As part of Penn’s Alumni Weekend festivities, Penn Arts & Sciences faculty, students, alumni, and friends gathered on Saturday, May 14, in Bodek Lounge at Houston Hall for the 60-Second Slam, a friendly competition inspired by the School’s long-running 60-Second Lecture series, which features short talks by faculty each spring and fall on campus.
Nine speakers—two faculty, two graduate students, two alumni, and three undergraduate students— delivered mini-lectures fine-tuned down to 60 seconds (give or take). The event was moderated by Paul Sniegowski, Steven A. Levin Dean of the College and Professor of Biology, and a panel of student judges evaluated the talks based on content, delivery, and brevity.
The 2022 Champion was Michael Gordon, C’87. In his talk, “I Apologize for the Next 60 Seconds,” he began with an appreciation of a liberal arts education, which he says formed the cornerstone of his career. Gordon heads a communications firm called Group Gordon, and his work sometimes involves helping organizations make effective public apologies. He says a good apology avoids defensive posturing.
“I thought all of the speakers were great,” Gordon says. “I learned something from every talk and found each person inspiring in a different way. For mine, I tried to connect liberal arts skills and values to something topical. Keeping it very short was challenging but fun!”
This year’s Audience Choice Winner was “Heads or Tails? Life Lessons From a Coin Flip,” by Sudeep Bhatia, Assistant Professor of Psychology. Bhatia began by challenging the audience to a $25 gamble to illustrate the fact that most people are “loss averse” and how this tendency can negatively affect their lifelong decision-making strategies.
Below, you can watch the winning lectures, and you can view all the lectures from the 2022 60-Second Slam here.
Michael Gordon, C’87 | “I Apologize for the Next 60 Seconds”
Sudeep Bhatia | “Heads or Tails? Life Lessons From a Coin Flip”