Yale Explores kicked off its first programs of the 2019-20 academic year with a busy week, bringing its themes of collaboration, connection, and interdisciplinary learning to stops in Chicago (October 14), Houston (October 16), and Denver (October 18).
Yale Explores launched in the spring of 2018 and has now traveled to nine locations. At each stop, the program has highlighted the benefits and necessity of interdisciplinary study and research, all while bringing a piece of Yale to alumni, family, and friends around the country.
In all, more than 750 members of the Yale family turned out for last week’s three-city tour.
The program in Chicago, held at the Art Institute of Chicago, focused on creativity and inspiration and featured moderator Margaret Warner ’71 and professors Jeffrey Brock ’92 (engineering), Sarah Demers (physics), and Nicholas Turk-Browne ’09 PhD (psychology), with President Peter Salovey ’86 PhD following their panel discussion with a talk that provided context to the discourse through his own field of social psychology and the wider university lens.
“Now, more than ever, we need to invest in a vital and signature element that universities contribute to our economy, society, and future: creativity,” Salovey said. “Unlike any other sector, we bring together the best minds across cultures, national borders, political differences, and socioeconomic divides in the free pursuit of knowledge and understanding, so that we can create new ways to improve the world.”
That same focus on the importance of interdisciplinary study permeated the Houston and Denver panel discussions, held at the Four Seasons Houston and the Kimpton Hotel Born, respectively, with professors Elisa Celis (statistics and data science), Alan Gerber ’86 (political science), and Harlan Krumholz ’80 (public health) sitting down with Salovey to discuss how data and data science are transforming our lives.
“With the dramatic growth in computational power over the last several decades, we not only collect a lot of data, but we can put them to use,” said Salovey. “Your internet searches and the recommendations you receive from online businesses are all based on the data you supply. So, it is vital for us to understand how data and algorithms can be used. This isn’t just a problem for computer scientists. We need knowledge and wisdom from multiple disciplines to ensure that advances in data science will benefit our well-being and strengthen our society.”
In addition to Chicago, Houston, and Denver, Yale Explores visited Washington, D.C., and Boston in Spring 2018 before moving to Philadelphia and New York last fall and San Francisco and Los Angeles in Spring 2019.