Harvard Thinks Big announces speakers

3 min read

Where can one hear the ideas of a Pulitzer Prize winner, a member of the Time 100, a world expert on Egypt’s current upheaval, and the authors of numerous best-selling books … all in one night? At the second annual Harvard Thinks Big event, taking place Feb. 17 at 8 p.m. at Sanders Theatre. The event is open exclusively to Harvard undergraduates free of charge.

A vision originally conceived by current Harvard junior Peter Davis, Harvard Thinks Big is a campus-wide event that brings together Harvard’s most renowned faculty members to speak to the undergraduate community. Harvard Thinks Big borrows from the mold of the TED conferences: 10 all-star Harvard professors each speak for 10 minutes on something they are passionate about. The goal of the event is to expose undergraduates to a wide range of “big ideas.”

“Harvard Thinks Big is a crimson-colored TED, packing the house with Harvard students who are eager to hear the University’s best scholars talk about the world’s most important problems,” said Professor Daniel Gilbert of Harvard’s psychology department and a speaker at last year’s inaugural Harvard Thinks Big.

Added Davis, “Harvard Thinks Big is a festival of Harvard ideas with the mission of inspiring Harvard undergraduates to think and dream big. It is meant to remind us that big ideas can change the world and that a culture of creating, sharing, discussing, and implementing ideas is at the heart of moving the world forward.”

This year’s event will build on the success of last year’s program, which saw students line up hours before showtime in hopes of securing a seat. Co-directors Davis and Zachary Richner, a senior at the College, selected this year’s presenters after carefully reviewing the results of a survey distributed to students that solicited suggestions for speakers.

“We are very excited about this year’s diverse lineup of accomplished speakers. We know that each presenter will give a dynamic talk that is both engaging and thought-provoking,” Richner said. “This will truly be a showcase of the minds that help to make Harvard so special.”

This year’s Harvard Thinks Big, who will speak following Harvard Provost Steven Hyman’s introductory remarks, are:

  • Richard Beaudoin, Lecturer on Music
  • S. Allen Counter, Director of the Harvard Foundation and Member of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences; Consultant in Audiology in the University Health Services; Clinical Professor of Neurology
  • Caroline Elkins, Professor of History; Chair of the Standing Committee on African Studies; Chair of the Standing Committee on Ethnic Studies
  • Edward Glaeser, Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics; Member of the Faculty at the John F. Kennedy School of Government; Director of the Taubman Center for State and Local Government
  • Joshua Greene, Assistant Professor of Psychology
  • Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law
  • Robert Lue, Professor of the Practice of Molecular and Cellular Biology; Tutor in Biochemical Sciences; Director of Life Sciences Education
  • Tarek Masoud, Assistant Professor in Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government
  • Lisa Randall, Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of Science
  • Elaine Scarry, Walter M. Cabot Professor of Aesthetics and the General Theory of Value; Senior Fellow of the Society of Fellows