We think of space as a silent place. But physicist Janna Levin says the universe has a soundtrack -- a sonic composition that records some of the most dramatic events in outer space. (Black holes, for instance, bang on spacetime like a drum.) An accessible and mind-expanding soundwalk through the universe.
Columnist David Brooks unpacks new insights into human nature from the cognitive sciences -- insights with massive implications for economics and politics as well as our own self-knowledge. In a talk full of humor, he shows how you can't hope to understand humans as separate individuals making choices based on their conscious awareness.
With streams and rivers drying up because of over-usage, Rob Harmon talks about a clever market mechanism to bring back the water. Farmers and beer companies find their fates intertwined in the century-old tale of Prickly Pear Creek.
MIT researcher Deb Roy wanted to understand how his infant son learned language -- so he wired up his house with videocameras to catch every moment (with exceptions) of his son's life, then parsed 90,000 hours of home video to watch "gaaaa" slowly turn into "water." Astonishing, data-rich research with deep implications for how we learn.
As web companies strive to tailor their services (including news and search results) to our personal tastes, there's a dangerous unintended consequence: We get trapped in a "filter bubble" and don't get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview. Eli Pariser argues powerfully that this will ultimately prove to be bad for us and bad for democracy.
Salman Khan talks about how and why he created the remarkable Khan Academy, a carefully structured series of educational videos offering complete curricula in math and, now, other subjects. He shows the power of interactive exercises, and calls for teachers to consider flipping the traditional classroom script -- give students video lectures to watch at home, and do "homework" in the classroom with the teacher available to help.
Blogger Courtney E. Martin examines the perennially loaded word "feminism" in this personal and heartfelt talk. She talks through the three essential paradoxes of her generation's quest to define the term for themselves.
Surgeon Anthony Atala demonstrates an early-stage experiment that could someday solve the organ-donor problem: a 3D printer that uses living cells to output a transplantable kidney. Using similar technology, Dr. Atala's young patient Luke Massella received an engineered bladder 10 years ago; we meet him onstage. NOTE: This talk was given in 2011, and this field of science has developed quickly since then. Read "Criticisms & updates" below for more details.
America's school systems are funded by the 50 states. In this fiery talk, Bill Gates says that state budgets are riddled with accounting tricks that disguise the true cost of health care and pensions and weighted with worsening deficits -- with the financing of education at the losing end.
Wael Ghonim is the Google executive who helped jumpstart Egypt's democratic revolution ... with a Facebook page memorializing a victim of the regime's violence. Speaking at TEDxCairo, he tells the inside story of the past two months, when everyday Egyptians showed that "the power of the people is stronger than the people in power."
French street artist JR uses his camera to show the world its true face, by pasting photos of the human face across massive canvases. At TED2011, he makes his audacious TED Prize wish: to use art to turn the world inside out.
As a democratic revolution led by tech-empowered young people sweeps the Arab world, Wadah Khanfar, the head of Al Jazeera, shares a profoundly optimistic view of what's happening in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and beyond -- at this powerful moment when people realized they could step out of their houses and ask for change.
The three Ahn sisters (cellist Maria, pianist Lucia, violinist Angella) breathe new life into the piano trio with their passionate musicmaking. At TEDWomen, they start with the bright and poppy "Skylife," by David Balakrishnan, then play a gorgeous, slinky version of "Oblivion," by Astor Piazzolla.
Danny Hills makes a case for the next frontier of cancer research: proteomics, the study of proteins in the body. As Hillis explains it, genomics shows us a list of the ingredients of the body -- while proteomics shows us what those ingredients produce. Understanding what's going on in your body at the protein level may lead to a new understanding of how cancer happens.
It's been said that when an elder dies, it's as if a library is burned. Anthropologist Elizabeth Lindsey, a National Geographic Fellow, collects the deep cultural knowledge passed down as stories and lore.
Maxillofacial surgeon Iain Hutchison works with people whose faces have been severely disfigured. By pushing to improve surgical techniques, he helps to improve their lives; and by commissioning their portraits, he celebrates their humanity. NOTE: This talk contains images of disfigured and badly injured faces that may be disturbing -- and Hutchison provides thoughtful answers as to why a disfigured face can shock us so deeply. Squeamish? Hide your screen from 12:10 - 13:19, but do keep listening. Portraits shown in this talk come from Mark Gilbert.
We make important decisions every day -- and we often rely on experts to help us decide. But, says economist Noreena Hertz, relying too much on experts can be limiting and even dangerous. She calls for us to start democratizing expertise -- to listen not only to "surgeons and CEOs, but also to shop staff."
Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright talks bluntly about politics and diplomacy, making the case that women's issues deserve a place at the center of foreign policy. Far from being a "soft" issue, she says, women's issues are often the very hardest ones, dealing directly with life and death. A frank and funny Q&A with Pat Mitchell from the Paley Center.
Lisa Gansky, author of "The Mesh," talks about a future of business that's about sharing all kinds of stuff, either via smart and tech-enabled rental or, more boldly, peer-to-peer. Examples across industries -- from music to cars -- show how close we are to this meshy future.
We each want to live a life of purpose, but where to start? In this luminous, wide-ranging talk, Jacqueline Novogratz introduces us to people she's met in her work in "patient capital" -- people who have immersed themselves in a cause, a community, a passion for justice. These human stories carry powerful moments of inspiration.
Patricia Kuhl shares astonishing findings about how babies learn one language over another -- by listening to the humans around them and "taking statistics" on the sounds they need to know. Clever lab experiments (and brain scans) show how 6-month-old babies use sophisticated reasoning to understand their world.
The term "compassion" -- typically reserved for the saintly or the sappy -- has fallen out of touch with reality. At a special TEDPrize@UN, journalist Krista Tippett deconstructs the meaning of compassion through several moving stories, and proposes a new, more attainable definition for the word.
How can architects build a new world of sustainable beauty? By learning from nature. Michael Pawlyn describes three habits of nature that could transform architecture and society: radical resource efficiency, closed loops, and drawing energy from the sun.
They've been called the "saints of Somalia." Doctor Hawa Abdi and her daughter Deqo Mohamed discuss their medical clinic in Somalia, where -- in the face of civil war and open oppression of women -- they've built a hospital, a school and a community of peace.
Cynthia Breazeal wonders: Why can we use robots on Mars, but not in our living rooms? The key, she says, is in training robots to interact with people. Now she dreams up and builds robots that teach, learn -- and play. Watch for amazing demo footage of a new interactive game for kids.
Work-life balance, says Nigel Marsh, is too important to be left in the hands of your employer. Marsh lays out an ideal day balanced between family time, personal time and productivity -- and offers some stirring encouragement to make it happen.
Poet Suheir Hammad performs two spine-tingling spoken-word pieces: "What I Will" and "break (clustered)" -- meditations on war and peace, on women and power. Wait for the astonishing line: "Do not fear what has blown up. If you must, fear the unexploded."
Christopher McDougall explores the mysteries of the human desire to run. How did running help early humans survive -- and what urges from our ancient ancestors spur us on today? McDougall tells the story of the marathoner with a heart of gold, the unlikely ultra-runner, and the hidden tribe in Mexico that runs to live.
Media and advertising companies still use the same old demographics to understand audiences, but they're becoming increasingly harder to track online, says media researcher Johanna Blakley. As social media outgrows traditional media, and women users outnumber men, Blakley explains what changes are in store for the future of media.