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Endless Education

June 06, 2013

Last week, NYU once again partnered with the World Science Festival, which held dozens of events across the city—offering titles such as "Spooky Action: The Drama of Quantum Mechanics," "Cheers to Science! A Drinkable Feast of Beer, Biotechnology, and Archaeology," "Cellular Surgeons: The New Era of Nanomedicine," and "Multiverse: One Universe or Many?" As they have been since 2008, many of these lectures and discussions were centered across Washington Square.

Even for those of us now more than a few years (or, well, decades) removed from school, we could attend these sessions, sit in those smallish seats, and be transported back to a time when nothing was asked of us but to discover, process, and draw our own conclusions. Of course, the real world demands far different things on a typical day, but being inspired and challenged shouldn’t end when our academic careers do.

That's what makes the World Science Festival feel special. The rooms are full of all ages and pedigrees. There are accountants sitting next to physicists, students sitting next to surgeons. Everyone is engaged; the pressure is off. The only requirement is that you bring your imagination and your attention.

Luckily, this opportunity doesn't just come and go with the World Science Festival. With lectures and discussions open to the public almost every day at NYU, one could get an education just by showing up to our events. And that's what universities do. Behind all the pomp and circumstance, behind the politics and the personalities, there’s one goal that never wavers: to advance knowledge. NYU's first responsibility, of course, is to provide this for our registered students. But in the process, happily, we offer some version of that to everyone who seeks to keep learning.

—Jason Hollander

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