The Floating University’s first course, Great Big Ideas, is composed of 12 professionally produced video lectures ranging from 40-60 minutes in length.
Below is a listing of every subject covered by Great Big Ideas, presented in the order suggested by the syllabus. You can take in the material in the same progression as students at Harvard, Yale, and Bard, or skip around to best suit your interests. Click on a lecture title to jump to the full video, accompanied by supplementary materials prepared by experts to get the most out of every lecture.
All lecture videos are compatible with the iPad.
- Malthus Miffed: Are People the Problem, the Solution, or Both? An Introduction to Demography and Populations Study Through an Examination of the World’s Population. JOEL COHEN, Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of Populations, Rockefeller University, Mathematical Biologist, Columbia University
- The Universe in a Nutshell: The Physics of Everything. MICHIO KAKU, Henry Semat Professor of Theoretical Physics at CUNY
- Of the People, by the People, for the People? The Rawls-Nozick Debates as an Introduction to the Philosophy of Politics and Economics. TAMAR GENDLER, Department of Philosophy Chair at Yale University, Cognitive Scientist
- Say What? Linguistics as a Window to Understanding the Brain. STEVEN PINKER, Psychologist, Cognitive Scientist, and Linguist at Harvard University
- Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200: Monopolies as an Introduction to Economics. SAUL LEVMORE, William B. Graham Distinguished Professor of Law at The University of Chicago
- The Psychology of Everything: What Compassion, Racism, and Sex tell us about Human Nature. PAUL BLOOM, Cognitive Psychologist, Yale University
- If You’re So Free, Why Do You Follow Others? The Sociological Science Behind Social Networks and Social Influence. NICHOLAS CHRISTAKIS, Professor of Medical Sociology, Medicine, and Sociology at Harvard University
- Who Wants to Be a Billionaire? Everything You Need to Know About Finance and Investing in Under an Hour. WILLIAM ACKMAN, Activist Investor and Hedge-Fund Manager
- What’s Up, Doc? Is Biomedical Research Really Close to Curing Anything? DOUGLAS MELTON, Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of the Natural Sciences at Harvard University
- Art Now: Aesthetics Across Music, Painting, Architecture, Movies, and More. LEON BOTSTEIN, Conductor, President of Bard College
- Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: The Essential Value of a Classic Education. JEFFREY BRENZEL, Philosopher, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions at Yale University
- The Authority of Ideas: Decoding the DNA of Education in Search of Actual Knowledge. LAWRENCE SUMMERS, Charles W. Eliot University Professor at Harvard University, Economist, Former President of Harvard