By Meredith Walker
These tough times call for forward thinking: looking toward the future, as well as considering how we can improve it. Ivy League lectures online offer a look at issues including science, politics, economics, and more. Here, you’ll find top notch lectures in these topics and beyond that will have you thinking of days to come.
These lecturers know what the future of technology looks like.
- Broadbanding America: What, Why, and How: In this lecture, you’ll learn about the way high speed Internet access technologies are racing ahead. [Princeton]
- Future Directions in Computing: Fundamental Physical Limits to Computing: Professor Sherief Reda explains some of the limits to improving computing. [Brown]
- Anytime, Anywhere: The Recent Revolution in Wireless Communications: Learn about the emergence and future of wireless communications. [Princeton]
- The Future of the Web: In this lecture, Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the world wide web, discusses the technology’s future. [Princeton]
- Rip, Mix, Burn, Sue: Check out this lecture to find out about the present and future legal issues surrounding digital media. [Princeton]
- Next Generation Technologies: Chief Marketing Officer of Fiberlink William Wagner delivered this guest lecture to the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. [University of Pennsylvania]
Discover the future of health from these lectures.
- Grand Rounds on the Future of Public Health: Columbia offers this series of lectures about the future of public health. [Columbia]
- Living Healthier, Living Longer: In this multi-part series, you’ll learn about supporting your future health. [Harvard]
- Mental Health Past, Present, and Future: In these Colver Lectures from 1932, you’ll learn about the subject of mental health from the point of view of past, present, and future. [Brown]
- The Changing Face of Neuroscience: Gerald D. Fischbach, MD offers a look at how neuroscience is growing. [Columbia]
These lectures take a look at life, new frontiers, and scientific revolutions.
- Human Life and the Future of Our Species: Lee Solver takes a look into the future of humanity. [Princeton]
- Frontiers and Controversies in Astrophysics: This lecture offers a look at uncommon and special topics in astrophysics. [Yale]
- Unlocking the Promise of Stem Cells: You can learn about Harvard’s Stem Cell Institute and plans for the future in this lecture. [Harvard]
- The Future of Provenance: James Cheney discusses the needs of scientists and other users of advanced computer systems. [Cornell]
- A Complete Search for New Suns: Through this lecture, you’ll learn about new suns, and those being discovered. [Harvard]
- In Search of a National Water Policy: Check out this lecture to learn about the future of water in America. [Princeton]
- Changing Habitats…Vanishing Species: Learn about vanishing species and environmental changes from this lecture. [Harvard]
- The Biotech Revolution and the Future of Life on Earth: Lee Silver explains how the biotech revolution offers a changing future for Earth. [Princeton]
Learn what the future has to hold for the world’s environment.
- Energy Trends and Technologies for the Coming Decades: See what we can expect from energy in the future from this lecture. [Harvard]
- Climate changes: Present, Past, and Future: Find out what influences climate change and how time factors into the equation. [Columbia]
- Jane Goodall: Reason for Hope in a Complex World: Jane Goodall’s lecture shares hope for the future. [Harvard]
- Fueling the Future: Clean Energy, Climate Security, and Sustainable Development: John Podesta’s lecture explains how we’ll use clean energy in the future, and its impacts. [Harvard]
- Is Energy’s Future Sustainable?: Matthew Simmons explains the coming Saudi oil shock and the world economy. [Harvard]
- Stabilization Wedges: Mitigation Tools for the Next Half-Century: Robert Socolow offers a look at carbon mitigation. [Princeton]
Check out these lectures to find out about education of the future.
- The Future of Rare Book Libraries: This lecture examines what we can expect from rare book libraries in the future. [Columbia]
- Brown v. Board: Looking Back, Looking Forward: This lecture discusses educational civil rights in the past, present, and future. [Harvard]
These lectures offer a look into what we can expect in our economic future.
- Explaining the Financial Crisis and What It Means for the Future of Global Development: Joseph Stiglitz, professor at Columbia University delivered this lecture to United Nations University, discussing the current financial crisis and its impact on the future of global development. [Columbia]
- Financial Markets: Robert Shiller of Yale University discusses what the future holds for the financial markets. [Yale]
- Beyond Freakonomics: New Musings on the Economics of Everyday Life: Steven Levitt takes a forward-thinking approach to economics. [Princeton]
- The Future of Banking in a Global Economy: Watch Vikram Pandit’s lecture to learn about building the foundations for a stronger financial system in the future. [Columbia]
- Women and Economic Development: Learn about the challenges and successes of women entrepreneurs in the past, present, and future. [Harvard]
- Risk and Volatility: Econometric Models and Financial Practice: Robert F. Engle, a Cornell advanced degree holder, offers a look into developing a sustainable future. [Cornell]
Look into the future of media with these lectures.
- Fifty Years in Media: Changes in Journalism: Learn how technology and society has changed journalism now and in the future. [Harvard]
- Do Movies Have a Future?: Dan Denby examines the future of movies. [Princeton]
In these lectures, you’ll find forward thinking politics.
- Perspectives on China: Reform and Sovereignty: Learn about the economics, politics, and future of China from this lecture. [Harvard]
- A New American Empire: Check out this lecture to learn about how America may use its power in the future. [Harvard]
- From State Security to Human Security: In this lecture, you’ll learn about the security and stability of the nation’s future. [Brown]
- In the War Zone: How Does Gender Matter?: Find out how gender in war is changing. [Harvard]
- Obama’s War: Why We Are Stuck in Iraq: Find out what the future holds for Iraq from this lecture. [Princeton]
- International Relations: New Approaches in a Complex World: Learn about China’s issues as a rising economic power from this lecture. [Harvard]
- Border Connections: Mexico/US Relations: Learn about the future of immigration and the border. [Harvard]
Culture & Society
Learn about the future of our society from these lectures.
- The Future of Multiculturalism: Professor Sen offers a look at what the future holds for multiculturalism. [Harvard]
- Hope or Despair? The Future of Low-Paid Work in Europe and the US: Ken Mayhew discusses the market for low paid work. [Cornell]
- Sex and Power: The State of Women in America: Susan Estrich examines women in America, past, present, and future. [Princeton]
- American Civil Liberties & Human Rights Under Siege: Professor Richard Falk of Princeton University offered this annual Frank K. Kelly Lecture on Humanity’s Future. [Princeton]
- Lyric Intimacy: Speaking to Invisible Listeners: This lecture looks to the future of lyrics. [Princeton]
These lectures cover design, American ideals, and a look at past and future.
- The Design of Everything: From Success to Failure: Henry Petroski’s lecture explains that failure offers good lessons for the future. [Princeton]
- American Ideals and National Memory: Bruce Cole offers this lecture on America’s founding, future, ideals, and memory. [Princeton]
- The Distinction of Past and Future: Cornell University President Richard Feynman’s playlist offers the most exceptional lectures from "The Character of Physical Law." [Cornell]