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Robert Waldinger: Unlocking the Secret to Happiness

16 August 2023
6.30pm – 7.30pm AEST
Science Theatre, UNSW Kensington
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Robert Waldinger | Stephanie Ward

As we grapple with a cost of living crisis and increasing individual isolation, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, disconnected and downcast. But what if the secrets to unlocking a happier life were right in front of you, and not that far out of reach?  

Over a remarkable 85 years, the Harvard Study of Adult Development has conducted an unprecedented investigation on happiness. Through this extensive research, led by distinguished Harvard researcher (and TED talk celebrity) Robert Waldinger, the study unearthed a profound truth: the key to a fulfilled life lies not in financial wealth or our work, but rather in the power of our relationships. 

Join Robert Waldinger for an evening of discovery, as he discusses his remarkable study which uncovers the recipe for a happier life with Dr Stephanie Ward (expert geriatrician on the ABC’s Old People's Home for 4 Year Olds and Teenagers).  

This event is presented by the UNSW Centre for Ideas and UNSW Medicine & Health as a part of National Science Week, and supported by Byron Writers Festival and Brisbane Powerhouse.  


The Science Theatre is located at UNSW Sydney's Kensington Campus. Please note this is a live event only, and will not be available via livestream. 


You're probably just as excited as we are about the Matildas semifinal match this evening! After the close of tonight's talk at 7.30pm, we encourage you to head to the UNSW Village Green just a short walk from the Science Theatre to watch the match on the big screen (BYO picnic blanket). Event staff will be available to help direct you to this location.

Should wet weather affect this viewing location, the game will be broadcast at the UNSW Roundhouse. 





Wheelchair Access
The Science Theatre is located at UNSW Sydney's Kensington campus (highlighted red on this map). The closest accessible drop-off point to the Science Theatre is towards the rear of the building, with access via Gate 2, High Street. Vehicles can drop off patrons directly adjacent to the Business School west wing which is then a 200 metre walk approximately. More information on getting there can be found via our interactive accessibility map available here.

Hearing Loop
The Science Theatre has hearing assistive technology available. Patrons wishing to utilise this service must collect a Roger™ inductive neck loop receiver from the venue staff, and this system can be used with a hearing aid or cochlear implant with a T-coil, or with headphones.

Auslan & Captioning 
Auslan interpreting services and/or live captioning can be provided for selected talks upon request.

To book and discuss access services, please call the Centre for Ideas on 02 9065 0485 or email


The Science Theatre is easily accessible via public transport and the closest light rail stop is UNSW Anzac Parade (L3 line). For more information please call the Transport Infoline on 131 500 or visit

Free parking is also available in the Barker St Car Park (Gate 14) from 5.30pm. For access to free parking, event patrons must park in the UNSW Permit Holder bays, available on all levels. The Barker St Car Park (Gate 14) parking station is located here. 

Paid casual and visitor parking is offered via the CellOPark App and ‘pay by plate meters’ in all other UNSW car parks. For more information head here



For all the other enquiries, please email or call the Centre for ideas on 02 9065 0485.

The Centre for Ideas is happy to receive phone calls via the National Relay Service. TTY users, phone 133 677, then ask for 02 9065 0485. Speak and Listen users, phone 1300 555 727 then ask for 02 9065 0485. For more information on all other relay calls visit here.

Robert Waldinger

Robert Waldinger

Robert Waldinger is a Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development at Massachusetts General Hospital, and co-founder of the Lifespan Research Foundation. Dr Waldinger received his AB from Harvard College and his MD from Harvard Medical School. He is a practicing psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, and he directs a psychotherapy teaching program for Harvard psychiatry residents. He is also a Zen master (Roshi) and teaches meditation in New England and around the world. Robert is the co-author, with Marc Schulz, of the book The Good Life: Lessons From the World’s Longest Scientific Study on Happiness

Stephanie Ward

Stephanie Ward

Dr Stephanie Ward is a Senior Research Fellow for the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing in the Faculty of Medicine & Health at UNSW Sydney, along with being the Clinical Lead of the Australian Dementia Network Registry, the first clinical quality registry for dementia in Australia. Ward leads the SNORE-ASA substudy of the ASPREE study, investigating sleep apnea and its relationship with cognition and neuroimaging in healthy older adults. She is also involved in randomised controlled trials evaluating interventions to promote healthy ageing, including a trial of intergenerational contact. Stephanie has been an expert geriatrician on the award-winning ABC factual series Old People's Home for 4 Year Olds and Teenagers that has further exemplified the reciprocal benefits of joining young and old together. Dr Ward is also a practicing geriatrician at the Prince of Wales Hospital, leading an inpatient acute medical unit and working in a cognitive disorders clinic.