Is there more than one universe? In this visually rich, action-packed talk, Brian Greene shows how the unanswered questions of physics (starting with a big one: What caused the Big Bang?) have led to the theory that our own universe is just one of many in the "multiverse."
Imagine what we could learn about diseases by studying the history of human disease, from ancient hominids to the present. But how? TED Fellow Christina Warinner is an achaeological geneticist, and she's found a spectacular new tool -- the microbial DNA in fossilized dental plaque.
In the 20th century we added an unprecedented number of years to our lifespans, but is the quality of life as good? Surprisingly, yes! Psychologist Laura Carstensen shows research that demonstrates that as people get older they become happier, more content, and have a more positive outlook on the world.
Taryn Simon captures the essence of vast, generation-spanning stories by photographing the descendants of people at the center of the narrative. In this riveting talk she shows a stream of these stories from all over the world, investigating the nature of genealogy and the way our lives are shaped by the interplay of many different forces.
Drew Curtis, the founder of fark.com, tells the story of how he fought a lawsuit from a company that had a patent, "...for the creation and distribution of news releases via email." Along the way he shares some nutty statistics about the growing legal problem of frivolous patents.
Our medical systems are broken. Doctors are capable of extraordinary (and expensive) treatments, but they are losing their core focus: actually treating people. Doctor and writer Atul Gawande suggests we take a step back and look at new ways to do medicine -- with fewer cowboys and more pit crews.
Abigail Washburn wanted to be a lawyer improving US-China relations -- until she picked up a banjo. The TED Fellow tells a moving story of the connections she's formed touring across the US and China while playing that banjo and singing in Chinese.
Tal Golesworthy is a boiler engineer -- he knows piping and plumbing. When he needed surgery to repair a life-threatening problem with his aorta, he mixed his engineering skills with his doctors' medical knowledge to design a better repair job.
Contraception. The topic has become controversial in recent years. But should it be? Melinda Gates believes that many of the world's social change issues depend on ensuring that women are able to control their rate of having kids. In this significant talk at TEDxChange, she makes the case for the world to re-examine an issue she intends to lend her voice to for the next decade.
What happens when two monkeys are paid unequally? Fairness, reciprocity, empathy, cooperation -- caring about the well-being of others seems like a very human trait. But Frans de Waal shares some surprising videos of behavioral tests, on primates and other mammals, that show how many of these moral traits all of us share.
"Secrets can take many forms -- they can be shocking, or silly, or soulful." Frank Warren, the founder of PostSecret.com, shares some of the half-million secrets that strangers have mailed him on postcards.
At TEDYouth 2011, performance artist Carvens Lissaint shows how to use language, metaphor and imagery to express a powerful idea -- as in this spoken-word performance, a stirring plea to make college education more accessible.
TED Fellow Lucy McRae is a body architect -- she imagines ways to merge biology and technology in our own bodies. In this visually stunning talk, she shows her work, from clothes that recreate the body's insides for a music video with pop-star Robyn, to a pill that, when swallowed, lets you sweat perfume.
A skyrocketing demand for food means that agriculture has become the largest driver of climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental destruction. Jonathan Foley shows why we desperately need to begin "terraculture" -- farming for the whole planet.
Onstage at TED2012, Jack Choi demonstrates a powerful tool for training medical students: a stretcher-sized multi-touch screen of the human body that lets you explore, dissect and understand the body's parts and systems.
Chip Kidd doesn't judge books by their cover, he creates covers that embody the book -- and he does it with a wicked sense of humor. In this deeply felt (and deeply hilarious) talk, he shares the art and the philosophy behind his cover designs. (This talk is from The Design Studio session at TED2012, guest-curated by Chee Pearlman and David Rockwell.)
As we expect more from technology, do we expect less from each other? Sherry Turkle studies how our devices and online personas are redefining human connection and communication -- and asks us to think deeply about the new kinds of connection we want to have.
New videography techniques have opened up the oceans' microscopic ecosystem, revealing it to be both mesmerizingly beautiful and astoundingly complex. Explore this hidden world that underpins our own food chain -- in the first-ever TEDTalk given by a fish ...
The Pirate Party fights for transparency, anonymity and sensible copyright laws. At TEDxObserver, Rick Falkvinge explains how he became the leader of Europe's tech-driven political party, which so far has won 17 seats across national parliaments in Europe.
Solar-powered LED lightbulbs could transform the lives of rural Haitians, but as Daniel Schnitzer found, they don't simply sell themselves. At TEDxPittsburgh, he shows how smart health and energy products for the developing world are useless unless the market works too.
Marco Tempest spins a beautiful story of what magic is, how it entertains us and how it highlights our humanity -- all while working extraordinary illusions with his hands and an augmented reality machine.
Imagine a set of electronics as easy to play with as Legos. TED Fellow Ayah Bdeir introduces littleBits, a set of simple, interchangeable blocks that make programming as simple and important a part of creativity as snapping blocks together.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee has two powerful stories to tell -- of her own life's transformation, and of the untapped potential of girls around the world. Can we transform the world by unlocking the greatness of girls?
"What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?" asks Regina Dugan, then director of DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. In this breathtaking talk she describes some of the extraordinary projects -- a robotic hummingbird, a prosthetic arm controlled by thought, and, well, the internet -- that her agency has created by not worrying that they might fail. (Followed by a Q&A with TED's Chris Anderson)
What's the key to using alternative energy, like solar and wind? Storage -- so we can have power on tap even when the sun's not out and the wind's not blowing. In this accessible, inspiring talk, Donald Sadoway takes to the blackboard to show us the future of large-scale batteries that store renewable energy. As he says: "We need to think about the problem differently. We need to think big. We need to think cheap."
Jer Thorp creates beautiful data visualizations to put abstract data into a human context. At TEDxVancouver, he shares his moving projects, from graphing an entire year's news cycle, to mapping the way people share articles across the internet.
We can't control if we'll die, but we can "occupy death," in the words of Peter Saul, an emergency doctor. He asks us to think about the end of our lives -- and to question the modern model of slow, intubated death in hospital. Two big questions can help you start this tough conversation.
Combining dry wit with artistic depth, Billy Collins shares a project in which several of his poems were turned into delightful animated films in a collaboration with Sundance Channel. Five of them are included in this wonderfully entertaining and moving talk -- and don't miss the hilarious final poem!
Taylor Wilson believes nuclear fusion is a solution to our future energy needs, and that kids can change the world. And he knows something about both of those: When he was 14, he built a working fusion reactor in his parents' garage. Now 17, he takes the TED stage at short notice to tell (the short version of) his story.
Surprising, but true: More women now die of heart disease than men, yet cardiovascular research has long focused on men. Pioneering doctor C. Noel Bairey Merz shares what we know and don't know about women's heart health -- including the remarkably different symptoms women present during a heart attack (and why they're often missed).