Around the 17th century, London saw the rise of the coffeehouse as European intellectuals shifted their consumption away from beer in favor of coffee. For one penny, any man could buy a cup of coffee and gain access to a multitude of knowledge, hence the coffeehouse's eventual nickname of "Penny Universities."


These environments eventually spurred the rise of the Enlightenment: people could come together to share ideas with strangers which drove multidisciplinary innovation. Their philosophy -- excluding the blatant sexism of barring women from taking part in these conversational groups -- is what we aim to re-introduce in higher education today.