Master of Ceremonies
Floyd Abrams is commonly recognized as the foremost First Amendment lawyer in America today. He is a partner at Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP and is a member of their Executive Committee and Litigation Practice Group. He has argued before the Supreme Court numerous times in cases raising issues as diverse as the scope of the First Amendment, the interpretation of ERISA, the nature of broadcast regulation, the impact of copyright law, and the continuing viability of the Miranda rule. His clients have included such parties as The McGraw-Hill Companies, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, Time Magazine, Business Week, The Nation, Reader’s Digest, Hearst, and AIG. He has represented Standard & Poor’s in litigations about its ratings; the Brooklyn Museum of Art in its legal battles with Rudolph Giuliani; and perhaps most famously, The New York Times in the Pentagon Papers case. Bolstering his already universal acclaim, in 2006 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and in 2011, Yale Law School announced the formation of The Floyd Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression, whose mission is to promote free speech, scholarship, and law reform on emerging questions concerning traditional and new media. Abrams is a graduate of Cornell University and Yale Law School.
Steven Pinker is an experimental psychologist and one of the world’s most prominent writers on language, the mind, and human nature. He is currently the Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. Prior to Harvard, he taught at Stanford University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research on visual cognition and the psychology of language has won prizes from the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Institution of Great Britain, the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, and the American Psychological Association. He has also received seven honorary doctorates, several teaching awards at MIT and Harvard, and numerous prizes for his books, The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, and The Blank Slate. He is chair of the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary and often writes for The New York Times, Time, and The New Republic. He has been named Humanist of the Year, Prospect magazine’s “The World’s Top 100 Public Intellectuals,” Foreign Policy’s “100 Global Thinkers,” and Time magazine’s “The 100 Most Influential People in the World Today.” Pinker is a graduate of McGill University, MIT, and Harvard University.