The Undiscovered


Friday, October 26, 2018, 9:30am to 4:45pm


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Knafel Center, 10 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA

Radcliffe Institute Science Symposium

Radcliffe Science Symp image

Many great discoveries in science are surprises.

To paraphrase Louis Pasteur, sometimes luck favors the prepared mind, as when Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin by noticing that mold growing accidentally in his lab seemed to kill bacteria. At other times, new instruments offer unanticipated revelations: Galileo trained his telescope on Jupiter and found it to have moons. And, occasionally, methodical experiments find exactly the opposite of what they sought to prove. Scientists intending to measure the deceleration of the Universe’s expansion, for example, found acceleration instead.

The 2018 Radcliffe Institute science symposium will focus on how scientists explore realities they cannot anticipate. Speakers from across the disciplines of modern science will present personal experiences and discuss how to train scientists, educators, and funders to foster the expertise and open-mindedness needed to reveal undiscovered aspects of the world around us.

To register, visit


  • David Charbonneau, professor of astronomy and Harvard College Professor, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences
  • Immaculata De Vivo, interim faculty codirector of the science program, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study; professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School; and professor of epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Joel Dudley, associate professor of genetics and genomic sciences, associate professor of population health science and policy, associate professor of medicine, and director of the Next Generation Healthcare Institute, Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai
  • Stuart Firestein, professor of biological sciences, Columbia University
  • Debra Fischer RI ‘10, professor of astronomy, with joint appointment in the Department of Geology and Geophysics, Yale University
  • Robinson W. Fulweiler, associate professor in the Departments of Earth & Environment and of Biology, and director of the Boston University Marine Program, Boston University
  • Alyssa Goodman RI ‘17, faculty codirector of the science program, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study; Robert Wheeler Wilson Professor of Applied Astronomy, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences
  • Nathan E. Hultman, director, Center for Global Sustainability; associate professor, School of Public Policy; associate director, Joint Global Change Research Institute, University of Maryland; and nonresident senior fellow, the Brookings Institution
  • Lisa Kaltenegger, associate professor in astronomy and director of the Carl Sagan Institute, Cornell University
  • Jill Tarter, chair emeritus for SETI Research, SETI Institute
  • Conevery Bolton Valencius RI ’17, professor of history, Boston College

The event is free and open to the public. Register at: