2010
Presidential historian, biographer, Fall 2008
Author, investigative journalist, Winter 2008
President of Columbia University, Fall 2005
Former Editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, author. Spring 2005
Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University, consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior, and autism spokesperson. Spring 2004
Founder and CEO of Tom’s of Maine, Spring 2003