TED Conversations

University of Texas Freshman Research Initiative

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A social network to link students or curious individuals with experienced scientists

I recently watched a talk by Brian Cox in which he repeatedly made claims that innovation and curiosity - led science have resulted in amazing strides for humanity. Although the point of the talk was meant to influence policy makers by expanding the global budget for research, I was more struck by the simple poetry of human innovation that his talk highlighted.

Near the end of his talk, he read a quote about this tiny blue spec that was planet Earth. He was so blown away by this one idea that such a tiny blue spec suspended in what appeared to be a ray of light could be our home, the base of everything we will ever know. And, the entire time he was talking about this tiny spec -so small you have to know it is there to see it- that held incredible life and importance, I could not help but think of him as the big hearted elephant, Horton, from the beloved children's book that teaches us the value of curiosity and the bravery found in preserving it, no matter how lunatic a conquest. It is rough, and it has probably been tried, but what if there was a system. A system through which every time a curious little elephant hears a "who" (an idea that they are not capable of proving or exploring) could simply use as an outlet for their curiosity. And please, don't point me to yahoo answers.

I am talking about a social network that would specifically link curious students or underfunded organizations to accredited, active scientists in order to bridge the unnecessary gap that exists between science and society. I am talking about something more than a space for comments on youtube.

There are way too many avenues and ideas out there for the science community alone to keep track of, and I would hate to see that beautiful poetry of human innovation be lost in the white noise between scientists and the rest of the world.

In short, I believe that there is value and potential in those tiny crazy ideas that pop into peoples heads before they have the ability to explore them.

Topics: education science

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    Nov 9 2012: I had this same idea. TED already has a large community built up, it would be nice to see some of the more prominent speakers engaging with us. Big Think is another one, they should have a forum where we can discuss ideas with the hundreds of experts that are already interacting with the site everyday. If either of these were to happen then interest in the site would explode.

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