I read somewhere that a new trend in American colleges is for academics to be asked to give ‘the last lecture’, i.e. the lecture they would give if this was to be their last.
It’s a very interesting idea – I suspect a lot of academics might give talks on subjects that they are truly interested in, not necessarily than their own area of specialization! In my case, I find myself giving quite a few public talks on cosmology recently, mainly because there is such public interest in the topic, and we are seeing such exciting results the last few years.
You can see clips from a recent cosmology talkof mine here, though I’m told you can’t really see the overheads. Next week, I’m giving a public talk on cosmology and religion ( ‘The Big Bang and the Mind of God’) – the things I get into…
Getting back to the last lecture, there is also a very nice book on the topic here – in this case, the academic (Randy Pausch) was diagnosed with a terminal disease, but decided to go ahead with the lecture anyway. A lovely book, and you can see recordings of the lecture itself on u-tube here