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Around the Schools: Faculty of Arts and Sciences

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Hardest problems in social science addressed on Saturday

What big questions will occupy the world’s social scientists in the coming decades?

On Saturday (April 10), a dozen “big thinkers” will share their thoughts on the hardest problems in social science. The daylong event, taking place in Room B103 of the Northwest Science Building, kicks off an effort by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ Division of Social Science to identify — and ultimately tackle — the world’s thorniest unsolved problems in the social sciences.

Panelists include philosopher Nick Bostrom of Oxford University; epistemologist Nassim Taleb of New York University; and sociologist Nicholas Christakis, historian Niall Ferguson, economist Roland Fryer, and political scientist Gary King from Harvard.

Each of the twelve panelists will present for 15 minutes, and the symposium will conclude with a session for audience feedback. In the months following the symposium, people around the world can view streaming video, vote on the proposed problems, and submit additional problems for consideration. The desired outcome: a prioritized list intended to help shape future research and policy, as well as funding support, in the social sciences.

The April 10 event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, visit the Division of Social Science Web site.

— Steve Bradt

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