Barbara Fredrickson

Director of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory at UNC, Fredrickson is best known for her broaden-and-build theory of positive emotion, which proposes that positive emotions have been evolutionarily adaptive. Her new book, Love 2.0, provides a new conceptualization of love-positing that instead of thinking of love strictly in terms of romantic or passionate relationships, we should be focusing more on momentary interactions and ordinary, everyday experiences that generate the emotion of love. She reviews interesting research on social behavior and biological correlates of these moments of experiencing love, and concludes that they cumulatively impact health and longevity.

James Elkins

James Elkins is E.C. Chadbourne Professor in the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism, at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Author of over a dozen books, Elkins' writing focuses on the history and theory of images in art, science, and nature. Some of his books are exclusively on fine art (What Painting Is, Why Are Our Pictures Puzzles?). Others include scientific and non-art images, writing systems, and archaeology (The Domain of Images, On Pictures and the Words That Fail Them), and some are about natural history (How to Use Your Eyes). His most recent books are What Photography Is, written against Roland Barthes's Camera Lucida, and Art Critiques: A Guide. Elkins' work raises the serious question about the place that passion and passionate response might have in a university classroom, in general, and in a university discussion of artwork, in particular.

Philip Fisher

Philip Fisher is a renowned literary analyst and cultural theorist. The Felice Crowl Reid Professor of English at Harvard University, he has written on numerous issues and themes, but most relevant to this series is his 2002 book, The Vehement Passions, which analyzes the nature and value of vehement emotion.

Lars Svendsen

Svendsen is a Norwegian philosopher. He is the author of 12 books, and has been translated to 27 languages. Six of his books are available in English: A Philosophy of Boredom (2005), Fashion: A Philosophy (2006), A Philosophy of Fear (2008), A Philosophy of Evil (2010) and A Philosophy of Freedom (2014). He is currently working on a book on loneliness. In A Philosophy of Boredom, Svendsen investigates one of the central preoccupations of our age as it probes the nature of boredom, how it originated, how and why it afflicts us, and why we cannot seem to overcome it by any act of will.

Helen Fisher

Author of five books on the evolution and future of human sex, love, marriage, and gender differences in the brain, Fisher's most recent research uses fMRI to study the brain systems and chemistry involved in romantic or passionate love. Fisher has given several TED talks in which she summarizes her work for a popular but educated audience. In addition to her university work, Fisher is also Chief Scientific Advisor to the Internet dating site, Chemistry.com, a division of Match.com, which seeks to mathematize relationships in ways that secure a greater likelihood of producing successful love. Whether or not this is possible and at what price is a topic very much on the minds of people today as they navigate relationships in the new framework set up by contemporary technologies and the social lives they organize.

Robert H. Frank

In addition to his co-authorship with Ben Bernanke of one of the most widely used textbooks in Economics, Frank is a regular contributor to the Sunday New York Times. He is a wide-ranging economist whose work connects with psychology and sociology. His work is at the intersection of morality, emotion, and economic life. He is well known for complicating the foundational model of the rational actor as agent of economic life with his account of the important role that passion and emotions play in decision making, even economic decision making.