Hilldale Lecture Series – Current Lectures

Teju Cole
Gore Vidal Professor of the Practice of Creative Writing at Harvard University

Time and location TBD


Lars Chittka, MSc, PhD, Dr habil, FLS, FRES, FRSB
Professor in Sensory and Behavioural Ecology
Queen Mary University of London

“The Mind of a Bee”

Thursday, September 14, 2023
4:30-5:30 PM with reception aft

UW Biotechnology Center Auditorium, Rm. 1111
425 Henry Mall

Most of us are aware of the hive mind—the power of bees as an amazing collective.  Lars Chittka argues that individual bees have remarkable cognitive abilities, have distinct personalities, can recognize flowers and human faces, exhibit basic emotions, count, use simple tools, solve problems, and learn by observing others. They may even possess consciousness. Chittka illustrates how bee brains are unparalleled in the animal kingdom in terms of how much sophisticated material is packed into their tiny nervous systems. Chittka also examines the ethical dilemmas that arise in conservation and laboratory settings because bees might feel and think.




Gigliola Staffilani
MIT Abby Rockefeller Mauze Professor of Mathematics

A Small Window into Wave Turbulence Theory

Tuesday, October 24, 2023, 4-5 PM
Reception before the lecture: 2:30-4 PM

1310 Sterling Hall
475 N. Charter Street

Professor Staffilani’s proposed Hilldale lecture will be about introducing us to the most recent discoveries in the very hot area of research of wave turbulence theory and has the working title ‘A small window in wave turbulence theory’. The theory has been applied to describe waves in the ocean, nonlinear optics, waves in magnetized fluids such as solar winds, and recently, gravitational waves in the early universe. Despite the wide range of applications, there remain many open questions regarding a rigorous mathematical foundation, and Professor Staffilani is a world leader in this effort.

Eileen Crimmins, PhD
AARP Chair in Gerontology and Director of the Center on Biodemography and
Population Health at the University of Southern California

Healthy Aging: The Interaction of Social and Biological Factors

Monday, October 30, 2023
4:30-5:30 PM Lecture
5:30-6:30 PM Reception 

Memorial Union, 800 Langdon Street
Room: Tripp Commons

Morbidity and mortality occur at younger ages for those with low lifetime socioeconomic status, adversity in childhood and adulthood, are members of a minority group, have adverse health behaviors, and those with adverse psychological states.  These “Social Hallmarks of Aging” are analogous to the “Geroscience Hallmarks of Aging” in reflecting a set of underlying and interrelated social causes of multiple age-related health outcomes. This lecture presents empirical work incorporating the social hallmarks of aging with the multiple biological hallmarks of aging as well downstream biology to show how these factors interact to influence a range of health outcomes.  This analysis shows the relative strength of the associations of social and biological measures with important health outcomes and points to where interventions will make the greatest impact on healthy aging.


Raj Chetty (postponed from 2020-2021)
William A. Ackman Professor of Economics, Harvard University

Time and location TBD