The Floating University

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Please direct all media inquires to Diane Murphy (diane:floatinguniversity_com).

The Floating University at the New York Public Library

Public Lectures by Leading Scholars To Begin November 14

NEW YORK – November 3, 2011 – The New York Public Library (NYPL) and The Floating University, a new educational media venture, have formed a partnership to provide library patrons access to the nation’s most esteemed scholars via a new multi-media lecture series beginning November 14. “Great Big Ideas,” Floating University’s extraordinary inaugural course, features expert scholars and practitioners on diverse subjects including demography, art, physics, finance, education and psychology – all key components of an undergraduate education.

“With its exciting lectures and virtual classroom, The Floating University represents an exciting opportunity for personalized learning to make knowledge available to ever-increasing numbers of people — the goal of NYPL,” said Anthony Marx, president of The New York Public Library.

Floating University video lectures provide an effective introduction to thinking differently and a primer in the diverse modes of problem solving essential for success in the 21st century. Lecturers will discuss the most current, innovative ideas in their field, dissect the arguments, and look at how they impact not only the world at large but our individual lives as well.

The following five lectures from The Floating University's 12-part series will be offered on-site to library patrons as free public programs, beginning November 14, 2011 and continuing into 2012:

• November 14 at 10am @ Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, New York City
Dr. Nicholas Christakis, Professor of Sociology at Harvard University
Video lecture: If You’re So Free, Why Do You Follow Others? The Sociology and Science behind Social Networks and Human Interaction

• December 1 at 1pm @ Science Industry and Business Library – Healy Hall
188 Madison Avenue, New York City
Dr. Joel Cohen, Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of Populations, Rockefeller University, Mathematical Biologist, Columbia University
(Dr. Cohen will lead the discussion)
Video lecture: Malthus Miffed: Are People the Problem, the Solution or Both?

• December 9 at 10am @ Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, New York City
Dr. Paul Bloom, Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science at Yale University
Video Lecture: The Psychology of Everything: What Compassion, Racism, and Sex tell us about Human Nature.

• February 29, 2012 at 6pm @ Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, New York City
Dr. Leon Botstein, President and Leon Levy Professor of Bard College
(Dr. Botstein will lead the discussion)
Video lecture: Art Now: Aesthetics Across Music, Painting, Architecture, Movies and More

• Winter 2012 @ Science Industry and Business Library – Healy Hall
188 Madison Avenue, New York City
Dr. Michio Kaku, Henry Semat Professor of Theoretical Physics at CUNY
(Dr. Kaku will lead the discussion)
Video lecture: The Universe in a Nutshell: The Physics of Everything.

At NYPL, “Great Big Ideas” will give Library patrons an introduction to a variety of subjects in a way that allows them to explore unfamiliar territory, ask leading questions, and look at these topics under the guidance of some of the nation’s leading experts; in essence providing an entire education while standing on one foot.

For more information about this ground-breaking event and about the New York Public Library, please visit: http://www.nypl.org/floatinguniversity

National Thought Leaders on The Floating University

"I see this course as a way to open the eyes of students to do things they haven't thought about." — Doug Melton

"A clever and insightful idea with humor and adventure and I'm glad it came from outside the academic arena." — Leon Botstein

"Think about the sheer number of people that can be reach through these kinds of efforts. I think it's remarkable." — Nicholas Christakis