How do you read a two-thousand-year-old manuscript that has been erased, cut up, written on and painted over? With a powerful particle accelerator, of course! Ancient books curator William Noel tells the fascinating story behind the Archimedes palimpsest, a Byzantine prayer book containing previously-unknown original writings from ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes and others.
How much land mass would renewables need to power a nation like the UK? An entire country's worth. In this pragmatic talk, David MacKay tours the basic mathematics that show worrying limitations on our sustainable energy options ... and explains why we should pursue them anyway.
The more that robots ingrain themselves into our everyday lives, the more we're forced to examine ourselves as people. At TEDxBerkeley, Ken Goldberg shares four very human lessons that he's learned from working with robots.
There is an epidemic of HIV, and with it an epidemic of bad laws -- laws that effectively criminalize being HIV positive. At the TEDxSummit in Doha, TED Fellow Shereen El-Feki gives a forceful argument that these laws, based in stigma, are actually helping the disease spread.
Hans Rosling had a question: Do some religions have a higher birth rate than others -- and how does this affect global population growth? Speaking at the TEDxSummit in Doha, Qatar, he graphs data over time and across religions. With his trademark humor and sharp insight, Hans reaches a surprising conclusion on world fertility rates.
We've been to the moon, we've mapped the continents, we've even been to the deepest point in the ocean -- twice. What's left for the next generation to explore? Biologist and explorer Nathan Wolfe suggests this answer: Almost everything. And we can start, he says, with the world of the unseeably small.
An average teaspoon of ocean water contains five million bacteria and fifty million viruses -- and yet we are just starting to discover how these "invisible engineers" control our ocean's chemistry. At TEDxMonterey, Melissa Garren sheds light on marine microbes that provide half the oxygen we breathe, maintain underwater ecosystems, and demonstrate surprising hunting skills. (Apologies for the small audio glitches in this video.)
Michael McDaniel designed housing for disaster relief zones -- inexpensive, easy to transport, even beautiful – but found that no one was willing to build it. Persistent and obsessed, he decided to go it alone. At TEDxAustin, McDaniel show us his Exo Reaction Housing Solution, and asks us to prepare for the next natural disaster.
Street artist JR made a wish in 2011: Join me in a worldwide photo project to show the world its true face. One year after making his TED Prize wish, he shows how giant posters of human faces, pasted in public, are connecting communities, making change, and turning the world inside out.
There have been remarkable advances in understanding the brain, but how do you actually study the neurons inside it? Using gorgeous imagery, neuroscientist and TED Fellow Carl Schoonover shows the tools that let us see inside our brains.
Is your school or workplace divided between the "creatives" versus the practical people? Yet surely, David Kelley suggests, creativity is not the domain of only a chosen few. Telling stories from his legendary design career and his own life, he offers ways to build the confidence to create. (From The Design Studio session at TED2012, guest-curated by Chee Pearlman and David Rockwell.)
What can mathematics say about history? According to TED Fellow Jean-Baptiste Michel, quite a lot. From changes to language to the deadliness of wars, he shows how digitized history is just starting to reveal deep underlying patterns.
The revolution that made music more marketable, more personal and easier to pirate began ... at the dawn of the 19th century. José Bowen outlines how new printing technology and an improved piano gave rise to the first music industry.
We can use a mosquito's own instincts against her. In a rather unforgettable presentation, Bart Knols demos the imaginative solutions his team is developing to fight malaria -- including Limburger cheese and a deadly pill.
Oops! Nobody wants to see the 404: Page Not Found. But as Renny Gleeson shows us, while he runs through a slideshow of creative and funny 404 pages, every error is really a chance to build a better relationship.
There are people who can quickly memorize lists of thousands of numbers, the order of all the cards in a deck (or ten!), and much more. Science writer Joshua Foer describes the technique -- called the memory palace -- and shows off its most remarkable feature: anyone can learn how to use it, including him.
At TED2012, filmmaker Karen Bass shares some of the astonishing nature footage she's shot for the BBC and National Geographic -- including brand-new, previously unseen footage of the tube-lipped nectar bat, who feeds in a rather unusual way ...
Rick Guidotti is a fashion photographer with a passion project: finding and sharing the beauty of kids with albinism and other conditions that affect their physical appearance -- and the way society treats them. At TEDxPhoenix, he shares some of their stories and the empowering effects of a little glamour as he redefines their beauty in a flash.
Fifteen-year-old Tavi Gevinson had a hard time finding strong female, teenage role models -- so she built a space where they could find each other. At TEDxTeen, she illustrates how the conversations on sites like Rookie, her wildly popular web magazine for and by teen girls, are putting a new, unapologetically uncertain and richly complex face on modern feminism.
As you surf the Web, information is being collected about you. Web tracking is not 100% evil -- personal data can make your browsing more efficient; cookies can help your favorite websites stay in business. But, says Gary Kovacs, it's your right to know what data is being collected about you. He unveils a Firefox add-on, Collusion, to do just that. (Update: Collusion is now called Lightbeam.)
Reuben Margolin is a kinetic sculptor, crafting beautiful pieces that move in the pattern of raindrops falling and waves combining. Take nine minutes and be mesmerized by his meditative art -- inspired in equal parts by math and nature.
In this intimate talk filmed at TED's offices, energy innovator Amory Lovins shows how to get the US off oil and coal by 2050, $5 trillion cheaper, with no Act of Congress, led by business for profit. The key is integrating all four energy-using sectors—and four kinds of innovation.