Provost's Lecture Series

A partnership of the Office of the Provost and the OSU Foundation to bring renowned thinkers, writers, scientists, artists and leaders to OSU to engage, challenge and inspire.


Featuring Laurie Santos: Psychologist, Podcast Host and Yale Professor of Psychology 

The Science of Happiness

The Provost's Lecture featuring Laurie Santos is the second lecture in the 2022-23 series. Dr. Santos is a renowned psychologist, host of the popular podcast The Happiness Lab, and professor of psychology at Yale University. The lecture titled "The Science of Happiness" will explore what new results in psychological science teach us about how to be happier, how to feel less stressed, how to flourish more, and how to put these scientific findings into practice by building the sorts of habits that will allow us to live a happier and more fulfilling life. Following the lecture, Dr. Santos will engage in a moderated Q&A with Brian Primack, Dean of the College of Public Health and Human Sciences. 

The Provost's Lecture with Laurie Santos was held on April 4 via Zoom Webinar. 

Dr. Laurie Santos is the Chandrika and Ranjan Tandon Professor of Psychology and Head of Silliman College at Yale University. Dr. Santos is an expert on human cognition and the cognitive biases that impede better choices. Her course, "Psychology and the Good Life," teaches students what the science of psychology says about how to make wiser choices and live a life that is happier and more fulfilling. The class is Yale's most popular course in over 300 years and has been adapted into a free Coursera program that has been taken by over 3.3 million people to date. The popularity of the class has prompted Yale to create a free online course. Dr. Santos is the host of the podcast, The Happiness Lab. 

From her research, Santos speaks to how we are biologically programmed to be motivated by sex, to be deeply influenced by other people - and to repeat our mistakes. And while Santos often uses subjects from the animal kingdom to help explain our sometimes-illogical behaviors, she also provides advice on how to engage our uniquely human faculties to counteract evolution, choose more wisely, and live happier lives. 

Dr. Santos has been featured in numerous news outlets including the New York Times, NBC Nightly News, The Today Show, CBS This Morning, NPR, GQ Magazine, Slate, CNN, and O, The Oprah Magazine. Dr. Santos is a winner of numerous awards both for her science and teaching from institutions such as Yale and the American Psychological Association. She has been featured as one of Popular Science's "Brilliant 10" young minds and was TIME's "Leading Campus Celebrity." Her podcast, The Happiness Lab, launched in 2019 and has over 35 million downloads. 




Closed captioning is available for the entire virtual lecture.

For accommodations please contact

Upcoming Speakers


Diana Henriques 
November 8, 2023

Michael Pollan
April 2, 2024

Previous Speakers


Sam Quinones 
November 14, 2022

Mary Karr
April 13, 2022

David Eagleman
October 27, 2021

Mae C. Jemison
February 4, 2021

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
November 9, 2020

Image of W. Kamau Bell, Provost's Lecture Speaker, OSU 2019

W. Kamau Bell
January 31, 2019

Image of Maya LIn, Provost's Lectuer 2018

Maya Lin
April 26, 2018

image of Robin Chase, Provost's Lecturer 2017

Robin Chase
March 8, 2017

image of Ruth Reichl, OSU Provost's Lecturer, 2016

Ruth Reichl
February 17, 2016

image of Michael Beschloss, OSU Provost's Lecturer 2015

Michael Beschloss
November 10, 2015

image of Richard Besser, OSU Provost's Lecturer 2015

Richard Besser
April 13, 2015

Cheryl Strayed
January 15, 2015