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Simons Foundation: Sharp Shots and Hot Hands

Community Culture Education Entertainment


6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Reserve Your Free Ticket

Gerald D. Fischbach Auditorium
160 5th Ave
New York, NY 10010 United States

Have you ever wondered how professional basketball players can perform under such immense pressure? Screaming fans, cheerleaders with megaphones and blaring music are just a few elements that add to this particularly challenging environment. Not to mention, most arenas are strategically designed to play into this extreme excitement to create a home-court advantage for its players.

Some players and teams seem to possess a knack for overcoming distractions and even embodying what is referred to as the ‘hot hand phenomenon,’ a notion that suggests that after a string of successes, a player or team is more likely to have continued success.

Eddy Albarran is a neuroscientist who studies reinforcement learning, which occurs when neuronal activity generates bodily movements that are then refined via feedback from the environment. He is particularly interested in how dopamine-driven outcomes, such as effectively making a 3-pointer from half-court, for example, sculpt brain circuits during this process.

Tim Chartier is an applied mathematician and professor at Davidson College who uses advanced sports analytics and statistics to study the different playing styles of teams. This data-driven approach to the sport has led him and his students to work with coaches from top college teams across the nation and teams in the NBA to reveal underlying insights into how they operate.

As we draw nearer to one of basketball’s most thrilling times of the year, March Madness, we invite you to join them in sitting down with Elizabeth Simolke, program manager of Science, Society & Culture at the Simons Foundation, to discuss the intersections of neuroscience, statistics and one of the country’s most beloved sports.

Advanced registration is required for this event. 


Doors open: 5:30 p.m. (No entrance before 5:30 p.m.)

In Conversation: 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. (Admittance closes at 6:20 p.m.)

Reception: 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.

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