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Program Speakers A-Z

A
Antony Antony
Musician, visual artist
With the band Antony and the Johnsons, Antony tears at the heart with his astonishing voice. A busy musical collaborator, he's also an accomplished visual artist.

One day I’ll grow up and be a beautiful woman … but for today I am a child / for today I am a boy …
– "For Today I Am a Boy," Antony and the Johnsons

Shapeshifter: that’s the word that comes to mind when one encounters Antony. Born in England, raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, and coming of age artistically in New York’s gay experimental theater and cabaret scene of the early 1990s, Antony infuses all he does with moodiness, drama, and delight in playing with appearances.  His androgynous, not-quite-of-this world voice expresses both vulnerability and strength, and is often compared to that of Nina Simone.
 
Antony has worked with Lou Reed, Leonard Cohen, Boy George and Bjork, and recorded four albums with Antony and the Johnsons, among them 2005’s I Am a Bird Now, which won the UK’s prestigious Mercury Prize.
Session 7: Radical Collaboration
Wed Mar 2, 2011
5:00 – 6:45
Dan Ariely Dan Ariely
Behavioral economist
The dismal science of economics is not as firmly grounded in actual behavior as was once supposed. In "Predictably Irrational," Dan Ariely told us why.

Dan Ariely is a professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University and a founding member of the Center for Advanced Hindsight. He is the author of the bestsellers Predictably IrrationalThe Upside of Irrationality, and The Honest Truth About Dishonesty. Through his research and his (often amusing and unorthodox) experiments, he questions the forces that influence human behavior and the irrational ways in which we often all behave.

TED University Session 3
Thurs Mar 3, 2011
8:30 – 10:15
Mattias Astrom Mattias Astrom
Entrepreneur
Matties Astrom is a serial entrepreneur working on 3-D mapping technologies. Session 3: Mindblowing
Tues Mar 1, 2011
5:00 – 6:45
Anthony Atala Anthony Atala
Surgeon
Anthony Atala asks, "Can we grow organs instead of transplanting them?" His lab at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine is doing just that -- engineering over 30 tissues and whole organs.

Anthony Atala is the director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, where his work focuses on growing and regenerating tissues and organs. His team engineered the first lab-grown organ to be implanted into a human -- a bladder -- and is developing experimental fabrication technology that can "print" human tissue on demand.

In 2007, Atala and a team of Harvard University researchers showed that stem cells can be harvested from the amniotic fluid of pregnant women. This and other breakthroughs in the development of smart bio-materials and tissue fabrication technology promises to revolutionize the practice of medicine.

Session 9: Threads of Discovery
Thurs Mar 3, 2011
2:15 – 4:00
Bruce Aylward Bruce Aylward
Epidemiologist
As the Assistant Director-General of the World Health Organization’s Polio and Emergencies Cluster, Bruce Aylward works to ensure that polio stays under control and that the world is prepared to respond to health crises.

A Canadian physician and epidemiologist who has authored some 100 peer-reviewed articles and chapters, Bruce Aylward is an expert on infectious diseases. He joined the World Health Organization in 1992 and worked in the field for seven years on national immunization programs for measles, tetanus and hepatitis in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. 

Aylward has overseen and managed the scale-up of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative since 1998, during which time the program expanded to operate in every country of the world, the annual global budget increased to $700 million a year, polio-funded staff deployed by WHO grew to over 3,500 people worldwide, and new monovalent oral poliovirus vaccines were developed for the programme. In 2014, only three countries remained polio-endemic.

He says: "It's been estimated that our investment in smallpox eradication pays off every 26 days."

Since 2011, Aylward has also led WHO’s work in preparedness, readiness and response to health emergencies. By developing global strategies, analyzing health trends and advising on policies and country collaboration, the WHO helps make sure that outbreaks — like the 2014 ebola epidemic — stay under control. 

Session 6: Knowledge Revolution
Wed Mar 2, 2011
2:15 – 4:00
Amina Az-Zubair Amina Az-Zubair
Development worker
Amina Az-Zubair is National Coordinator for Education for All, at Nigeria's ministry of education. She's taking a hard look at a failed system, and investing global funds to make it work. Session 6: Knowledge Revolution
Wed Mar 2, 2011
2:15 – 4:00
B
Isabel Behncke Izquierdo Isabel Behncke Izquierdo
Primatologist
TED Fellow Isabel Behncke Izquierdo studies the social behavior (and play behavior in particular) of wild bonobos in DR Congo.

TED Fellow Isabel Behncke Izquierdo writes: I was born and raised in Chile, and was educated in animal behaviour and evolutionary anthropology in Cambridge and Oxford. For my PhD work, I study the social behaviour (and play behaviour in particular) of wild bonobos in DR Congo.

Bonobos are, together with chimpanzees, our living closest relatives; however we know very little about them -- mostly through captive work. In Wamba, a most remote jungle location, I have observed unique aspects of bonobo lives (from imaginary play and laughter to inter-group encounters to accidents and death) that challenge and illuminate our understanding of human evolution. I aim to link the play of adult bonobos to insights on human laughter, joy, creativity and our capacity for wonder and exploration.

 

TED University Session 3
Thurs Mar 3, 2011
8:30 – 10:15
Maya Beiser Maya Beiser
Cellist
Maya Beiser commissions and performs radical new work for the cello.

The founding cellist of the Bang on a Can All Stars, cellist Maya Beiser is a frequent collaborator with artists across the spectrum of creativity -- visual artists such as Shirin Neshat, video artists such as Irit Batsry -- to produce groundbreaking multimedia concerts.

Composers who write for her follow her passion for melding influences -- Middle Eastern sounds, classic and modern tones. Her newest project, Elsewhere, is described as "a CELLoOpera." Elsewhere is an imaginative retelling of the Biblical legend of Lot's wife, created by the "dream team" of Maya, director Robert Woodruff, composers Missy Mazzoli and Eve Beglarian, writer Erin Cressida Wilson, and choreographer Karole Armitage

Session 4: Deep Mystery
Wed Mar 2, 2011
8:30 – 10:15
Terrence McArdle + Ben Newhouse Terrence McArdle + Ben Newhouse
Inventors
Terrence McArdle + Ben Newhouse create interfaces that blur the distinction between the digital and the real. Session 5: Worlds Imagined
Wed Mar 2, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
Eythor Bender Eythor Bender
Berkeley Bionics' CEO
Eythor Bender is the CEO of Berkeley Bionics, which augments humans with wearable, powered and artificially intelligent devices called exoskeletons or "wearable robots."

Eythor Bender is the CEO of Berkeley Bionics, which augments humans with wearable, powered and artificially intelligent devices called exoskeletons or "wearable robots." User of the HULC (Human Universal Load Carrier) can carry up to 200 pounds for hours and over all terrains. eLEGS, an exoskeleton for wheelchair users, powers paraplegics up to get them standing and walking.

Bender has fostered innovation with bionic and orthopedic technologies throughout his career, taking them from unconventional approaches to sustainable, FDA-approved products that help individuals participate in their community. Such was the case with the boomerang-shaped prosthesis Cheetah Flex-Foot by Ossur, worn by the history-making bilateral amputee Oscar Pistorius. Bender's team fought for, and won, Pistorius' right to compete in the Olympics.

Session 8: Invention and Consequence
Thurs Mar 3, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
Mark Bezos Mark Bezos
Activist, volunteer firefighter
Mark Bezos works at Robin Hood, a poverty-fighting charity in New York City, and the assistant captain of a volunteer fire company in suburban New York.

Mark Bezos is the SVP, Development, Communications & Events at Robin Hood, the leading poverty-fighting charity in New York City. Bezos joined Robin Hood following the sale of his advertising agency, excited to have found a way to use his powers of persuasion for good.

Bezos is the Assistant Captain of a volunteer fire company in Westchester County, New York, where he lives with his wife and four children. He is continuously amazed and motivated by the everyday acts of heroism--big and small--that surround him.

TED University Session 2
Tues Mar 1, 2011
8:30 – 10:30
Ed Boyden Ed Boyden
Neuroengineer
At the MIT Media Lab, Ed Boyden leads the Synthetic Neurobiology Group, which invents technologies to reveal how cognition and emotion arise from brain networks -- and to enable systematic repair of disorders such as epilepsy and PTSD.

Working with an extraordinary array of tools -- from 3-D printers to lasers to flasks of algae -- Ed Boyden is creating new brains. A pioneer in the field of optogenetics, he is the founder and principal investigator of the synthetic neurobiology group at MIT.

Using a combination of lasers and genetic engineering, he implants brains with optical fibers that allow him to activate special proteins in specific neurons and see their connections. In addition to helping create detailed maps of brain circuitry, the engineering of these cells has been used to cure blindness in mice, and could point the way to cures for Parkinsons or Alzheimers, or to ways of connecting to the brain via prosthetics.

Session 9: Threads of Discovery
Thurs Mar 3, 2011
2:15 – 4:00
David Brooks David Brooks
Columnist
New York Times columnist David Brooks is the author of “Bobos in Paradise,” “On Paradise Drive,” and the narrative of neuroscience, "The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character and Achievement."

Writer and thinker David Brooks has covered business, crime and politics (as well as subbing in as the Wall Street Journal's movie critic) over a long career in journalism. He's an Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times in a legendary run that started in September 2003.

His column looks deeply into the social currents that underpin American life. He's the author of Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There and On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now (And Always Have) in the Future Tense. His most recent book, The Social Animal, examines new findings in brain science in the context of a story about two successful people whose lives unfold in ways that neurological research is helping us understand more deeply. 

Brroks is a frequent analyst on NPR’s All Things Considered and a commentator on The Newshour with Jim Lehrer.

 

Session 1: Monumental
Tues Mar 1, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
Sunni Brown Sunni Brown
Visualizer and gamestorming
In her book "Gamestorming," Sunni Brown shows how using art and games can empower serious problem-solving.

Sunni Brown is co-author of GameStorming: A Playbook for Rule-breakers, Innovators and Changemakers. She’s known for her large-scale live content visualizations, and she is also the leader of the Doodle Revolution – a growing effort to debunk the myth that doodling is a distraction. Using common sense, experience and neuroscience, Sunni is proving that to doodle is to ignite your whole mind. Look for her second book, The Doodle Revolution, in 2012.

Her consultancy, BrightSpot I.D., specializes in visual thinking and information design. She was trained in graphic facilitation at the Grove Consultants International, a San Francisco-based company that pioneered the use of large-scale visuals in business settings. Sunni co-founded VizThink Austin, which under her leadership grew to be the largest visual thinking community in the United States.

Session 2: Majestic
Tues Mar 1, 2011
2:15 – 4:00
C
Homaro Cantu Homaro Cantu
Chef
The executive chef at Chicago's Moto restaurant, Homaro Cantu created postmodern cuisine and futuristic food delivery systems.

You could call Homaro Cantu a chef -- or an inventor of futuristic food delivery systems. A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Portland, Oregon, he worked in Charlie Trotter’s restaurant in Chicago, where he rose to the position of sous chef, then left to found Moto, a path-breaking restaurant with a molecular gastronomy approach. Moto puts Cantu’s concepts and creations into practice by melding food with science, technology and art. Michael Eisner once described Cantu as the most revolutionary person in food since Ray Kroc.

Through his company Cantu Designs, Chef Cantu filed numerous patent applications covering dining implements, cookware, printed food and hoped to develop his inventions for commercial, humanitarian and aerospace applications. In 2013 he released The Miracle Berry Diet Cookbook to imagine uses for the flavor-tripping "miracle fruit." As he said: "Any idea's a great idea as long as it tastes great." Cantu passed away in April 2015.

 

Session 3: Mindblowing
Tues Mar 1, 2011
5:00 – 6:45
David Christian David Christian
Historian
David Christian teaches an ambitious world history course that tells the tale of the entire universe -- from the Big Bang 13 billion years ago to present day.

David Christian is by training a historian of Russia and the Soviet Union, but since the 1980s he has become interested in world history on very large scales. He has written on the social and material history of the 19th-century Russian peasantry, in particular on aspects of diet and the role of alcohol. In 1989, he began teaching courses on "Big History," surveying the past on the largest possible scales, including those of biology and astronomy.

Christian is a member of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. Over the next few years he will also be working with the support of Bill Gates to create an online course in "Big History" for high school students.

Watch the Big History series on H2 >>  

Session 6: Knowledge Revolution
Wed Mar 2, 2011
2:15 – 4:00
Béatrice Coron Béatrice Coron
Papercutter artist
Béatrice Coron has developed a language of storytelling by papercutting multi-layered stories.

Béatrice Coron tells stories informed by life. Her own life colors her work: after briefly studying art at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts of Lyon, and Mandarin Chinese at the Université of Lyon III, Coron experienced life with a series of odd jobs. She has been, among others, a shepherdess, truck driver, factory worker, cleaning lady and New York City tour guide. She has lived in France (her native country) , Egypt and Mexico for one year each, and China for two years. She moved to New York in 1985, where she reinvented herself as an artist.

Coron's oeuvre includes illustration, book arts, fine art and public art. She cuts her characteristic silhouette designs in paper and Tyvek. She also creates works in stone, glass, metal, rubber, stained glass and digital media. Her work has been purchased by major museum collections, such as the Metropolitan Museum, the Walker Art Center and The Getty. Her public art can be seen in subways, airport and sports facilities among others.

Session 10: Beauty, Imagination, Enchantment
Thurs Mar 3, 2011
5:00 – 6:45
Matt Cutts Matt Cutts
Technologist
Matt Cutts is an engineer at Google, where he fights linkspam and helps webmasters understand how search works.

Matt Cutts works on search at Google, specializing in search optimization. He's a friendly and public face for helping webmasters understand how Google's search actually works, making hundreds of videos that answer questions about SEO. (SearchEngineLand made this handy chart of all of them.) He's an advocate for cutting down on poor practice such as link spam. He also wrote the first version of SafeSearch, Google’s family filter.

Read about all of Cutts' "30 days" adventures here >>

TED University Session 3
Thurs Mar 3, 2011
8:30 – 10:15
D
Antonio Damasio Antonio Damasio
Neuroscientist
Antonio Damasio's research in neuroscience has shown that emotions play a central role in social cognition and decision-making. His work has had a major influence on current understanding of the neural systems, which underlie memory, language, consciousness.

Antonio Damasio is a leader in understanding the biological origin of consciousness. He also argues that emotions, far from being barriers to it, are a crucial component of decision-making. He is founder and director of the USC Brain and Creativity Institute, which draws on partners across academic disciplines to use the explosion of new neuroscience results to tackle issues from mental health to societal and global change.

Damasio is the author of Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain, which was adapted into a musical composition performed by Yo-Yo Ma at the American Museum of Natural History.

Session 4: Deep Mystery
Wed Mar 2, 2011
8:30 – 10:15
E
Roger Ebert Roger Ebert
Film critic and blogger
After losing the power to speak, legendary film critic Roger Ebert went on to write about creativity, race, politics and culture -- and film, just as brilliantly as ever.

By any measure, Roger Ebert was a legend. The first person to win a Pulitzer for film criticism, as film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, he was best known for his decades-long reign as the co-host of Sneak Previews, a TV show with fellow Chicago critic Gene Siskel. For 23 years and three title changes (finally settling on Siskel and Ebert and the Movies) the two critics offered smart, short-form film criticism that guided America's moviegoing. After Gene Siskel died in 1999, Ebert kept on with critic Richard Roeper. (And he was also the co-screenwriter of the Russ Meyer cult classic Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, a fact that astounded more than a few young film students.)

In 2006, Ebert began treatment for thyroid cancer. He told the story of his many surgeries and setbacks in an immensely-worth-reading Esquire story in 2010. Enduring procedure after procedure, he eventually lost the lower part of his jaw -- and with it his ability to eat and speak. Turning to his blog and to Twitter, he found a new voice for his film work and his sparkling thoughts on ... just about everything. He tried his hand as an Amazon affiliate, became a finalist in the New Yorker caption contest, and started a controversy or two. In 2013 Ebert passed away from cancer at the age of 70.

Session 12: Only If. If Only.
Fri Mar 4, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
Janet Echelman Janet Echelman
Artist
American artist Janet Echelman reshapes urban airspace with monumental, fluidly moving sculpture that responds to environmental forces including wind, water, and sunlight.

Janet Echelman builds living, breathing sculpture environments that respond to the forces of nature — wind, water and light— and become inviting focal points for civic life.

Exploring the potential of unlikely materials, from fishing net to atomized water particles, Echelman combines ancient craft with cutting-edge technology to create her permanent sculpture at the scale of buildings. Experiential in nature, the result is sculpture that shifts from being an object you look at, to something you can get lost in.

Recent prominent works include “Her Secret is Patience”, which spans two city blocks in downtown Phoenix,  “Water Sky Garden”, which premiered for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, and “She Changes”, which transformed a waterfront plaza in Porto, Portugal.  Her newest commission creates a “Zone of Recomposure” in the new Terminal 2 at San Francisco International Airport. Upcoming projects include the remaking of Dilworth Plaza in front of Philadelphia City Hall -- turning it into a garden of dry-mist.

Session 9: Threads of Discovery
Thurs Mar 3, 2011
2:15 – 4:00
Ric Elias Ric Elias
Entrepreneur
Ric Elias is the CEO of Red Ventures, a marketing services company that grew out of Elias' long experience in business.

Born in Puerto Rico, Ric Elias came to the United States for college knowing little English, as he writes in his online bio . So what did he do? "I adjusted my schedule and took only classes that dealt with numbers my entire first year," he says. "I'd always been decent at math, and things like calculus and accounting were non-lingual. I was able to buy some time to improve my English skills." His facility with numbers has led to a wide-ranging career in business and finance.

Elias is the CEO and co-founder of Red Ventures, a firm that helps large service companies acquire new customers online. He began his career in General Electric Co.'s Aerospace Division, then worked at the marketing services company CUC International (later known as Cendant). Prior to founding Red Ventures, Ric served as president of Spark Network Services, a promotion and data company held by Cendant.

"I'm a frustrated athlete," says Elias. "To me, business is the Olympics for non-athletes. It comes down to loving competition; figuring out whom we should compete against and how to beat them."

TED University Session 3
Thurs Mar 3, 2011
8:30 – 10:15
Juan Enriquez Juan Enriquez
Futurist
Juan Enriquez thinks and writes about profound changes that genomics will bring in business, technology, and society.

A broad thinker who studies the intersection of science, business and society, Juan Enriquez has a talent for bridging disciplines to build a coherent look ahead. Enriquez was the founding director of the Harvard Business School Life Sciences Project, and has published widely on topics from the technical (global nucleotide data flow) to the sociological (gene research and national competitiveness), and was a member of Celera Genomics founder Craig Venter's marine-based team to collect genetic data from the world's oceans.

Formerly CEO of Mexico City's Urban Development Corporation and chief of staff for Mexico's secretary of state, Enriquez played a role in reforming Mexico's domestic policy and helped negotiate a cease-fire with Zapatista rebels. He is a Managing Director at Excel Medical Ventures, a life sciences venture capital firm, and the chair and CEO of Biotechonomy, a research and investment firm helping to fund new genomics firms. The Untied States of America looks at the forces threatening America's future as a unified country.

In his TED Book Homo Evolutis (written with Steve Gullens), Enriquez explores the far reaches of human change, and asks: Are we done evolving?

Session 9: Threads of Discovery
Thurs Mar 3, 2011
2:15 – 4:00
F
Harvey Fineberg Harvey Fineberg
Health policy expert
Harvey Fineberg studies medical decisionmaking -- from how we roll out new medical technology, to how we cope with new illnesses and threatened epidemics.

As president of the Institute of Medicine, Harvey Fineberg thinks deeply about new medicine, both its broad possibilities and the moral and philosophical questions that each new treatment brings. How do we decide which treatment to use in a tricky case -- both individually and as a community? Is it fair that the richest hospitals get the best healthcare? Who should bear the risk (and gain the reward) of trying the newest treatments?

Fineberg helped found and served as president of the Society for Medical Decision Making and also served as consultant to the World Health Organization. He was provost of Harvard from 1997 to 2001, following thirteen years as Dean of the Harvard School of Public Health. He has devoted most of his academic career to the fields of health policy and medical decision making. His past research has focused on the process of policy development and implementation, assessment of medical technology, evaluation and use of vaccines, and dissemination of medical innovations.

Session 11: The Echo of Time
Fri Mar 4, 2011
8:30 – 10:15
Bill Ford Bill Ford
Executive chair, Ford Motor Co.
As executive chair of the Ford Motor Company, Bill Ford leads the company that put the world on wheels.

William Clay Ford Jr. is the executive chair of the Ford Motor Company, founded by his great-grandfather, Henry Ford, in Detroit. This massive company found great success selling cars to the world. Now, Ford is looking toward a future that's not simply about selling more and more cars. Ford looks to a future where cars are greener and cleaner, move more efficiently on better, smarter road systems -- and sometimes are replaced by mass transit and other forms of mobility.

Ford joined Ford Motor Company in 1979 as a product planning analyst.  He subsequently held a variety of positions in manufacturing, sales, marketing, product development and finance.  During the breakthrough 1982 Ford-United Auto Workers labor talks, which launched the employee involvement movement that revolutionized the industry, he served on the company’s National Bargaining Team.

Mr. Ford joined the Board of Directors in 1988 and has been its chairman since January 1999.  He serves as chairman of the board's Finance Committee and as a member of the Sustainability Committee.  He also served as chief executive officer of the company from October 2001 to September 2006, when he was named executive chairman.

As CEO, Mr. Ford improved quality, lowered costs and delivered exciting new products.  During his time in that position he took the company from a $5.5 billion loss in 2001 to three straight years of profitability.  Through the years, his vision for the company has remained unchanged.

He says: "The ongoing success of Ford Motor Company is my life’s work. We want to have an even greater impact in our next 100 years than we did in our first 100."

Session 5: Worlds Imagined
Wed Mar 2, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
G
Bill Gates Bill Gates
Philanthropist
A passionate techie and a shrewd businessman, Bill Gates changed the world while leading Microsoft to dizzying success. Now he's doing it again with his own style of philanthropy and passion for innovation.

Bill Gates is the founder and former CEO of Microsoft. A geek icon, tech visionary and business trailblazer, Gates' leadership -- fueled by his long-held dream that millions might realize their potential through great software -- made Microsoft a personal computing powerhouse and a trendsetter in the Internet dawn. Whether you're a suit, chef, quant, artist, media maven, nurse or gamer, you've probably used a Microsoft product today.

In summer of 2008, Gates left his day-to-day role with Microsoft to focus on philanthropy. Holding that all lives have equal value (no matter where they're being lived), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has now donated staggering sums to HIV/AIDS programs, libraries, agriculture research and disaster relief -- and offered vital guidance and creative funding to programs in global health and education. Gates believes his tech-centric strategy for giving will prove the killer app of planet Earth's next big upgrade.

Read a collection of Bill and Melinda Gates' annual letters, where they take stock of the Gates Foundation and the world. And follow his ongoing thinking on his personal website, The Gates Notes. His new paper, "The Next Epidemic," is published by the New England Journal of Medicine.

Session 6: Knowledge Revolution
Wed Mar 2, 2011
2:15 – 4:00
Wael Ghonim Wael Ghonim
Activist
Google executive Wael Ghonim began a Facebook page that galvanized protest in Egypt's democratic revolution.

Wael Ghonim is an Internet activist and computer engineer, and a member of Google Ventures. As "ElShaheeed," he started up an influential Facebook page that galvanized voices of protest in Egypt. In early 2011, he was detained by the Egyptian government for 11 days -- when freed after international pressure, he revealed his identity, and became a leading fugure in the youth revolution that forced Hosni Mubarak from power.

Session 7: Radical Collaboration
Wed Mar 2, 2011
5:00 – 6:45
Robert Gupta Robert Gupta
Violinist
Violinist Robert Gupta joined the LA Philharmonic at the age of 19 -- and maintains a passionate parallel interest in neurobiology and mental health issues. He's a TED Senior Fellow.

Violinist Robert Vijay Gupta joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the age of 19. He made his solo debut, at age 11, with the Israel Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta. He has a Master's in music from Yale. But his undergraduate degree? Pre-med. As an undergrad, Gupta was part of several research projects in neuro- and neurodegenerative biology. He held Research Assistant positions at CUNY Hunter College in New York City, where he worked on spinal cord neuronal regeneration, and at the Harvard Institutes of Medicine Center for Neurologic Diseases, where he studied the biochemical pathology of Parkinson's disease.

Gupta is passionate about education and outreach, both as a musician and as an activist for mental health issues. He has the privilege of working with Nathaniel Ayers, the brilliant, schizophrenic musician featured in "The Soloist," as his violin teacher.

TED University Session 3
Thurs Mar 3, 2011
8:30 – 10:15
Ron Gutman Ron Gutman
Entrepreneur
Ron Gutman is the founder and CEO of HealthTap, free mobile and online apps for health info. He's also the organizer of TEDxSiliconValley.

Ron Gutman is the founder and CEO of HealthTap -- free mobile and online apps for immediate access to relevant, reliable and trusted health answers and tips from a network of over 38,000 U.S.-licensed doctors. He's responsible for the company's innovation, vision and product. Before this, he foundes and led an online consumer health company that developed the world's largest community of independent health writers; it was acquired in early 2009.

As a graduate student at Stanford, Gutman organized and led a multidisciplinary group of faculty and graduate students from the schools of Engineering, Medicine, Business, Psychology and Law to conduct research in personalized health and to design ways to help people live healthier, happier lives. He is an angel investor and advisor to health and technology companies such as Rock Health (the first Interactive Health Incubator) and Harvard Medical School's SMArt Initiative ("Substitutable Medical Apps, reusable technologies"). He's the organizer of TEDxSiliconValley.

Find links to all the studies that Gutman references in his talk right here >>

TED University Session 2
Tues Mar 1, 2011
8:30 – 10:30
H
Robert Hammond Robert Hammond
Friend of the High Line
The co-founder of Friends of the High Line, Robert Hammond helped lead the effort to build an elevated park on an abandoned railway line in Manhattan.

Robert Hammond is the co-founder and former executive director of Friends of the High Line. He's worked as a consultant for a variety of entrepreneurial endeavors and nonprofits, including the Times Square Alliance, Alliance for the Arts and National Cooperative Bank (NCB).

Hammond is also a self-taught artist. From 2002 to 2005 he served as an Ex-Officio Trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He was awarded the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome in 2009.

TED University Session 1
Mon Feb 28, 2011
4:00 – 5:30
Franz Harary Franz Harary
Magician
Over the past 30 years, more people have seen the magic of Franz Harary globally than that of any other magician. He stars in his own live show, Mega Magic, the largest touring illusion production in the world. Session 3: Mindblowing
Tues Mar 1, 2011
5:00 – 6:45
Kate Hartman Kate Hartman
Artist and technologist
Kate Hartman creates devices and interfaces for humans, houseplants, and glaciers. Her work playfully questions the ways in which we relate and communicate.

Kate Hartman, Professor of Wearable and Mobile Technology at the Ontario College of Art and Design, uses simple, open-source technology to build objects and do-it-yourself kits, such as her Inflatable Heart or Glacier Embracing Suit -- that allow for new modes of expression and communication.

She is the co-creator of Botanicalls, a system for letting plants tweet and call their owners when they need watering, or more sunlight. Aways mixing the whimsical with the thought provoking, Hartman and her work raise key questions about how we communicate with our environment, and with ourselves.
Session 10: Beauty, Imagination, Enchantment
Thurs Mar 3, 2011
5:00 – 6:45
Thomas Heatherwick Thomas Heatherwick
Designer
Thomas Heatherwick is the founder of Heatherwick Studio, an architecture and design firm that, among other projects, designed the astonishing "Seed Cathedral" for the UK Pavilion at Shanghai Expo 2010.

Thomas Heatherwick founded Heatherwick Studio in 1994 with his aim being "to bring architecture, design and sculpture together within a single practice." On the team, architects, landscape architects, designers and engineers work from a combined studio and workshop, where concept development, detailing, prototyping and small-scale fabrication take place. The studio's work spans commercial and residential building projects, masterplanning and infrastructure schemes as well as high profile works of public art.

From his biography at the Design Museum:

Heatherwick finds pleasure in what other designers might perceive as unconventional commissions, like the entrance and carpark for Guys Hospital, near London Bridge. He responded with an organic woven façade, created from stainless steel braid that requires little maintenance and creates a new system for routing traffic. In this context, what Heatherwick cites as his dream design job is unsurprising: a large-scale car park for the 1970s new town, Milton Keynes. “It’s is a weird place but I find it exciting because its infrastructure is taken so seriously,” Heatherwick explains, “It needs multistory car parks. But what world-class example of a well designed car park can you think of? There’s not much competition and they’re a very cheap building typology so you could build the best car park in the world for a fraction of the cost of the fanciest new art gallery… I’d like to work on the world’s best car park.”

Session 2: Majestic
Tues Mar 1, 2011
2:15 – 4:00
Shea Hembrey Shea Hembrey
Artist and curator
Shea Hembrey explores patterns from nature and myth. A childhood love of nature, and especially birdlife, informs his vision.

Shea Hembrey's art imitates nature’s forms, in an attempt to appreciate how humans have always appropriated and learned from forms in nature. An early fascination with birds (as a teenager, he was a licensed breeder of migratory waterfowl), led to "Mirror Nests," a series of metal replicas of bird nests exhibited at Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology observatory.

Hembrey works with focused concentration on a single project, letting his research into his subject direct the media and methods of the final product. He has produced works on folk and faith healing inspired by his healer grandfather, and his view of art was profoundly changed while studying Maori art while he was a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar to New Zealand.

Session 10: Beauty, Imagination, Enchantment
Thurs Mar 3, 2011
5:00 – 6:45
Dennis Hong Dennis Hong
Roboticist
Dennis Hong is the founder and director of RoMeLa -- a Virginia Tech robotics lab that has pioneered several breakthroughs in robot design and engineering.

As director of a groundbreaking robotics lab, Dennis Hong guides his team of students through projects on robot locomotion and mechanism design, creating award-winning humanoid robots like DARwIn (Dynamic Anthropomorphic Robot with Intelligence). His team is known as RoMeLa (Robotics & Mechanisms Laboratory) and operates at Virginia Tech.

Hong has also pioneered various innovations in soft-body robots, using a “whole-skin locomotion” as inspired by amoebae. Marrying robotics with biochemistry, he has been able to generate new types of motion with these ingenious forms. For his contributions to the field, Hong was selected as a NASA Summer Faculty Fellow in 2005, given the CAREER award by the National Science Foundation in 2007 and in 2009, named as one of Popular Science's Brilliant 10. He is also a gourmet chef and a magician, performing shows for charity and lecturing on the science of magic.

Session 8: Invention and Consequence
Thurs Mar 3, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
Jack Horner Jack Horner
Dinosaur digger
Jack Horner and his dig teams have discovered the first evidence of parental care in dinosaurs, extensive nesting grounds, evidence of dinosaur herds, and the world’s first dinosaur embryos. He's now exploring how to build a dinosaur.

Paleontologist Jack Horner discovered the first dinosaur eggs in the Western Hemisphere, the first evidence of dinosaur colonial nesting, the first evidence of parental care among dinosaurs, and the first dinosaur embryos.

Horner's research covers a wide range of topics about dinosaurs, including their behavior, physiology, ecology and evolution. Due to struggles with the learning disability, dyslexia, Horner does not hold a formal college degree but was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of Montana in 1986. Also in 1986 he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship.

He's the Curator of Paleontology at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana, and is widely acknowledged to be the inspiration for the main character in the book and film Jurassic Park.

Session 11: The Echo of Time
Fri Mar 4, 2011
8:30 – 10:15
Damon Horowitz Damon Horowitz
Philosopher, entrepreneur
Damon Horowitz explores what is possible at the boundaries of technology and the humanities.

Damon Horowitz is a philosophy professor and serial entrepreneur. He recently joined Google as In-House Philosopher / Director of Engineering, heading development of several initiatives involving social and search. He came to Google from Aardvark, the social search engine, where he was co-founder and CTO, overseeing product development and research strategy. Prior to Aardvark, Horowitz built several companies around applications of intelligent language processing. He co-founded Perspecta (acquired by Excite), was lead architect for Novation Biosciences (acquired by Agilent), and co-founded NewsDB (now Daylife).

Horowitz teaches courses in philosophy, cognitive science, and computer science at several institutions, including Stanford, NYU, University of Pennsylvania and San Quentin State Prison.

Get more information on the Prison University Project >>

Session 4: Deep Mystery
Wed Mar 2, 2011
8:30 – 10:15
John Hunter John Hunter
Educator
Teacher and musician John Hunter is the inventor of the World Peace Game (and the star of the documentary "World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements").

Musician, teacher, filmmaker and game designer, John Hunter has dedicated his life to helping children realize their full potential. His own life story is one of a never-ending quest for harmony. As a student, he studied comparative religions and philosophy while traveling through Japan, China and India. In India, inspired by Ghandi's philosophy, he began to think about the role of the schoolteacher in creating a more peaceful world.

As his online biography says: "Accepting the reality of violence, he would seek to incorporate ways to explore harmony in various situations. This exploration would take form in the framework of a game – something that students would enjoy. Within the game data space, they would be challenged, while enhancing collaborative and communication skills."

In 1978, at the Richmond Community High School, Hunter led the first sessions of his World Peace Game, a hands-on political simulation. The game has now been played around the world, on a four-tiered board. It's the subject of the new film World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements.

Read John Hunter's note to the community following the publication of his TEDTalk >>

Session 12: Only If. If Only.
Fri Mar 4, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
J
JR JR
Street artist
With a camera, a dedicated wheatpasting crew and the help of whole villages and favelas, 2011 TED Prize winner JR shows the world its true face.

Working anonymously, pasting his giant images on buildings, trains, bridges, the often-guerrilla artist JR forces us to see each other. Traveling to distant, often dangerous places -- the slums of Kenya, the favelas of Brazil -- he infiltrates communities, befriending inhabitants and recruiting them as models and collaborators. He gets in his subjects’ faces with a 28mm wide-angle lens, resulting in portraits that are unguarded, funny, soulful, real, that capture the sprits of individuals who normally go unseen. The blown-up images pasted on urban surfaces – the sides of buildings, bridges, trains, buses, on rooftops -- confront and engage audiences where they least expect it. Images of Parisian thugs are pasted up in bourgeois neighborhoods; photos of Israelis and Palestinians are posted together on both sides of the walls that separate them.

JR's most recent project, "Women Are Heroes," depicts women "dealing with the effects of war, poverty, violence, and oppression” from Rio de Janeiro, Phnom Penh, Delhi and several African cities. And his TED Prize wish opens an even wider lens on the world -- asking us all to turn the world inside out. Visit insideoutproject.net ...

Session 7: Radical Collaboration
Wed Mar 2, 2011
5:00 – 6:45
Marcin Jakubowski Marcin Jakubowski
Farmer and technologist
Marcin Jakubowski is open-sourcing a set of blueprints for 50 farming tools that can be built cheaply from scratch. Call it a "civilization starter kit."

Declaring that, "We can lead self-sustaining lives without sacrificing our standard of living," Marcin Jakubowski believes that only by opening the means of production can we achieve abundance for all. Though he has a Ph.D. in fusion physics, he became dissatisfied with its remoteness, and turned back to the earth as a farmer and social innovator.

He is the founder of Open Source Ecology, which is creating the Global Village Construction Set — the blueprints for simple fabrication of everything needed to start a self-sustaining village. At Factor e Farm in rural Missouri, he's been successfully putting those ideas to the test.

TED Fellows Session 1
Mon Feb 28, 2011
9:00 – 10:30
K
Sarah Kay Sarah Kay
Poet
A performing poet since she was 14 years old, Sarah Kay is the founder of Project VOICE, an organization that uses spoken word poetry as a literacy and empowerment tool.

Plenty of 14-year-old girls write poetry. But few hide under the bar of the famous Bowery Poetry Club in Manhattan’s East Village absorbing the talents of New York’s most exciting poets. Not only did Sarah Kay do that -- she also had the guts to take its stage and hold her own against performers at least a decade her senior. Her talent for weaving words into poignant, funny, and powerful performances paid off.

Sarah holds a Masters degree in the art of teaching from Brown University and an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Grinnell College. Her first book, B, was ranked the number one poetry book on Amazon.com. Her second book, No Matter the Wreckage, is available from Write Bloody Publishing.

Sarah also founded Project VOICE, an organization that uses spoken word poetry as a literacy and empowerment tool. Project VOICE runs performances and workshops to encourage people to engage in creative self-expression in schools and communities around the world.

Session 10: Beauty, Imagination, Enchantment
Thurs Mar 3, 2011
5:00 – 6:45
Salman Khan Salman Khan
Educator
In 2004, Salman Khan, a hedge fund analyst, began posting math tutorials on YouTube. Six years later, he has posted more than 2,000 tutorials, which are viewed nearly 100,000 times around the world each day.

Salman Khan is the founder and faculty of the Khan Academy (www.khanacademy.org)-- a not-for-profit organization with the mission of providing a free world-class education to anyone, anywhere.  It now consists of self-paced software and, with over 1 million unique students per month, the most-used educational video repository on the Internet (over 30 million lessons delivered to-date).  All 2000+ video tutorials, covering everything from basic addition to advanced calculus, physics, chemistry and biology, have been made by Salman. 

Prior to the Khan Academy, Salman was a senior analyst at a hedge fund and had also worked in technology and venture capital.  He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, an M.Eng and B.S. in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT, and a B.S. in mathematics from MIT.

Session 6: Knowledge Revolution
Wed Mar 2, 2011
2:15 – 4:00
Wadah Khanfar Wadah Khanfar
Journalist
As the Director General of Al Jazeera from 2003-2011, Wadah Khanfar worked to bring rare liberties like information, transparency and dissenting voices to repressive states and political hot zones.

From war correspondent to Baghdad bureau chief to Director General from 2003 until he stepped down in 2011, Wadah Khanfar worked through the closure and bombing of Al Jazeera's bureaus, the torture and murder of its journalists and state propaganda smears. Al Jazeera's approach to journalism emphasizes "re-thinking authority, giving a voice to the voiceless," Khanfar said in an interview with TIME.

No news network has attracted as much controversy as Al Jazeera. Khanfar, in turn, became the lightning rod for dispute on the organization's place in politics, both in its home region and abroad. (In the West, editorials have accused him of sympathizing with terrorists; in his own region, of fanning instability.) 

Session 1: Monumental
Tues Mar 1, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
Aaron Koblin Aaron Koblin
Data artist
Aaron Koblin is an artist specializing in data and digital technologies. His work takes real world and community-generated data and uses it to reflect on cultural trends and the changing relationship between humans and technology.

Aaron Koblin finds art through the unlikely confluence of massive data sets and personal intimacy. His work ranges from animating the paths of every North American airline flight, to using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk crowdsourcing platform to pay workers to “draw a sheep facing left,” which were then placed in "The Sheep Market."

Koblin was creative director for Johnny Cash's final music video, "Ain't No Grave," and worked on Radiohead’s video “House of Cards,” both of which received a Grammy nomination. He is now the Creative Director of the Data Arts team in Google's Creative Lab. His team collaborated with Arcade Fire to produce an online music video that allows viewers to incorporate images of their home neighborhood into the experience using Google Street View.

Session 3: Mindblowing
Tues Mar 1, 2011
5:00 – 6:45
Elliot Krane Elliot Krane
Pediatric anesthesiologist
At the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford, Elliot Krane works on the problem of treating pain in children.

It's an awful problem to contemplate: How do you help a young child in pain? As director of Pain Management Services at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford, Elliot Krane works on solving this problem, studying and treating kids who are undergoing surgeries, suffering from complications of diabetes -- and kids suffering "neuropathic pain" resulting from injury to the nervous system itself.

TED University Session 2
Tues Mar 1, 2011
8:30 – 10:30
L
Christina Lampe-Onnerud Christina Lampe-Onnerud
Energy expert
Christina Lampe-Onnerud is a pioneer in the use of lithium-ion and other materials to deliver more powerful, longer-lasting, safer batteries for laptops, electric vehicles, utility energy storage and more. Session 9: Threads of Discovery
Thurs Mar 3, 2011
2:15 – 4:00
Ralph Langner Ralph Langner
Security consultant
Ralph Langner is a German control system security consultant. He has received worldwide recognition for his analysis of the Stuxnet malware.

Ralph Langner heads Langner, an independent cyber-security firm that specializes in control systems -- electronic devices that monitor and regulate other devices, such as manufacturing equipment. These devices' deep connection to the infrastructure that runs our cities and countries has made them, increasingly, the targets of an emerging, highly sophisticated type of cyber-warfare. And since 2010, when the Stuxnet computer worm first reared its head, Langner has stood squarely in the middle of the battlefield.

As part of a global effort to decode the mysterious program, Langner and his team analyzed Stuxnet's data structures, and revealed what he believes to be its ultimate intent: the control system software known to run centrifuges in nuclear facilities -- specifically, facilities in Iran. Further analysis by Langner uncovered what seem to be Stuxnet's shocking origins, which he revealed in his TED2011 talk. (PS: He was right.)

Session 8: Invention and Consequence
Thurs Mar 3, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
Suzanne Lee Suzanne Lee
Designer
TED Fellow Suzanne Lee is a fashion designer turned biological conjurer, who gleefully plays with new materials and processes.

Fashion designer Suzanne Lee directs the BioCouture research project, which sprang from an idea in her book Fashioning the Future: Tomorrow’s Wardrobe, a seminal text on fashion and future technologies. Her research harnesses nature to propose a radical future fashion vision: Can we grow a dress from a vat of liquid?

Using bacterial-cellulose, Lee aims to address pressing ecological and sustainability issues around fashion and beyond. A Senior Research Fellow at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, she is working with scientists to investigate whether synthetic biology can engineer optimized organisms for growing future consumer products

TED University Session 1
Mon Feb 28, 2011
4:00 – 5:30
Janna Levin Janna Levin
Physicist
Janna Levin is a professor of physics and astronomy at Barnard, where she studies the early universe, chaos, and black holes. She's the author of “How the Universe Got Its Spots" and the novel “A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines.”

Janna Levin is a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Barnard College of Columbia University. Her scientific research concerns the early universe, chaos and black holes. Her second book – a novel, A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines – won the PEN/Bingham Fellowship for Writers and was a runner-up for the PEN/Hemingway award for "a distinguished book of first fiction." She is the author of the popular science book, How the Universe Got Its Spots: Diary of a Finite Time in a Finite Space.

She holds a BA in Physics and Astronomy from Barnard College with a concentration in Philosophy, and a PhD from MIT in Physics. She has worked at the Center for Particle Astrophysics (CfPA) at the University of California, Berkeley before moving to the UK where she worked at Cambridge University in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP). Just before returning to New York, she was the first scientist-in-residence at the Ruskin School of Fine Art and Drawing at Oxford with an award from the National Endowment for Science, Technology, and Arts (NESTA).

Listen to a Q&A with another TED speaker, Krista Tippett -- where they talk math and faith and truth and more ...

Session 1: Monumental
Tues Mar 1, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
M
Sarah Marquis Sarah Marquis
Explorer
Sarah Marquis rediscovers the link between humans and nature, one step at a time. She's been walking for the past 20 years (or 30,000km). Alone, she has survived in the most deserted places on Earth. Her latest expedition: Siberia to Australia.

Sarah Marquis was born intrepid. At eight, she ran away with her dog to spend the night in a cave. She then traveled across Turkey on horseback at 17 – not knowing how to ride. Over the years, the Swiss explorer’s wanderlust has called her to walk through the world’s wild landscapes, trekking vast distances fully immersed in nature, surviving hostile environments on what the land offers, navigating by sense and instinct, and staying open to every experience.

She walked the Australian outback in survival mode in 2002-2003, living for 17 months by, as she puts it, “the rhythms of nature with only two feet to support her.” She covered 14,000 kilometers, returning accompanied by Joe, a dingo whose life she’d saved. Then followed an 8-month, 7,000 kilometer hike along the Andes in 2006, taking in Chile, Peru and Bolivia. Sarah is now in the midst of a two-year trek covering 20,000 kilometers from Southern Siberia to Australia – her most ambitious journey yet.
Session 1: Monumental
Tues Mar 1, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
Mike Matas Mike Matas
Software engineer
While at Apple, Mike Matas helped write the user interface for the iPhone and iPad. Now with Push Pop Press, he's helping to rewrite the electronic book.

Mike Matas has worked on some of the most intriguing tech projects of the past 10 years. As a (surprisingly) young coder, he co-founded Delicious Monster, makers of the elegant cataloguing tool Delicious Library. In 2005 he went to work for Apple, where he designed user interfaces and artwork for the iPhone, the iPad and Mac OS X.

Now, he's the co-founder of Push Pop Press, a digital publishing company just purchased by Facebook. Push Pop's first title is Al Gore's "Our Choice," playable on iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.

In his free time, he's a photographer >>

Session 3: Mindblowing
Tues Mar 1, 2011
5:00 – 6:45
Stanley McChrystal Stanley McChrystal
Military leader
General Stanley McChrystal is the former commander of U.S. and International forces in Afghanistan. A four-star general, he is credited for creating a revolution in warfare that fuses intelligence and operations.

With a remarkable record of achievement, General Stanley McChrystal has been praised for creating a revolution in warfare that fused intelligence and operations. A four-star general, he is the former commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan and the former leader of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which oversees the military’s most sensitive forces. McChrystal’s leadership of JSOC is credited with the December 2003 capture of Saddam Hussein and the June 2006 location and killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq. McChrystal, a former Green Beret, is known for his candor.

After McChrystal graduated from West Point, he was commissioned as an infantry officer, and spent much of his career commanding special operations and airborne infantry units. During the Persian Gulf War, McChrystal served in a Joint Special Operations Task Force and later commanded the 75th Ranger Regiment. He completed year-long fellowships at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1997 and in 2000 at the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2002, he was appointed chief of staff of military operations in Afghanistan. Two years later, McChrystal was selected to deliver nationally televised Pentagon briefings about military operations in Iraq. From 2003 to 2008, McChrystal commanded JSOC and was responsible for leading the nation’s deployed military counter-terrorism efforts around the globe. He assumed command of all International Forces in Afghanistan in June 2009. President Obama’s order for an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan was based on McChrystal’s assessment of the war there. McChrystal retired from the military in August 2010.

Session 11: The Echo of Time
Fri Mar 4, 2011
8:30 – 10:15
Bobby McFerrin Bobby McFerrin
Musician
Listening to Bobby McFerrin sing may be hazardous to your preconceptions. Side effects may include unparalleled joy, a new perspective on creativity, rejection of the predictable, and a sudden, irreversible urge to lead a more spontaneous existence.

Bobby McFerrin is one of the world's best-known vocal innovators and improvisers, a world-renowned classical conductor and a passionate spokesman for music education. His recordings have sold more than 20 million copies (including the sunny classic, "Don't Worry, Be Happy"), and his collaborations including those with with Yo-Yo Ma, Chick Corea, the Vienna Philharmonic and Herbie Hancock have established him as an ambassador of both the classical and jazz worlds.

McFerrin has worked with such orchestras as the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic.

Session 2: Majestic
Tues Mar 1, 2011
2:15 – 4:00
Jason Mraz Jason Mraz
Musician
Singer/songwriter Jason Mraz wraps moments of self-reflection inside clever lyrics and pop melodies. Session 10: Beauty, Imagination, Enchantment
Thurs Mar 3, 2011
5:00 – 6:45
Nathan Myhrvold Nathan Myhrvold
Polymath
Nathan Myhrvold is a professional jack-of-all-trades. After leaving Microsoft in 1999, he's been a world barbecue champion, a wildlife photographer, a chef, a contributor to SETI, and a volcano explorer.

Since leaving his post as Microsoft's Chief Technology Officer in 1999 (with fortune in tow), Nathan Myhrvold has been a professional exemplar of the spirit of the "Renaissance Man," proudly following his interests wherever they've led. His dispersed passions have triggered an impressive list of accomplishments, including world barbecue championships, major archeological finds (several Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons), prize-winning wildlife photography, building a section of Babbage's Difference Engine #2, s, and a new and consuming interest in the sous-vide cooking technique.

Malcolm Gladwell's 2008 New Yorker profile of him revealed an impish but truly inspired character whose latest company, Intellectual Ventures -- which brainstorms and patents a wide array of inventions --  has been accused in some quarters of acting like a 'patent troll' but is described by Myhrvold as "a disruptive organization providing  an efficient way for patent holders to get paid for the inventions they own, and... for technology companies to gain easy access to the invention rights they need." After funding big-vision projects such as the Allen Telescope Array, exploring active volcanoes and investigating penguin digestion, Myhrvold insists that his hobbies aren't as discursive as they seem. They do have a common denominator, after all: him.

TED University Session 1
Mon Feb 28, 2011
4:00 – 5:30
N
Paul Nicklen Paul Nicklen
Polar photographer
Paul Nicklen photographs the creatures of the Arctic and Antarctic, generating global awareness about wildlife in these isolated and endangered environments.

Paul Nicklen grew up one of only a few non-Inuit in an Inuit settlement on Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada -- a childhood that taught him the patience, stamina and respect for nature required for his beat in the frigid climes of Earth’s polar regions. Best known for his vivid and intimate wildlife photos for National Geographic, Nicklen started out a biologist in the Northwest Territories, gathering data on such species as lynx, grizzlies, and polar bears. Today he bridges the gap between scientific research and the public, showing how fragile and fast-changing habitats are profoundly affecting wildlife.

During the course of his workday Nicklen regularly comes face-to-face with fantastic creatures: narwhals, Arctic foxes, elephant seals, and more. His most amazing experience? An underwater encounter with a leopard seal who for four days tried to feed him penguins through the "mouth" of his lens.

Session 2: Majestic
Tues Mar 1, 2011
2:15 – 4:00
Indra Nooyi Indra Nooyi
Chair+CEO, PepsiCo
Indra Nooyi is the chief architect of PepsiCo's multi-year growth strategy, Performance with Purpose, with the goal of sustainable growth and a healthier future for both people and planet. Session 5: Worlds Imagined
Wed Mar 2, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
O
Aaron O'Connell Aaron O'Connell
Physicist
Aaron O'Connell is the first person to experimentally induce and measure quantum effects in the motion of a humanmade object, bridging the quantum and classical worlds.

Growing up reading philosophy, playing guitar, and generally not thinking about science, Aaron O’Connell never expected to revolutionize the world of physics. But an inspiring stuffed-monkey-shot-from-a-cannon demonstration and a series of positive research experiences as an undergraduate propelled him to graduate school at UCSB.

While there, in an experiment remarkable both for its conceptual simplicity and technical difficulty, O’Connell was the first person to measure quantum effects in an object large enough to see with the naked eye. Named Breakthrough of the year by Science Magazine, the experiment shattered the previous record for the largest quantum object, showing decisively that there is no hard line between the quantum and everyday worlds.

Session 4: Deep Mystery
Wed Mar 2, 2011
8:30 – 10:15
Jamie Oliver Jamie Oliver
Chef, activist
Jamie Oliver is transforming the way we feed ourselves, and our children.

Jamie Oliver has been drawn to the kitchen since he was a child working in his father's pub-restaurant. He showed not only a precocious culinary talent but also a passion for creating (and talking about) fresh, honest, delicious food. In the past decade, the shaggy-haired "Naked Chef" of late-'90s BBC2 has built a worldwide media conglomerate of TV shows, books, cookware and magazines, all based on a formula of simple, unpretentious food that invites everyone to get busy in the kitchen. And as much as his cooking is generous, so is his business model -- his Fifteen Foundation, for instance, trains young chefs from challenged backgrounds to run four of his restaurants.

Now, Oliver is using his fame and charm to bring attention to the changes that Brits and Americans need to make in their lifestyles and diet. Campaigns such as Jamie's School Dinner, Ministry of Food and Food Revolution USA combine Oliver’s culinary tools, cookbooks and television, with serious activism and community organizing -- to create change on both the individual and governmental level.

Join Jamie's Food Revolution: Sign the petition >>

Session 7: Radical Collaboration
Wed Mar 2, 2011
5:00 – 6:45
Fiorenzo Omenetto Fiorenzo Omenetto
Biomedical engineer
Fiorenzo G. Omenetto's research spans nonlinear optics, nanostructured materials (such as photonic crystals and photonic crystal fibers), biomaterials and biopolymer-based photonics. Most recently, he's working on high-tech applications for silk.

Fiorenzo Omenetto is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering and leads the laboratory for Ultrafast Nonlinear Optics and Biophotonics at Tufts University and also holds an appointment in the Department of Physics. Formerly a J. Robert Oppenheimer Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory before joining Tufts, his research is focused on interdisciplinary themes that span nonlinear optics, nanostructured materials (such as photonic crystals and photonic crystal fibers), optofluidics and biopolymer based photonics. He has published over 100 papers and peer-review contributions across these various disciplines.

Since moving to Tufts at the end of 2005, he has proposed and pioneered (with David Kaplan) the use of silk as a material platform for photonics, optoelectronics and high-technology applications. This new research platform has recently been featured in MIT's Technology Review as one of the 2010 "top ten technologies likely to change the world."

Session 9: Threads of Discovery
Thurs Mar 3, 2011
2:15 – 4:00
P
Eli Pariser Eli Pariser
Organizer and author
Pioneering online organizer Eli Pariser is the author of "The Filter Bubble," about how personalized search might be narrowing our worldview.

Shortly after the September 11, 2001, attacks, Eli Pariser created a website calling for a multilateral approach to fighting terrorism. In the following weeks, over half a million people from 192 countries signed on, and Pariser rather unexpectedly became an online organizer. The website merged with MoveOn.org in November 2001, and Pariser -- then 20 years old -- joined the group to direct its foreign policy campaigns. He led what the New York Times Magazine called the "mainstream arm of the peace movement" -- tripling MoveOn's member base and demonstrating how large numbers of small donations could be mobilized through online engagement.

In 2004, Pariser became executive director of MoveOn. Under his leadership, MoveOn.org Political Action has grown to 5 million members and raised over $120 million from millions of small donors to support advocacy campaigns and political candidates. Pariser focused MoveOn on online-to-offline organizing, developing phone-banking tools and precinct programs in 2004 and 2006 that laid the groundwork for Barack Obama's extraordinary web-powered campaign. In 2008, Pariser transitioned the Executive Director role at MoveOn to Justin Ruben and became President of MoveOn’s board; he's now a senior fellow at the Roosevelt Institute.

His book The Filter Bubble is set for release May 12, 2011. In it, he asks how modern search tools -- the filter by which many of see the wider world -- are getting better and better and screening the wider world from us, by returning only the search results it "thinks" we want to see.

Session 8: Invention and Consequence
Thurs Mar 3, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
Handspring Puppet Company Handspring Puppet Company
Puppeteers
Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler, of Handspring Puppet Company, bring the emotional complexity of animals to the stage with their life-size puppets. Their latest triumph: "War Horse."

Handspring Puppet Company was founded in 1981 by four graduates of the Michaelis School of Fine Art in Cape Town, South Africa. Two of the co-founders, Adrian Kohler and Basil Jones, continue to run the company. Originally they created shows for children and thereafter works for adult audiences. Arguably one of the greatest puppetry companies in the world, Handspring has since collaborated with a succession of innovative South Africa directors including Malcolm Purkey, Barney Simon and artist William Kentridge.

Apart from seasons throughout theatres across South Africa, Handspring has been presented at many international festivals including Edinburgh, the Avignon Festival, the Next Wave Festival at BAM in New York, The African Odyssey Festival at the Kennedy Centre in Washington, Theatre d' Automne in Paris, Theatre der Welt in Germany, as well as in Hong Kong, Singapore, Adelaide, Zurich and Bogota.

The company provides an artistic home and professional base for a core group of performers, designers, theatre artists and technicians who collaborate with them on a project basis. Based in South Africa they continue to explore the boundaries of adult puppet theatre within an African context.

"War Horse" is currently playing in London, at the New London Theatre, and opens in New York at Lincoln Center on April 14, 2011.

Session 2: Majestic
Tues Mar 1, 2011
2:15 – 4:00
R
Rajesh Rao Rajesh Rao
Computational neuroscientist
Rajesh Rao seeks to understand the human brain through computational modeling, on two fronts: developing computer models of our minds, and using tech to decipher the 4,000-year-old lost script of the Indus Valley civilization.

Rajesh Rao is looking for the computational principles underlying the brain's remarkable ability to learn, process and store information --  hoping to apply this knowledge to the task of building adaptive robotic systems and artificially intelligent agents.

Some of the questions that motivate his research include: How does the brain learn efficient representations of novel objects and events occurring in the natural environment? What are the algorithms that allow useful sensorimotor routines and behaviors to be learned? What computational mechanisms allow the brain to adapt to changing circumstances and remain fault-tolerant and robust?

By investigating these questions within a computational and probabilistic framework, it is often possible to derive algorithms that not only provide functional interpretations of neurobiological properties but also suggest solutions to difficult problems in computer vision, speech, robotics and artificial intelligence.

Session 11: The Echo of Time
Fri Mar 4, 2011
8:30 – 10:15
Carlo Ratti Carlo Ratti
Architect and engineer
Carlo Ratti directs the MIT SENSEable City Lab, which explores the "real-time city" by studying the way sensors and electronics relate to the built environment. He's opening a research center in Singapore as part of an MIT-led initiative on the Future of Urban Mobility.

Carlo Ratti is a civil engineer and architect who teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he directs the SENSEable City Laboratory. This lab studies the built environment of cities -- from street grids to plumbing and garbage systems -- using new kinds of sensors and hand-held electronics that have transformed the way we can describe and understand cities.

Other projects flip this equation -- using data gathered from sensors to actually create dazzling new environments. The Digital Water Pavilion, for instance, reacts to visitors by parting a stream of water to let them visit. And a new project for the 2012 Olympics in London turns a pavilion building into a cloud of blinking interactive art. 

For more information on the projects in this talk, visit SENSEable @ TED >>

Session 3: Mindblowing
Tues Mar 1, 2011
5:00 – 6:45
Ben Roche Ben Roche
Chef
Ben Roche is the pastry chef at Moto, in Chicago, and was the co-host, with Homaro Cantu, of the TV show "Future Food."

Ben Roche is the pastry chef of Moto restaurant in Chicago and co-host of the series "Future Food" on Discovery’s Planet Green network. Classically trained, he comes up with food concepts and/or dishes that draw inspiration from all over: as he says, "mechanical, artistic, experimental, etc."
Session 3: Mindblowing
Tues Mar 1, 2011
5:00 – 6:45
Joshua Roman Joshua Roman
Cellist
Joshua Roman, a TED Fellow, is an independent-minded cellist.

Dubbed a “Classical Rock Star” by the press, cellist Joshua Roman has earned a national reputation for performing a wide range of repertoire with an absolute commitment to communicating the essence of the music at its most organic level. Before embarking on a solo career, he was for two seasons principal cellist of the Seattle Symphony, a position he won in 2006 at the age of 22. For his ongoing creative initiatives on behalf of classical music, he has been selected as a 2011 TED Fellow, joining a select group of Next Generation innovators who have shown unusual accomplishments and the potential to positively affect the world.

Roman’s 2009–10 season engagements include debuts as concerto soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, as well as the Albany, Arkansas, and Santa Barbara Symphonies, the New Philharmonic Orchestra in Illinois, Oklahoma’s Signature Symphony, and Kentucky’s Lexington Philharmonic. In recent seasons he has performed with the Seattle Symphony, where he gave the world premiere of David Stock’s Cello Concerto, as well as with the Symphonies of Edmonton, Quad City, Spokane, and Stamford, and the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, among others. In 2008, Roman performed Britten’s third Cello Suite during New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival in a pre-concert recital at Avery Fisher Hall. In April 2009, he was the only guest artist invited to play an unaccompanied solo during the YouTube Symphony Orchestra’s debut concert at Carnegie Hall.

