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The Hard Problems

Modeled after the Hilbert Problems in mathematics, we set out to define the biggest unsolved problems across different fields, starting with the hardest to define: the Social Sciences. created and funded a  symposium and debate which was held at Harvard with top social scientists across fields, including Nicholas Christakis and Nassim Taleb. We are going to soon expand this work to other top fields such the sciences, engineering etc...


Global voting results and videos available on the project Facebook page.

Speakers included:

Nicholas Christakis (Harvard)

Ann Swidler (UC - Berkeley)

Nassim Taleb (NYU Polytechnic Inst.)

Robert Sampson (Harvard) standing in for Peter Bearman (Columbia)

Nick Bostrom (Oxford)

Gary King (Harvard)

Emily Oster (Univ. of Chicago)

Claudia Goldin (Harvard)

Susan Carey (Harvard)

James Fowler, (UCSD)

Roland Fryer (Harvard)

Richard Zeckhauser (Harvard).

From the Harvard Gazette:

The conference and list were the brainchild of Harvard College graduate Nick Nash ’00, a joint chemistry and physics concentrator who has been thinking for some time about what he perceives as the need to improve awareness and understanding of the social sciences. “These are the sciences of our shared humanity,” he told a reporter. “But these sciences are much more in their infancy relative to physics or chemistry.”

“Because the social sciences are ultimately about people, we felt very strong that this be a democratic process and global process,” said Nash, who proposed the idea of creating a “Hilbert’s Questions” list for the social sciences and the conference, to Kosslyn. “We really want people around the world to view these videos, read the transcripts, and then vote on what they think is important,” said Nash, a member of the Indira Foundation, the charitable foundation that sponsored the symposium,. “and even add more questions.”

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