Professor Taleb to Debate Social Sciences' 'Hardest Problems'

Nassim N. Taleb, Polytechnic Institute of NYU distinguished professor of risk engineering, will join a multidisciplinary panel of experts on Saturday, April 10 at Harvard University to debate and prioritize the world’s hardest unsolved problems in social science. The daylong, public symposium is the first in a series Harvard will convene over the next decade across major fields of inquiry.

Professor Taleb and his fellow panelists will individually present what they believe to be the hardest unsolved problems in the social sciences, emphasizing both why the problems are hard and why they are important. At the end of the day the panelists will debate their proposals with each other and with the audience. Over the 45 days following the event, anyone from around the world will be able to view streaming video of the symposium, vote on the proposed problems, and, perhaps most important, submit additional problems for consideration and voting.

The final votes will be used, in combination with the symposium proceedings, to develop a prioritized list that Harvard hopes will serve to focus and inform research and policy directions.

Professor Taleb is the bestselling author of The Black Swan (described by The Times as one of the 12 most influential books of the past 60 years), and in 2008-09 was one of the top five most downloaded authors on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN).

Visit for more information and to watch the webcast, starting at 10:00 (EDT) a.m., Saturday, April 10.