New York Public Library

New York Public Library and Floating University Announce Partnership To Present ‘Great Big Ideas’ Video Lecture Series

Press Release   •   Nov 04, 2011 05:29 EDT

The New York Public Library (NYPL) and The Floating University, a new educational media venture, have formed a partnership to provide library patrons access to the nation’s most esteemed scholars via a new multi-media lecture series beginning November 14. “Great Big Ideas,” Floating University’s extraordinary inaugural course, features expert scholars and practitioners on diverse subjects including demography, art, physics, finance, education and psychology – all key components of an undergraduate education.

“With its stimulating lectures and virtual classroom, The Floating University represents an exciting opportunity for personalized learning to make knowledge available to ever-increasing numbers of people — the goal of NYPL,” said Anthony Marx, president of The New York Public Library. “We are excited to initiate this partnership with the NYPL and introduce our new video lecture series in this esteemed venue,” said Adam Glick, Co-Founder of The Floating University. “The Library’s patrons who attend these public lectures will have access to the same scholars who are teaching our courses at Harvard, Yale and Bard.” Floating University video lectures provide an effective introduction to thinking differently and a primer in the diverse modes of problem solving essential for success in the 21st century. Lecturers will discuss the most current, innovative ideas in their field, dissect the arguments, and look at how they impact not only the world at large but our individual lives as well. The following five lectures from The Floating University's 12-part series will be offered on-site to library patrons as free public programs, beginning November 14, 2011 and continuing into 2012:  

  • November 14 at 10am @ Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
    Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, New York City
    Dr. Nicholas Christakis, Professor of Sociology at Harvard University
    Video lecture: If You’re So Free, Why Do You Follow Others? The Sociology and Science behind Social Networks and Human Interaction 
  • December 1 at 1pm @ Science Industry and Business Library – Healy Hall
    188 Madison Avenue, New York CityDr. Joel Cohen, Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of Populations, Rockefeller University, Mathematical Biologist, Columbia University
    (Dr. Cohen will lead the discussion)
    Video lecture: Malthus Miffed: Are People the Problem, the Solution or Both?
  • December 9 at 10am @ Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
    Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, New York City
    Dr. Paul Bloom, Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science at Yale University
    Video Lecture:  The Psychology of Everything: What Compassion, Racism, and Sex tell us about Human Nature.
  • February 29, 2012 at 6pm @ Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
    Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, New York City
    Dr. Leon Botstein, President and Leon Levy Professor of Bard College
    (Dr. Botstein will lead the discussion)
    Video lecture: Art Now: Aesthetics Across Music, Painting, Architecture, Movies and More
  • Winter 2012 @ Science Industry and Business Library – Healy Hall
    188 Madison Avenue, New York CityDr. Michio Kaku, Henry Semat Professor of Theoretical Physics at CUNY
    (Dr. Kaku will lead the discussion)
    Video lecture: The Universe in a Nutshell: The Physics of Everything.

At NYPL, “Great Big Ideas” will give Library patrons an introduction to a variety of subjects in a way that allows them to explore unfamiliar territory, ask leading questions, and look at these topics under the guidance of some of the nation’s leading experts; in essence providing an entire education while standing on one foot.   About The New York Public Library The New York Public Library was created in 1895 with the consolidation of the private libraries of John Jacob Astor and James Lenox with the Samuel Jones Tilden Trust. The Library provides free and open access to its physical and electronic collections and information, as well as to its services. It comprises four research centers – housed, respectively, in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building; The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; and the Science, Industry and Business Library – and 90 locations in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. Research and circulating collections combined total more than 65 million items, including materials for the visually impaired. In addition, each year the Library presents thousands of exhibitions and public programs, which include classes in technology, literacy, and English as a second language. The New York Public Library serves more than 18 million patrons who come through its doors annually and another 25 million users internationally, who access collections and services through the NYPL website,   The Floating University is a joint venture between The Jack Parker Corporation and Big Think (, a knowledge forum where the world’s leading experts explore the big ideas and core skills defining the 21st Century. The company produces and distributes online multi-media curricula featuring video lectures from leading scholars and practitioners around the world. Its first course, Great Big Ideas, is offered to universities free of charge, and licensed to the public at