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Playlist: The world of tiny things

9 talks · 2h 10m · Curated by TED

The world of tiny things (9 talks)

Zoom in — way, way in — to look at the world from speck's-eye view. Learn about very tiny insects, the world at the nanoscale, and sculptures so small it's best to hold your breath while viewing.

  • 1.
    22:35
    Now playing
    As E.O. Wilson accepts his 2007 TED Prize, he makes a plea on behalf of all creatures that we learn more about our biosphere — and build a networked encyclopedia of all the world's knowledge about life.
  • 2.
    5:31
    Now playing
    Mark Shaw demos Ultra-Ever Dry, a liquid-repellent coating that acts as an astonishingly powerful shield against water and water-based materials. At the nano level, the spray covers a surface with an umbrella of air so that water bounces right off. Watch for an exciting two-minute kicker.
  • 3.
    12:06
    Now playing
    When photographed under a 3D microscope, grains of sand appear like colorful pieces of candy and the stamens in a flower become like fantastical spires at an amusement park. Gary Greenberg reveals the thrilling details of the micro world. (Filmed at TEDxMaui.)
  • 4.
    19:06
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    Physicist Brian Greene explains superstring theory, the idea that minscule strands of energy vibrating in 11 dimensions create every particle and force in the universe.
  • 5.
    9:08
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    We have no ways to directly observe molecules and what they do — Drew Berry wants to change that. In this talk, he shows his scientifically accurate (and entertaining!) animations that help researchers see unseeable processes within our own cells. (Filmed at TEDxSydney.)
  • 6.
    19:43
    Now playing
    Willard Wigan tells the story of how a difficult and lonely childhood drove him to discover his unique ability — to create art so tiny that it can't be seen with the naked eye. His slideshow of figures, as seen through a microscope, can only be described as mind-boggling.
  • 7.
    9:45
    Now playing
    Medical animator David Bolinsky presents 3 minutes of stunning animation that show the bustling life inside a cell.
  • 8.
    16:24
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    In 2007, Paul Rothemund gave TED a short summary of his specialty, DNA folding. Now he lays out in clear, abundant detail the immense promise of this field — to create tiny machines that assemble themselves.
  • 9.
    15:55
    Now playing
    An insect's ability to fly is perhaps one of the greatest feats of evolution. Michael Dickinson looks at how a fruit fly takes flight with such delicate wings, thanks to a clever flapping motion and flight muscles that are both powerful and nimble. But the secret ingredient: the incredible fly brain. (Filmed at TEDxCaltech.)