Public Lectures Series
Lectures are free and open to the public. Lectures are in McCosh 50 and begin at 6:00 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Click here to see location.
Lectures Home » Louis Clark Vanuxem Lectures
About This Series

“Founded [in 1912] with a bequest of $25,000 under the will of Louis Clark Vanuxem of the Class of 1879. By direction of the executors, at least one-half of the income of this foundation is to be used for a series of public lectures before the University annually on subjects of scientific interest. Provision is made for publication of the lectures.” Between 1915-1916 and 1958-1959 the catalogues of the University identify the Princeton University Press as the publisher of these lectures.
Lecturers have included Edwin P. Hubble on “The Exploration of Space” (1931-1932); Thomas Mann on “Goethe’s Faust” inter alia (1938-1939); James B. Conant on “The Mobilization of American Scientists for the War” (1945-1946); Ralph Ellison on “The Novel in America” (1952-1953); and Carl Sagan on “Extraterrestrial Life” (1972-1973). Vanuxem pursued a career in insurance, eventually specializing in insurance law. He died in 1903.

Speakers in this series

Jared Diamond Professor of Physiology, School of Medicine, UCLA

Collapses of Ancient Societies, and their Lessons for Today.
Wed, 09 Oct 2002 | Louis Clark Farnum Lactures

Vincent Courtillot Université Paris 7, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, et Institut Universitaire de France.

Mass extinctions in the Phanerozoic: a single cause and if yes which?
Wed, 04 Dec 2002 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lectures

John Hennessy President, Stanford University

Perspectives on High Performance Computer Architecture: History and Challenges
Tue, 15 Apr 2003 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lectures

Roger Penrose Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics, University of Oxford, and Francis and Helen Pentz Visiting Professor of Physics and Mathematics, Penn State University

Faith, Fashion and Fantasy in the New Physics of the Universe
Fri, 17 Oct 2003 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lectures

Henry Petroski A. S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering and Professor of History, Duke University

The Design of Everything: From Success to Failure
Tue, 07 Dec 2004 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lectures

Brian Greene Columbia University

The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time & the Texture of Reality
Wed, 06 Apr 2005 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture

Michael S. Gazzaniga Dartmouth University

Personal Identity, Neuroethics and the Human Brain
Thu, 14 Apr 2005 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture

Professor Lord Robert May Professor of Zoology at Oxford University President of the Royal Society Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government (1996-2000) Life Peer, House of Lords Knighted by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II

Hard Questions About Tomorrow's World
Wed, 04 May 2005 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture

Dr. Matt Ridley Author, Founder of International Centre of Life

Nature and Nurture
Tue, 10 May 2005 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture

Gerald Galloway Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Maryland

In Search of a National Water Policy: Learning from Katrina, Dry Canals, and Pallid Sturgeon
Wed, 01 Mar 2006 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture

Alan Walker Professor of Biological Anthropology, Penn State University

The Human Body as an Evolutionary Patchwork
Tue, 28 Mar 2006 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture

Marc Edwards Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute

Imminent Endangerment: "Lead" Astray by the EPA
Thu, 04 May 2006 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture

Elaine Oran Senior Scientist for Reactive Flow Physics U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC

Matchsticks, Scramjets, and Black Holes: Numerical Simulation Faces Reality
Tue, 10 Oct 2006 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture

Antonio Damasio Professor of Neuroscience and Director, Brain and Creativity Institute, University of Southern California

Advances on the Neurobiology of Emotion: Taking Stock
Thu, 16 Nov 2006 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture

Avi Wigderson H. Maass Professor, School of Mathematics, Institute for Advanced Study

A Worldview through the Computational Lens I
Tue, 13 Feb 2007 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture (cosponsored by Princeton University Press)

Avi Wigderson H. Maass Professor, School of Mathematics, Institute for Advanced Study

A Worldview through the Computational Lens II
Wed, 14 Feb 2007 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture (cosponsored by Princeton University Press)

Avi Wigderson H. Maass Professor, School of Mathematics, Institute for Advanced Study

A Worldview through the Computational Lens III
Thu, 15 Feb 2007 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture (cosponsored by Princeton University Press)

Hendrik Lenstra Professor of Mathematics, University of Leiden

Escher and the Droste Effect (NOTE: McCosh Hall 10)
Tue, 03 Apr 2007 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture (cosponsored by the Department of Mathematics)

Douglas Melton T. D. Cabot Professor of the Natural Sciences, Harvard University, Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and Codirector, Harvard Stem Cell Institute

Stem Cell Challenges in Biology and Public Policy
Tue, 10 Apr 2007 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture

Daniel Gilbert Professor, Harvard University

How To Do Precisely the Right Thing at All Possible Times
Thu, 20 Sep 2007 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture

Marcia Angell Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School; former editor-in-chief, New England Journal of Medicine

Reforming Our Health System: Why Neither Candidate Has the Answer
Wed, 17 Sep 2008 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture

Leonard Susskind Felix Bloch Professor of Physics, Stanford University and author of The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking To Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics

The Black Hole War
Thu, 20 Nov 2008 | Cosponsored by the Louis Clark Vanuxem Fund and the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science

Nancy Hopkins Amgen, Inc. Professor of Biology, David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Mirages of Equality: Progress of Women in Science at MIT, 1971-2009 (webcast)
Tue, 31 Mar 2009 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture (Note: 5:30 p.m. in McCosh Hall 10)

Antonio Busalacchi Professor and Director, Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland. Certified sommelier and member, Society of Wine Educators

The Impact of Climate Change on Global Viticulture (webcast)
Tue, 28 Apr 2009 | Cosponsored by Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture Fund, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Princeton Environmental Institute (Note: 5:30 p.m. in McCosh Hall 10)

Sean Carroll Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics, University of Wisconsin; author, The Making of the Fittest

Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of Species (webcast)
Wed, 07 Oct 2009 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture (NOTE: Friend 101)

V. S. Ramachandran Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition, University of California, San Diego, and Adjunct Professor of Biology, the Salk Institute

What Neurology Can Tell Us about Human Nature (webcast)
Thu, 15 Oct 2009 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture

Marcelo Magnasco Professor and Head, Mathematical Physics Laboratory, Rockefeller University

Is an Eclipse Described in Homer’s Odyssey? (webcast)
Mon, 30 Nov 2009 | Cosponsored by the Department of Molecular Biology and the Louis Clark Vanuxem Fund (NOTE: McCosh Hall 10)

Martin Chalfie Professor and chair, Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University

Green Fluorescent Protein: Lighting Up Life (webcast)
Thu, 28 Jan 2010 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture

Persi Diaconis Professor of Statistics and Mathematics, Stanford University

The Search for Randomness
Thu, 04 Mar 2010 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture (NOTE: McCosh Hall 10)

Eric Lander Founding director, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard; principal leader, Human Genome Project

Secrets of the Human Genome (webcast)
Mon, 19 Apr 2010 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture

Frank Wilczek Nobel laureate and Herman Feshbach Professor of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Fundamentals. (This is a two-part series. November 11 at 8 p.m. in McCosh 50; November 12 at 4:30 p.m. in McCosh 50.) (webcast)
Thu, 11 Nov 2010 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture. Cosponsored by the Center for Theoretical Physics.

Frank Wilczek Nobel laureate and Herman Feshbach Professor of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Fundamentals (webcast)
Fri, 12 Nov 2010 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture

Robert Sapolsky Professor of Biological Sciences, and Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, Stanford University

Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers: Stress, Disease, and Coping. (Note: 7:00 p.m. in McCosh Hall 50)
Tue, 22 Mar 2011 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture

Nora Volkow, M.D. Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse

The Neurobiology of Drug Addiction
Tue, 05 Apr 2011 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture

Stanislas Dehaene and Steven Strogatz Stanislas Dehaene, neuroscientist, Steven Strogatz, mathematician

How Math Comes to Mind: Intuition, Visualization, and Teaching (NOTE: 8:00 p.m. in McCosh Hall 10)
Wed, 27 Apr 2011 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture

Neil DeGrasse Tyson Astrophysicist, director of the Hayden Planetarium

Delusions of Space Enthusiasts
Tue, 29 Nov 2011 | Cosponsored by the Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture Fund and the Department of Astrophysical Sciences

Daniel M. Russell Über Tech Lead for Search Quality and User Happiness, Google

What Does It Mean To Be Literate in the Age of Google? (webcast)
Tue, 28 Feb 2012 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture

Ayana Arce, Robert Hampshire, James Mitchell, Jennifer Rexford, James West, Alice White, with Randal Pinkett

In the Nation's Service: Diversifying Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Leadership
Mon, 12 Mar 2012 | Supported by the Louis Clark Vanuxem Fund (NOTE: Dodds Auditorium, Robertson Hall)

Andrew Hodges Author of Alan Turing: The Enigma (1983)

Alan Turing: An Atlantic Perspective
Mon, 23 Apr 2012 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture

Patricia Churchland Professor of Philosophy, University of California, San Diego, and the Salk Institute

The Brains Behind Morality
Thu, 18 Oct 2012 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture