Author George Dyson spins the story of Project Orion, a massive, nuclear-powered spacecraft that could have taken us to Saturn in five years. His insider’s perspective and a secret cache of documents bring an Atomic Age dream to life.
Virtuoso Pamelia Kurstin performs and discusses her theremin, the not-just-for-sci-fi electronic instrument that is played without being touched. Songs include "Autumn Leaves," "Lush Life" and David Mash’s "Listen, Words Are Gone."
What if human consciousness isn't the end-all and be-all of Darwinism? What if we are all just pawns in corn's clever strategy game to rule the Earth? Author Michael Pollan asks us to see the world from a plant's-eye view.
Robin Chase founded Zipcar, the world’s biggest car-sharing business. That was one of her smaller ideas. Here she travels much farther, contemplating road-pricing schemes that will shake up our driving habits and a mesh network vast as the Interstate.
Chris Anderson gave this talk in 2002, prior to taking over leadership of TED. Co-founder Richard Saul Wurman was leaving, and TED's future was in the balance. He seeks to persuade TEDsters that what was then a for-profit conference had a secure future as an idea-based nonprofit endeavor.
By making photographs that seem to show our favorite celebs (Diana, Elton John) doing what we really, secretly, want to see them doing, Alison Jackson explores our desire to get personal with celebs. Contains graphic images.
David Gallo shows jaw-dropping footage of amazing sea creatures, including a color-shifting cuttlefish, a perfectly camouflaged octopus, and a Times Square's worth of neon light displays from fish who live in the blackest depths of the ocean. This short talk celebrates the pioneering work of ocean explorers like Edith Widder and Roger Hanlon.
In a lively show, mathemagician Arthur Benjamin races a team of calculators to figure out 3-digit squares, solves another massive mental equation and guesses a few birthdays. How does he do it? He’ll tell you.
'I am a mathematician, and I would like to stand on your roof.' That is how Ron Eglash greeted many African families he met while researching the fractal patterns he'd noticed in villages across the continent.
Designer Philippe Starck -- with no pretty slides to show -- spends 18 minutes reaching for the very roots of the question "Why design?" Listen carefully for one perfect mantra for all of us, genius or not.
Biologist Robert Full shares slo-mo video of some captivating critters. Take a closer look at the spiny legs that allow cockroaches to scuttle across mesh and the nanobristle-packed feet that let geckos to run straight up walls.
Armed with a sense of humor and laypeople's terms, Nobel winner Murray Gell-Mann drops some knowledge on TEDsters about particle physics, asking questions like, Are elegant equations more likely to be right than inelegant ones?
Juan Enriquez challenges our definition of bioenergy. Oil, coal, gas and other hydrocarbons are not chemical but biological products, based on plant matter -- and thus, growable. Our whole approach to fuel, he argues, needs to change.