In addition to his solo work, Roman is an avid chamber music performer. He has enjoyed collaborations with veterans like Earl Carlyss and Christian Zacharias, as well as the Seattle Chamber Music Society and the International Festival of Chamber Music in Lima, Peru. He often joins forces with other dynamic young soloists and performers from New York’s contemporary music scene, including Alarm Will Sound, So Percussion, and artists from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS Two. In spring 2007, he was named Artistic Director of TownMusic, an experimental chamber music series at Town Hall in Seattle, where he creates programs that feature new works and reflect the eclectic range of his musical influences and inspirations.

Committed to making music accessible to a wider audience, Roman may be found anywhere from a club to a classroom, whether performing jazz, rock, chamber music, or a solo sonata by Bach or Kodály. His versatility as a performer and his ongoing exploration of new concertos, chamber music, and solo cello works have spawned projects with composers such as Aaron Jay Kernis, Mason Bates, and Dan Visconti. One of Roman’s current undertakings is an online video series calledThe Popper Project—wherever the cellist and his laptop find themselves, he performs an étude from David Popper’s “High School of Cello Playing” and uploads it, unedited, to his YouTube channel. Roman’s outreach endeavors have taken him to Uganda with his violin-playing siblings, where they played chamber music in schools, HIV/AIDS centers, and displacement camps, communicating a message of hope through music.

TED University Session 3
Thurs Mar 3, 2011
8:30 – 10:15
Paul Romer Paul Romer
New-growth economist
Paul Romer is developing a radical new model of growth and governance, which calls for the establishment of city-scale special administrative zones.

Stanford economist Paul Romer believes in the power of ideas. He first studied how to speed up the discovery and implementation of new technologies. But to address the big problems we'll face this century -- insecurity, harm to the environment, global poverty --  new technologies will not be enough. We must also speed up the discovery and implementation of new rules, of new ideas about how people interact.

Throughout human history, big improvements in systems of rules took place when new governments entered the scene. In today's world, this process has been largely shut down. To bring it back to life, Romer proposes that we create new cities where people can go to escape from bad rules and opt in to new and better ones. With better rules, people can be safe, self-interest can protect the environment, and investment can bring families all the resources that the modern world has to offer.

TED University Session 1
Mon Feb 28, 2011
4:00 – 5:30
Deb Roy Deb Roy
Cognitive scientist
Deb Roy studies how children learn language, and designs machines that learn to communicate in human-like ways. On sabbatical from MIT Media Lab, he's working with the AI company Bluefin Labs.

Deb Roy directs the Cognitive Machines group at the MIT Media Lab, where he studies how children learn language, and designs machines that learn to communicate in human-like ways. To enable this work, he has pioneered new data-driven methods for analyzing and modeling human linguistic and social behavior. He has authored numerous scientific papers on artificial intelligence, cognitive modeling, human-machine interaction, data mining, and information visualization.

Deb Roy was the co-founder and serves as CEO of Bluefin Labs, a venture-backed technology company. Built upon deep machine learning principles developed in his research over the past 15 years, Bluefin has created a technology platform that analyzes social media commentary to measure real-time audience response to TV ads and shows.

Follow Deb Roy on Twitter>

Roy adds some relevant papers:

Deb Roy. (2009). New Horizons in the Study of Child Language Acquisition. Proceedings of Interspeech 2009. Brighton, England. bit.ly/fSP4Qh

Brandon C. Roy, Michael C. Frank and Deb Roy. (2009). Exploring word learning in a high-density longitudinal corpus. Proceedings of the 31st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society. Amsterdam, Netherlands. bit.ly/e1qxej

Plenty more papers on our research including technology and methodology can be found here, together with other research from my lab at MIT: bit.ly/h3paSQ

The work that I mentioned on relationships between television content and the social graph is being done at Bluefin Labs (www.bluefinlabs.com). Details of this work have not been published. The social structures we are finding (and that I highlighted in my TED talk) are indeed new. The social media communication channels that are leading to their formation did not even exist a few years ago, and Bluefin's technology platform for discovering these kinds of structures is the first of its kind. We'll certainly have more to say about all this as we continue to dig into this fascinating new kind of data, and as new social structures continue to evolve!

Session 4: Deep Mystery
Wed Mar 2, 2011
8:30 – 10:15
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Kathryn Schulz Kathryn Schulz
Wrongologist
Kathryn Schulz is a staff writer for the New Yorker and is the author of "Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error."

Kathryn Schulz is a journalist, author, and public speaker with a credible (if not necessarily enviable) claim to being the world's leading wrongologist.  She was previously the book critic for New York Magazine; her writing has also appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, TIME Magazine, the Boston Globe, the "Freakonomics" blog of The New York Times, The Nation, Foreign Policy, and the New York Times Book Review, among other publications. She is the former editor of the online environmental magazine Grist, and a former reporter and editor for The Santiago Times, of Santiago, Chile, where she covered environmental, labor, and human rights issues. She was a 2004 recipient of the Pew Fellowship in International Journalism (now the International Reporting Project), and has reported from throughout Central and South America, Japan, and, most recently, the Middle East. A graduate of Brown University and a former Ohioan, Oregonian and Brooklynite, she currently lives in New York's Hudson Valley.

Session 12: Only If. If Only.
Fri Mar 4, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
Louie Schwartzberg Louie Schwartzberg
Filmmaker
Louie Schwartzberg is a cinematographer, director and producer who captures breathtaking images that celebrate life -- revealing connections, universal rhythms, patterns and beauty.

Louie Schwartzberg's  career spans feature films, television shows, commercials and documentaries. His film Wings of Life, narrated by Meryl Streep, was released by Disneynature in April 2013, and his most recent film, Mysteries of the Unseen World, is a National Geographic 3D Imax that journeys into invisible worlds that are too slow, too fast, too small and too vast for the human eye to see.

Schwartzberg founded Moving Art to use the power of media to inspire and entertain through television programming, DVD products, and full-length motion picture and Imax films. His art is about breaking barriers, connecting with audiences, and telling stories that celebrate life and reveal the mysteries and wisdom of nature, people and places. Several of his film shorts have gone viral, including “Gratitude” and “Beauty of Pollination” with 36MM+ web views, and spawned related media (books, webinars, and more). Custom Ultra HD Moving Art pieces created by Schwartzberg can also be found in high-end hospitality venues around the world starting in 2014.

For Schwartzberg, the greatest satisfaction is creating works that can have a positive effect on the future of the planet.  “I hope my films inspire and open people’s hearts.  Beauty is nature’s tool for survival – you protect what you love.  If I can move enough people on an emotional level, I hope we can achieve the shift in consciousness we need to sustain and celebrate life.”

TED University Session 1
Mon Feb 28, 2011
4:00 – 5:30
Camille Seaman Camille Seaman
Photographer
TED Senior Fellow Camille Seaman photographs big ice and big clouds.

Camille Seaman takes photographs all over the world using digital and film cameras in multiple formats. Since 2003, her work has concentrated on the fragile environment of the polar regions. Her current project concerns the beauty of natural environments in Siberia. 

Seaman's photographs have been published in Newsweek, Outside, Zeit Wissen, Men's Journal and more, and she has self-published many books on themes like “My China” and “Melting Away: Polar Images” through Fastback Creative Books, a company that she co-founded. In 2008, she was honored with a one-person exhibition, The Last Iceberg, at the National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC.

Read the TED Blog's Q&A with Camille Seaman >>

Browse a gallery of stormcloud photos >>

TED University Session 2
Tues Mar 1, 2011
8:30 – 10:30
Amit Sood Amit Sood
Technologist
Amit Sood is the head of Art Project, Google's effort to bring the world's greatest museums onto the web. Visit it at googleartproject.com

Amit Sood is a Group Marketing Manager for Google; he's worked with the Android team in Mountain View and has led marketing efforts for Google's GEO products. His passion for art led him to initiate a "20 percent time" project to bring museums onto the web -- which turned into the ambitious new Art Project. He writes:

It started when a small group of us who were passionate about art got together to think about how we might use our technology to help museums make their art more accessible -- not just to regular museum-goers or those fortunate to have great galleries on their doorsteps, but to a whole new set of people who might otherwise never get to see the real thing up close.

We're also lucky here to have access to technology like Picasa and App Engine and to have colleagues who love a challenge -- like building brand-new technology to enable Street View to go indoors!

TED University Session 2
Tues Mar 1, 2011
8:30 – 10:30
Morgan Spurlock Morgan Spurlock
Filmmaker
Morgan Spurlock makes documentary film and TV that is personal, political -- and, above all, deeply empathetic.

Though it was as high-concept as any reality-TV show, Morgan Spurlock's 2004 film Super Size Me was something else entirely: a critique of modern fast-feeding, wrapped in the personal story of a charming, curious host. And "host" can be taken literally: eating only McDonald's for 30 days straight, Spurlock went into a shocking physical and emotional decline, showing via his own body the truth about junk food. After this Oscar-nominated doc came Spurlock's three-seasons-long unscripted TV show, 30 Days, based on another lifehack: Send a person to live, for 30 days, inside another worldview. Stories from 30 Days are human, engaging, surprising: An anti-immigrant activist warms to a tight-knit family of border-crossers; an outsourced US engineer meets the Indian engineer who holds his old job; a former pro football player spends 30 days navigating the world in a wheelchair.

In 2008, Spurlock released Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden?, about his months-long trek through Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, Palestine ... following leads and interviewing people along the way. (In an interview, he guessed he got within 50 miles of Osama before winding up the hunt.) He was also part of a group-filmed version of Freakonomics. He wrote a book about his fast-food odyssey, called Don't Eat This Book -- while his wife, vegan chef Alex Jamieson, wrote a bestseller about the eight-week cleansing diet she put Spurlock on after he got supersized.

His latest film, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, dives into the mysterious world of brand sponsorship, a major influence on how pop culture is developed and shared. Almost totally sponsored itself, the film was the first to be sold at Sundance 2011, and, it's said, made a profit before it even opened. The film debuts in US theaters on April 22, 2011.

 

Session 5: Worlds Imagined
Wed Mar 2, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
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Daniel Tammet Daniel Tammet
Linguist, educator
Daniel Tammet is the author of "Born on a Blue Day," about his life with high-functioning autistic savant syndrome. He runs the language-learning site Optimnem, and his new book is "Embracing the Wide Sky: A Tour Across the Horizons of the Mind."

