Big Ideas for Strange Times (Video)

A virtual lecture series features short talks on life’s bigger questions from Penn Arts & Sciences faculty.

Penn Arts & Sciences’ newest series of faculty talks was created during the COVID-19 pandemic to feed our need to engage with ideas that transcend the immediate crisis. In Big Ideas for Strange Times, we ask our professors to ponder some of life’s bigger questions in short virtual lectures. Take five minutes to expand your horizons and think about things like why humans cooperate, or where poetry comes from, or even why there is something rather than nothing. It’ll give you something new to talk about at dinner or your next Zoom happy hour.

Preview featured lectures below and click here to view all lectures in the series.




How Did Human Cooperation Evolve?

Coren Apicella
Associate Professor of Psychology





Where Does Poetry Come From?

Herman Beavers
Professor of English and Africana Studies





Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?

Mark Trodden
Fay R. and Eugene L. Langberg Professor of Physics