A couple of weeks ago we wrote about the April 10th Hardest Problems Symposium that took place at Harvard University. The one day symposium brought together twelve panelists from top universities to share, in their view, the toughest social science challenges.
The panelists identified the top thirty hardest, most important, unsolved problems in social science today, including:
– How do we develop a better intercultural relationship between the Islamic and Western worlds?
– How we can achieve inclusive growth in the population and sustainable development?
– How do we achieve world peace?
Videos of the symposium (proposals and discussions) can be found here.
So what’s next? From now until the end of June, you can voice your opinion by submitting your hardest problems or voting on problems already identified. This web initiative is equally important because each new proposal presents new ideas and perspective. While narrowing down the toughest, most complex issues of our time is important, The Indira Foundation’s goal is to inspire us to bring these challenges to light AND eventually solve them. In June, Harvard will announce the problems that receive the highest votes.
Nicholas Nash (Indira Foundation) commented on the famous Hilbert problems saying, “…having important, unsolved problems is essential to the vitality of a discipline. And, as important, by identifying those problems, we can inspire future generations to solve them.”
Vote here: Toughest Questions Poll
Panel experts included: Nick Bostrom (Oxford), Susan Carey (Harvard), Nicholas Christakis (Harvard), James Fowler (UCSD), Roland Fryer (Harvard), Claudia Goldin (Harvard), Gary King (Harvard), Emily Oster (Chicago), Ann Swidler (Berkeley), Nassim Taleb (NYU/Polytech), and Richard Zeckhauser (Harvard).