Hard Problems in the Social Sciences

On Saturday, April 10, a dozen “big thinkers” in the social sciences gathered at Harvard to “identify – and ultimately tackle – the world’s thorniest unsolved problems in the social sciences” (thanks to The Monkey Cage for the scoop).

A video of the proceedings is available at the Symposium Website, which also has links to the associated Facebook page and Twitter account.

I love this use of social media:

Over the next two months, the University’s Division of Social Science will collect online submissions at Hard Problems web site and at a Hard Problems Facebook page. Anyone, anywhere, regardless of their field of expertise, is encouraged to submit questions for consideration until May 31.

And the reasoning behind leveraging social media and crowdsourcing:

“These are the sciences of our shared humanity,” he told a reporter. “But these sciences are much more in their infancy relative to physics or chemistry.”
“Because the social sciences are ultimately about people, we felt very strong that this be a democratic process and global process,” said Nash, who proposed the idea of creating a “Hilbert’s Questions” list for the social sciences and the conference, to Kosslyn. “We really want people around the world to view these videos, read the transcripts, and then vote on what they think is important,”

From HarvardScience, Culture + Society.

Also see Hard Questions from ‘Soft Sciences’ from the Wall Street Journal.

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