10 all-star professors from diverse fields come together at Sanders Theater for the second Harvard Thinks Big event, because as host Peter Davis ’12 puts it, “ideas and the pursuit of them .. are at the center of the Harvard experience”.
Here are some of the best parts.
8:09 Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law, takes the stage. He brings a dynamic PowerPoint presentation with him.
8:14 Lessig: “We need to convince citizens to wage a war to save democracy.”
8:21 “A cult hero of the Music Dpt” Professor Richard Beaudoin, teacher of the very popular Music 2, takes the stage.
8:24 “Using music as entertainment is like using an iPad as a paperweight.”
8:25 “Someone in here is having her best day ever, sitting next to her someone is having the worst day ever. That’s point and counterpoint.”
8:30 A minute of silence in Sanders Theater. Beaudoin challenges the audience to rethink their interactions with music.
8:32 Psychology Prof. Josh Greene presents “Beyond Point and Shoot Mentality.”
8:34 Greene compares Manual and Point-and-Shoot with Flexibility and Efficiency. We have a dual-mode brain – immediate gratification is analogous to Automatic, and waiting is analogous to Manual Mode.
8:37 (On morality questions) “You can’t get out of Harvard without talking about trolleys running over people on tracks.”
8:43 “We did not evolve in a world where we could help others across the world by sacrificing small material things.”
8:44 Prof. Elaine Scarry “Beauty and Justice” – In beauty and justice, we use the word “fair.”
8:53 “Beauty is natural and artificial, but justice is always artifactual”
8:54 “Advertisers say when you see something beautiful, buy it…. but for many centuries, philosophers have argued that when you see something beautiful, begin to repair the world.”
8:56 Prof. S. Allen Counter shares an incredible story of his travels to the Arctic.
9:11 Student Ideas – “Who among our generation of Harvard men and women will dare to think big?” Students share big ideas about fighting modern-day slavery, African development, wellbeing, the arts, and more.
9:27 Life Sciences 1a Professor Robert Lue presents on understanding the world through science and art.
9:33 “Neuroscience tells us hat for us to understand anything, we need to build scaffolds on our own… from our understanding of the natural world”
9:34 “To communicate science effectively, we need to use the framework that we all develop when we begin to understand the world… This allows you to remember and utilize information.”
9:36: ”Visualization is also about harnessing passion . To see is to begin to understand.
9:37: “Ultimately, science is not an abstraction.We need to reaffirm the path from the eye to the mind and to the heart.”
9:38 HKS Professor Tarek Masoud presents “Are the Arabs ready for democracy?”
9:42 Masoud breaks down Elie Kedourie’s 1992 quote that Muslim political tradition lacks motivation for democracy, save for the part about a “secular tradition.”
9:51 “The real question is … are we ready for Arab democracy? I hope the answer is yes.”
9:53 Physics Professor Lisa Randall takes the stage and presents “Thinking Big by Thinking Small: High Energies and Small Distances”
9:59 “Experiments at the Large Hadron Collider might challenge our understanding of space and time.”
10:05 “It could be that we are only seeing one plane of many dimensions of the universe.”
10:06 Economics Professor Ed Glaeser talk about the “Triumph of the City,” beginning with the importance of an urban environment to Egyptian protesters. (Kaiyang Huang blogged about this earlier this week.)
10:10 “We are a social species. We get smart by hanging out with smart people.”
10:12 Glaeser argues that cities are greener. “We are a destructive species. If you love nature, stay away from it.”
10:18 Professor Caroline Elkins is the final speaker, and will speak about the British torturous system of treatment of the Kikiyu in Kenya.
10:28 “To escape the ivory tower, you must develop your own internal compass. Pull it out and use it.”