Daniel Tammet is a writer, linguist and educator. He is the creator of Optimnem, a website that has provided language learning instruction to thousands around the globe. His 2006 memoir "Born on a Blue Day" describes his life with high-functioning autistic savant syndrome; his new book, "Embracing the Wide Sky: A Tour Across the Horizons of the Mind," is a personal and scientific exploration of how the brain works and the differences and similarities between savant and non-savant minds.

Tammet set a European record on March 14, 2004, when he recited the mathematical constant pi (3.141...) to 22,514 decimal places from memory in a time of 5 hours, 9 minutes.

Session 9: Threads of Discovery
Thurs Mar 3, 2011
2:15 – 4:00
Nina Tandon Nina Tandon
Tissue engineering researcher
Nina Tandon studies ways to use electrical signals to grow artificial tissues for transplants and other therapies.

Nina Tandon studies electrical signaling in the context of tissue engineering, with the goal of creating “spare parts” for human implantation and/or disease models. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Cooper Union, Nina worked on an electronic nose used to “smell” lung cancer as a Fulbright scholar in Rome. She studied electrical stimulation for cardiac tissue engineering at MIT and Columbia, and now continues her research on electrical stimulation for broader tissue-engineering applications. Tandon was a 2011 TED Fellow and a 2012 Senior Fellow.

TED University Session 3
Thurs Mar 3, 2011
8:30 – 10:15
Julie Taymor Julie Taymor
Director, designer
Julie Taymor is a film, theater and opera director. She is known for lavish movies such as Frida and for her hit Broadway musicals, The Lion King and Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.

Working in musicals, Shakespeare, film and opera, Julie Taymor is a wildly imaginative and provocative director and designer. She is well known for having translated the film The Lion King to Broadway, a still-running show for which she also designed costumes, masks and puppets -- and won two Tony Awards. (She was the first woman to win a Tony for directing a musical.) She has received multiple awards for her work, and given both MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships.

In 2005, she worked on a lavish production of Mozart's opera, The Magic Flute, and in 2006 she co-wrote a version of the story of Beowulf, Grendel. Meanwhile, she has developed a fascinating career in the movies. She directed Across the Universe, a romp through the music of the Beatles, Titus, a 1999 adaptation of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus, and the glorious Frida, the 2002 film about Frida Kahlo for which she received an Oscar nomination. More recently, and most dramatically, Taymor collaborated with musicians from U2 on a Broadway stage version of Marvel Studios' Spider-Man.

Session 5: Worlds Imagined
Wed Mar 2, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
Edward Tenner Edward Tenner
Historian of technology and culture
Edward Tenner is an independent writer, speaker, and editor analyzing the cultural aspects of technological change.

Edward Tenner is an independent writer and speaker on the history of technology and the unintended consequences of innovation. He writes for The Atlantic on history and current events, and was a founding advisor of Smithsonian's Lemelson Center, where he remains a senior research associate. He was executive editor for physical science and history at Princeton University Press, he has been a visiting lecturer at Princeton and has held visiting research positions at the Institute for Advanced Study, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the Princeton Center for Information Technology Policy. He is now a visiting scholar in the Rutgers School of Communication and Information and an affiliate of the Center for Arts and Cultural Policy of Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School.

Session 8: Invention and Consequence
Thurs Mar 3, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
AnnMarie Thomas AnnMarie Thomas
Educator
AnnMarie Thomas works on the playful side of engineering -- using cool tools to teach and help others.

AnnMarie Thomas joined the faculty of the University of St. Thomas in the fall of 2006. Previously, she was a faculty member at Art Center College of Design. She is the director of the UST Design laboratory and leads a team of students looking at both the playful side of engineering (squishy circuits for students, the science of circus, toy design) and ways to use engineering design to help others (projects in technology design for older adults). Thomas, in partnership with collaborator Jan Hansen, is co-director of the University of St. Thomas Center for Pre-Collegiate Engineering Education (CPCEE).

Thomas teaches Engineering Graphics, Machine Design, Dynamics (with Circus Lab), Toy Design, Product Design for an Aging Population, and Brain Machine Interfaces (seminar). She organizes the School of Engineering Design Night (featuring the ENGR320 Machine Design competition), and the Design Discussions seminar series.

Thomas has also worked on underwater robotics (at MIT, Caltech and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute), specializing in biologically inspired propulsion. She has consulted on projects ranging from the design/creation of a "musical earthquake-playing robot" to the initial research for a book on earthquakes in Los Angeles. At Caltech, she founded the Caltech Robotics Outreach Group (CROG) and the Caltech/JPL/LEGO Middle School Robotics Conference.

Get the recipes for the two squishy circuits play doughs here >>

TED University Session 3
Thurs Mar 3, 2011
8:30 – 10:15
Sebastian Thrun Sebastian Thrun
Engineer
Sebastian Thrun is the director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab and is working, through robotics, to change the way we understand the world.

Sebastian Thrun is a professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, where he also serves as the Director of the Stanford AI Lab. His research focuses on robotics and artificial intelligence. He led the development of the robotic vehicle Stanley which won the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge, and which is exhibited in the Smithsonian. 

Read the TED Blog's first-person story of a spin in the Google driverless car >>

Interesting: Will the Google Car make money?

Session 8: Invention and Consequence
Thurs Mar 3, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
Skylar Tibbits Skylar Tibbits
Inventor
Skylar Tibbits, a TED Fellow, is an artist and computational architect working on "smart" components that can assemble themselves.

Can we create objects that assemble themselves -- that zip together like a strand of DNA or that have the ability for transformation embedded into them? These are the questions that Skylar Tibbits investigates in his Self-Assembly Lab at MIT, a cross-disciplinary research space where designers, scientists and engineers come together to find ways for disordered parts to become ordered structures. 

A trained architect, designer and computer scientist, Tibbits teaches design studios at MIT’s Department of Architecture and co-teaches the seminar “How to Make (Almost) Anything” at MIT’s Media Lab. Before that, he worked at a number of design offices including Zaha Hadid Architects, Asymptote Architecture, SKIII Space Variations and Point b Design. His work has been shown at the Guggenheim Museum and the Beijing Biennale. 

Tibbits has collaborated with a number of influential people over the years, including Neil Gershenfeld and The Center for Bits and Atoms, Erik and Marty Demaine at MIT, Adam Bly at SEED Media Group and Marc Fornes of THEVERYMANY. In 2007, he and Marc Fornes co-curated Scriptedbypurpose, the first exhibition focused exclusively on scripted processes within design. Also in 2007, he founded SJET, a multifaceted practice and research platform for experimental computation and design. SJET crosses disciplines from architecture and design, fabrication, computer science and robotics.

 

TED University Session 3
Thurs Mar 3, 2011
8:30 – 10:15
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Eric Whitacre Eric Whitacre
Composer, conductor
After creating and conducting a worldwide virtual choir on YouTube, Eric Whitacre is now touring with an astonishing live choir.

Eric Whitacre began his music career singing in his college choir; by 21, he had written his first concert work, Go, Lovely Rose, and advanced to Juilliard, where he studied under John Corigliano. Today, he has published more than four dozen choral works, conducted in some of the most esteemed halls in the world, and featured on dozens of recordings. His album Cloudburst and Other Choral Works earned him a Grammy nomination in 2007, as did his Decca debut Light & Gold, while his new album, Water Night, debuted at #1 in US iTunes classical charts.

You may know him, too, as the creator and conductor of the virtual choir, a network of YouTube-connected singers whose voices blend together online to become true magic. And he's now touring with the Eric Whitacre Signers, a 28-voice choir (yes, they're all in the same room).

Session 1: Monumental
Tues Mar 1, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
Edith Widder Edith Widder
Marine biologist
Edith Widder combines her expertise in research and technological innovation with a commitment to stopping and reversing the degradation of our marine environment.

A specialist in bioluminescence, Edith Widder helps design and invent new submersible instruments and equipment to study bioluminescence and enable unobtrusive observation of deep-sea environments. Her innovative tools for exploration have produced footage of rare and wonderful bioluminescent displays and never-before-seen denizens of the deep, including, most recently, the first video ever recorded of the giant squid, Architeuthis, in its natural habitat.

In 2005 she founded the Ocean Research & Conservation Association (ORCA), which is dedicated to protecting aquatic ecosystems and the species they sustain through the development of innovative technologies and science-based conservation action.;  In an effort to protect and revitalize the ocean she loves she has been focusing on developing tools for finding and tracking pollution -- a major threat to all of our water ecosystems and ultimately to human health. She was awarded a MacArthur "genius" grant in 2006.

In 2012, Widder was among the team that filmed the giant squid (Architeuthis) for the first time in its home ocean.

Session 7: Radical Collaboration
Wed Mar 2, 2011
5:00 – 6:45
Felisa Wolfe-Simon Felisa Wolfe-Simon
Geobiochemist
With a background in molecular biology, biochemistry and phytoplankton physiology, Felisa Wolfe-Simon seeks to uncover the sequence of events that shaped the evolution of the modern oceans' phytoplankton and life itself. Session 4: Deep Mystery
Wed Mar 2, 2011
8:30 – 10:15
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Philip Zimbardo Philip Zimbardo
Psychologist
Philip Zimbardo was the leader of the notorious 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment -- and an expert witness at Abu Ghraib. His book The Lucifer Effect explores the nature of evil; now, in his new work, he studies the nature of heroism.

Philip Zimbardo knows what evil looks like. After serving as an expert witness during the Abu Ghraib trials, he wrote The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil. From Nazi comic books to the tactics of used-car salesmen, he explores a wealth of sources in trying to explain the psychology of evil.

A past president of the American Psychological Association and a professor emeritus at Stanford, Zimbardo retired in 2008 from lecturing, after 50 years of teaching his legendary introductory course in psychology. In addition to his work on evil and heroism, Zimbardo recently published The Time Paradox, exploring different cultural and personal perspectives on time.

Still well-known for his controversial Stanford Prison Experiment, Zimbardo in his new research looks at the psychology of heroism. He asks, "What pushes some people to become perpetrators of evil, while others act heroically on behalf of those in need?"

Session 8: Invention and Consequence
Thurs Mar 3, 2011
11:00 – 12:45