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Apr 03, 2014 11:32 AM EDT

Raising The Bar: NYC Professors To Lecture, Answer Questions, And Mingle In Area Bars This April... For Free!


The small liberal arts college I attended was so cozily situated in the rolling hills of upstate NY that we had our own campus pub, where it wasn't unusual to meet a professor for drinks after class. Sometimes, professors even held discussions there. This April 29, a New York City nonprofit is attempting to create a similar atmosphere (but on a much larger scale) by organizing free lectures by noted college professors in 50 area bars, Newsday reported.

With help from Columbia and NYU, Raising the Bar recruited professors from both schools, including renowned economist Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia. (He'll be speaking about "The Price of Inequality.") Tickets are free, but seats must be reserved in advance. About half the speakers are already sold out, Stiglitz being one of them.

The idea of the event is to integrate academia, which can seem impenetrable and stuffy even to current college students, into the larger community. Topics are serious and specific, but also entertaining and appealing to a general audience. The night's description by its organizers:

We are citizens of New York City. We are aspiring actors, doctors, economists, writers, and bankers. Although we're all different, we share a passion for constant innovation and change. We want to always be learning. We want to constantly be inspired, inside and outside of the classroom. That's why we decided to bring the city's brightest minds to the last place you would expect them: in your neighborhood bar. So grab a beer and come learn how to build a spaceship. We are going to shake this city up, and we want you to join us.

Adam Brandenburger, an NYU professor whose presentation is about game theory, called the event a chance to raise the profile of education to the same heights as New York Fashion Week and other staples of the city.  

"Education should be as visible and evident in the city as New York Fashion Week or when we hear about a cool new exhibition at MoMa," he told Newsday.

The night of the event (a Tuesday, probably to limit walk-ins and as a convenient way to drum up business on a weekday), professors will be the main attraction. They'll speak to the entire bar for 40 minutes, take questions afterwards, and then mingle for the rest of the evening.

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