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What is the Prediction Project?

The Prediction Project creates, collects, and curates materials documenting and analyzing how humans have predicted their futures over time.  The website, where you are now, points visitors to the many avenues where the materials used, including


-- modular "courses" on edX --

-- collections of materials on LabXchange --

-- invited lectures and presentations --

-- standalone online interactive tools --

-- a Freshman Seminar at Harvard -- 

-- a GenEd course at Harvard -- 


The blue-themed Prediction Project "map" above shows how the project's pieces fit together, and gives hints as to which online platform(s) present various topics.  We recommend you visit PREDICTION TOPICS to become familiar with what we mean by "Essentials," "Omens, Oracles & Prophecies," "The Rise of Theory," and "Modern Prediction" headings you see on the map.  If you are looking for particular material, or you're  interested in how we teach these topics online and in-person, try COURSES.

Future expansions in the works for the Prediction Project include a book, museum exhibits, a non-profit foundation, and potentially a documentary series.  Prof. Alyssa Goodman is the leader of the Prediction Project  which now includes the work of, and interviews with, more than 30 other faculty from across Harvard's schools and Departments, and beyond.


A key motivation behind the Prediction Project is to inspire a deeper global conversation about how today, unlike in the past, quantitative simulation allows us to quantify how “certain” we can be about various aspects of  the future--including climate change.  The video below offers a talk Prof. Goodman delivered at Harvard's 2020 "virtual" reunion,  covering aspects of the Prediction Project related to uncertainty.


The Prediction project was founded at Harvard by Prof. Alyssa Goodman, who serves as its "host" and lead organizer.  Critically, though, the project presents the expertise of dozens of experts--from Harvard and beyond-- on a wide range of topics.  

Here's a quick alphabetical list (updated periodically!) of the experts whose work and thoughts are featured in PredictionX--

  1. Davíd Carrasco (Harvard Divinity School)

  2. George Church (Harvard Medical School)

  3. Dylan Clark (Archaeology, University of North Carolina)

  4. Immaculata De Vivo (Harvard Medical School & Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health)

  5. Emma Dench (Harvard HIstory)

  6. Peter Der Manuelian (Harvard Anthropology and Harvard Semitic Museum)

  7. Stuart Firestein (Columbia University)

  8. Rown Flad (Harvard Anthropology)

  9. Michael Foley (Harvard Astronomy)

  10. Colin Fredericks (HarvardX)

  11. Daniel Gilbert (Harvard Psychology)

  12. Owen Gingerich (Harvard Astronomy and HIstory of Science)

  13. Don Goldmann (Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health)

  14. Alyssa Goodman (Harvard Astronomy, Radcliffe Insitute for Advanced Study (host))

  15. Edward (Ned) Hall (Harvard Philosophy) 

  16. Emilie Hardman (while at Houghton Library, Harvard)

  17. Rebecca Henderson (Harvard Business School)

  18. John Huth (Harvard Physics)

  19. Dan Kammen (UC Berkeley)

  20. Peter Kraft (Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health)

  21. David Laibson (Harvard Economics) 

  22. James Leonard (Independent Performance Artist)

  23. Avi Loeb (Harvard Astronomy)

  24. Gina McCarthy (Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health)

  25. Rory McEvoy (Royal Observatory, Greenwich, England)

  26. Brendan Meade (Harvard Earth and Planetary Science)

  27. Susan Murphy (Harvard Statistics) 

  28. Megan Murray (Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health)

  29. Laura Nasrallah (Harvard Divinity School)

  30. Jacob Olupuna (Harvard Divinitiy School)

  31. John Overholt (Hougton LIbrary, Harvard)

  32. Agustín Rayo (MIT Philosophy)

  33. Martin Rees (University of Cambridge)

  34. Simon Schaffer (University of Cambridge)

  35. Sara Schechner (Harvard University Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments)

  36. Ben Shneiderman (University of Maryland)

  37. Dava Sobel (Independent Science Writer)

  38. Rosalind Stanwell-Smith (John Snow Society, London)

  39. Piotr Steinkeller (Harvard Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations)

  40. Jill Tarter (SETI Institute)

  41. Curtis Wong (Microsoft Research, Retired)

With special thanks to: Aurora Avallone (Harvard College), Jody Blackwell (Harvard College Observatory), Jais Brohinsky (Harvard, UWisconsin), Howard Cutler (WGBH, retired), Iriving Finkel (British Museum), Eric Floehr (Forecast Watch), Elliott Hyman (Harvard College), Grayson Kemplin (Harvard College), Jill Lepore (Harvard History), Simon Levien (Harvard College), Drew Lichtenstein (HarvardX), Elaheh Kheirandish (Harvard), Lily Nguyen (Harvard College), Mridula Shan (Harvard College), Mirac Suzgun (Harvard College), London Vallery (Harvard College) for their additional contributions to the intellectual content of PredictionX, through off-camera conversations and research.  Here's a fun video featuring some of the course production staff!

We acknowledge support at Harvard from: HarvardX;  LabXchange; The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study; The Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning; The Freshman Seminar Program; The Harvard Libraries; The Harvard Museums of Science and Culture; The Harvard Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments; and The Program in General Education.  The Timeline Consortium "spinoff" of PredictionX is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

If you are interested in contributing to the expansion of this project, including via the Path-to Foundation, please contact  Prof. Alyssa Goodman directly.



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