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Playlist: TED under 20

13 talks · 2h 26m · Curated by TED

TED under 20 (13 talks)

Talks from scientists, musicians, innovators — all in their teens. Watch these amazing wunderkinds.

  • 1.
    3:32
    Now playing
    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.
  • 2.
    24:41
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    Violinist Sirena Huang gives a technically brilliant and emotionally nuanced performance. In a charming interlude, the 11-year-old praises the timeless design of her instrument.
  • 3.
    10:49
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    Over 85 percent of all pancreatic cancers are diagnosed late, when someone has less than two percent chance of survival. How could this be? Jack Andraka talks about how he developed a promising early detection test for pancreatic cancer that’s super cheap, effective and non-invasive — all before his 16th birthday.
  • 4.
    8:47
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    All under the age of 16, brothers Jonny, Robbie and Tommy Mizzone are from New Jersey, a US state that's better known for the rock of Bruce Springsteen than the bluegrass of Earl Scruggs. Nonetheless, the siblings began performing bluegrass covers, as well as their own compositions, at a young age. Here, they play three dazzling songs in three different keys, passing the lead back and forth from fiddle to banjo to guitar.
  • 5.
    7:20
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    In the Masai community where 13-year-old Richard Turere lives, cattle are all-important. But lion attacks were growing more frequent. In this short, inspiring talk, the young inventor shares the solar-powered solution he designed to safely scare the lions away.
  • 6.
    4:40
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    Most 12-year-olds love playing videogames — Thomas Suarez taught himself how to create them. After developing iPhone apps like "Bustin Jeiber," a whack-a-mole game, he is now using his skills to help other kids become developers. (Filmed at TEDxManhattanBeach.)
  • 7.
    15:25
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    What do science and play have in common? Neuroscientist Beau Lotto thinks all people (kids included) should participate in science and, through the process of discovery, change perceptions. He's seconded by 12-year-old Amy O'Toole, who, along with 25 of her classmates, published the first peer-reviewed article by schoolchildren, about the Blackawton bees project. It starts: "Once upon a time ... "
  • 8.
    5:59
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    At age 14, in poverty and famine, a Malawian boy built a windmill to power his family's home. Now at 22, William Kamkwamba, who speaks at TED, here, for the second time, shares in his own words the moving tale of invention that changed his life.
  • 9.
    7:30
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    Fifteen-year-old Tavi Gevinson had a hard time finding strong female, teenage role models — so she built a space where they could find each other. At TEDxTeen, she illustrates how the conversations on sites like Rookie, her wildly popular web magazine for and by teen girls, are putting a new, unapologetically uncertain and richly complex face on modern feminism. (Filmed at TEDxTeen.)
  • 10.
    16:16
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    In 2011 three young women swept the top prizes of the first Google Science Fair. Lauren Hodge, Shree Bose and Naomi Shah describe their extraordinary projects — and their route to a passion for science. (Filmed at TEDxWomen.)
  • 11.
    24:05
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    Pianist and composer Jennifer Lin gives a magical performance, talks about the process of creativity and improvises a moving solo piece based on a random sequence of notes.
  • 12.
    9:20
    Now playing
    Once it's created, plastic (almost) never dies. While in 12th grade Miranda Wang and Jeanny Yao went in search of a new bacteria to biodegrade plastic — specifically by breaking down phthalates, a harmful plasticizer. They found an answer surprisingly close to home.
  • 13.
    8:12
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    Child prodigy Adora Svitak says the world needs "childish" thinking: bold ideas, wild creativity and especially optimism. Kids' big dreams deserve high expectations, she says, starting with grownups' willingness to learn from children as much as to teach.