New York Thought: Smart Things to Do in NYC This Week

Evolution, cosmology, and speaking truth to power highlight our picks for the best smart things to do in NYC this week.

Monday, March 20

The “Public Forum” series at The Public Theater looks at how to be a citizen, and how culture can respond, in the post-11/9 era. This week’s iteration brings out some big names: Jelani Cobb, Masha Gessen, and Aasif Mandvi, joined in conversation with New Yorker editor David Remnick.

Image: Ben Queenborough

Explorer Tristan Gooley comes to The Explorers Club to talk about water, navigation, and his adventures (he’s the only living person to have both flown solo and sailed single-handed across the Atlantic).

Tuesday, March 21

Professor of evolutionary anthropology Dr. Brian Hare is an expert in the brains of bonobos, chimps, and dogs. He’ll use their inner lives to explain the evolution of the human brain, which he argues developed at least in part for friendliness. That insight in turn has important things to say about democracy, and “why institutions are critical to our future success.” American Museum of Natural History.

Following up on his explanations of how the universe could have arisen from nothing, theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss’s new book looks at reality itself, which is even weirder than we think. Actor Alan Alda joins him in conversation. Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.

Catch a night of mixed medias at powerHouse Arena, as The Midnight Cool Revue brings together live period music, an original 1919 Edison Amberola Cylinder player, and vintage recruitment posters on a night celebrating The Midnight Cool, a novel set on the cusp of the U.S entry into WWI.

Wednesday, March 22

The ringer for the latest edition of Drunk Science at Littlefield is anthropology professor Dr. William Harcourt-Smith, whose expertise includes human evolution and an Early Miocene field site in Kenya.

Brand yourself at Iconic Branding, a discussion with Japanese creative director and Uniqlo logo designer Kashiwa Sato. Japan Society.

Singapore’s star close-up magician gets together with a neuroscientist at the Rubin Museum of Art to look at how magicians are master manipulators. Learn the science behind the distorted perception we experience with sleight of hand.

Thursday, March 23

The latest series of peripatetic conversations begins this spring at the Onassis Cultural Center. Philosopher Simon Critchley kicks off the first one with classics professor Angelos Chaniotis, curator of the new exhibition A World of Emotions: Ancient Greece, 700 BC–200 AD (free).

Hear from award-winning international human rights lawyer and social entrepreneur Jaykumar Menon, a “longshot for justice,” at a Brown University event at the UJA Conference Center.

Tickle the ivories at Keyboard Conversations with pianist Jeffrey Siegel, focused on the Golden Age of the Piano. Scandinavia House: The Nordic Center in America.

Nietzsche 13/13 continues with an exploration of Jacques Derrida, juxtaposed with the ’90s writings of Gilles Deleuze. A professor of romance studies, an expert in 19th- and 20th-century literature, and a philosopher/musicologist provide insight. Columbia University.


Find our picks for the weekend here.

When a Nobel Laureate speaks, who listens? Sign up for Thought Gallery’s weekly Curriculum and get the best of smart NYC delivered right to your inbox.