Director’s Lecture Series

Gleditsia triacanthos 'skyline' 485-56-ADirector’s Lecture Series

Each winter, Director William (Ned) Friedman and the Arnold Arboretum present the Director’s Lecture Series, featuring nationally recognized experts addressing an array of topics related to Earth’s biodiversity and evolutionary history, the environment, conservation biology, and key social issues associated with current science. The Director’s Lecture Series is open to current Arnold Arboretum members only; visit our membership page for information on becoming a member. Lectures take place in the Hunnewell Building Lecture Hall. Parking will be available along the Arborway and in front of the Hunnewell Building on lecture nights.

Visit Past DLS Series to see descriptions and listen to audio (when available) of past lectures.

2020 Series

(still in development)

Steven Pinker is the Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology and a Harvard College professor and he is the author of the new book, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence has Declined. Rose Lincoln /Harvard Staff Photographer

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress

Steven Pinker, Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology, Harvard University

Monday, March 9, 7:00–8:30pm; Hunnewell Building

Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Assessing the human condition in the third millennium, cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophesies of doom, which play to our psychological biases. Instead, Pinker suggests that we follow the data with which he shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise, not just in the West, but worldwide. This progress is not the result of some cosmic force. It is a gift of the Enlightenment: the conviction that reason and science can enhance human flourishing.

Fee Free. Members only. Registration required as seating is limited

Steven Pinker won the 2018 Carl Sagan Award for Public Appreciation of Science from the Council of Scientific Society Presidents. The award is given annually by the society to recognize an individual for outstanding achievement in improving the public understanding and appreciation of science.

The Director’s Lecture Series is a benefit of membership. Become a member of the Friends of the Arnold Arboretum.