Past Event

A Neuroscientist and a Humanist Walk into a Bar...

What if William Shakespeare tried to apply for a grant from the National Institutes of Health to write Hamlet?

That’s the kind of question Northwestern University professors Susie Phillips and Indira Raman like to discuss when they get together. The two are on the vanguard of ideas at the intersection of science and humanism.

This new–and exciting–collaboration between biologists and art historians, cognitive scientists and literary scholars, sparks big questions: Is our sense of beauty an evolutionary adaptation? Are we hard-wired to tell stories? How can humanistic inquiry inspire scientific questions?

Phillips, an expert on gossip and medieval literature, and Raman, a neurobiologist who studies the transmission of electrical signals in the nervous system, share this dynamic exchange of ideas. They talk about how cutting-edge science can inform humanistic scholarship and vice versa, and how partnerships such as theirs can enliven research and teaching alike.

This program is generously underwritten by Sonia Marschak.

For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit or call (312) 494-9509.