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SSU 112 — Stanford Tuesday University: 2020

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Tuesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 4 weeks
Date(s): Oct 6—Oct 27
Time: 5:00—6:10 pm (PT)
Drop Deadline: Oct 8
Unit: 0
Grade Restriction: NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Tuition: $115
Limit: 500
Status: Open
Please Note: Some of our refund deadlines have changed. See this course's drop deadline above and click here for the full policy.
Live Online(About Formats)
5:00—6:10 pm (PT)
Oct 6—Oct 27
4 weeks
Drop By
Oct 8
0 Unit
Grade Restriction
NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Please Note: Some of our refund deadlines have changed. See this course's drop deadline above and click here for the full policy.
We are pleased to host our tenth annual “Saturday (now Tuesday) University” in a brand-new format that will allow us to continue this tradition virtually until we are able to gather again in classrooms. Instead of lectures presented in a single day, we will offer a four-lecture evening series with one speaker presenting each Tuesday. As always, we look forward to shared intellectual stimulation featuring some of Stanford’s most engaging faculty. In the past, this event has drawn two hundred to three hundred participants. We are confident that this fall’s lineup will be just as popular and exhilarating. Please join us.


Session 1
Tuesday, October 6, 5:00 - 6:10 pm (PT)

How a Coronavirus Changed the World as We Knew It and How the Lessons Learned Can Prepare Us for Future Pandemics

Philip Pizzo, David and Susan Heckerman Professor of Pediatrics and of Microbiology and Immunology and Former Dean, Stanford School of Medicine; Founding Director, Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute

Since the first recorded pandemic in Athens in the fifth century BCE, microorganisms have intersected with humans individually and as pandemics, impacting health and transforming nations and history. Today, the increasing proximity of humans to animals, migration of individuals to urban settings with high population density and more older individuals, and globalization, climate change, and air travel have all added to the risk for pandemics. In this talk, Professor Pizzo will review the extraordinary events that have unfolded in the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, including the impact on individuals, institutions, communities, and society, and the lessons learned as we anticipate future pandemics and continue to navigate this one.

Session 2 Tuesday, October 13, 5:00 - 6:10 pm (PT)

Climate Change: Accelerating the Search for Solutions

Chris Field, Melvin and Joan Lane Professor for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies, Stanford; Perry L. McCarty Director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment

As the dire impacts of global climate change become ever more obvious and alarming, technological solutions are fortunately growing more mature, affordable, and practical. But they are still being deployed far too slowly. Professor Field will examine how leveling the economic playing field, investments by government, and novel mechanisms to spur international collaboration can accelerate progress—and perhaps avert the cataclysmic consequences of climate disruption.

Session 3 Tuesday, October 20, 5:00 - 6:10 pm (PT)

Net Neutrality: The Battle to Keep the Internet Open and Free

Barbara van Schewick, Professor of Law, Helen L. Crocker Faculty Scholar, and Director of the Center for Internet and Society, Stanford Law School; Professor, by courtesy, of Electrical Engineering, Stanford

It’s easy to take for granted that we can use the websites and apps of our choice—or that anyone, with just a few dollars, can start a website that’s accessible to everyone on the internet. That’s thanks to net neutrality, the long-standing principle that we the users decide how we use the internet, not the companies we pay to get us online. But in 2017, the FCC made a radical decision to eliminate all net neutrality protections. In this talk, we will explore what net neutrality is, why it matters for innovation and free speech, and where we are in the fight to restore strong protections in the US.

Session 4 Tuesday, October 27, 5:00 - 6:10 pm (PT)

How to Lead the Good Life: Lessons from the Greeks

Marsh McCall, Professor of Classics, Emeritus; Founding Dean of Stanford Continuing Studies

In this lecture, we will explore five proposals from the ancient Greeks on how to live a good life. We might be as surprised by the way they framed their questions as we are challenged by their profound answers. How can Socrates argue that no one does harm voluntarily? What does Plato mean by telling us that we might achieve perfection by developing a sense of “tableness”? Why does Aristotle say that every right action is on a sliding scale of relativism? How can the Epicureans insist that we dismiss all fear of death through a belief in atomism? And why do the Stoics illustrate the connection of fate and free will with a picture of a horse, a cart, and a dog? As we move from one magnificent vision of “the good life” to the next, we might find ourselves pledging our total allegiance to each one in turn.