Thad Starner is the founder & director of the Contextual Computing Group at Georgia Tech and the Technical Lead/Manager on Google’s Project Glass. He is considered as one of the original pioneers of wearable computing as well as human-computer interaction, augmented environments, and pattern recognition. He is a strong advocate of continuous-access, everyday-use systems, and has worn his own customized wearable computer continuously since 1993.
Thad received a PhD from the MIT Media Laboratory, where he founded the MIT Wearable Computing Project. Starner was perhaps the first to integrate a wearable computer into his everyday life as a personal assistant, and he coined the term “augmented reality” in 1990 to describe the types of interfaces he envisioned at the time. His groups’ prototypes on mobile context-based search, gesture-based interfaces, mobile MP3 players, and mobile instant messaging foreshadowed now commonplace devices and services. Thad is a founder of the annual ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Wearable Computers, and his work has been discussed in many forums including CNN, NPR, the BBC, CBS’s 60 Minutes, ABC’s 48 Hours, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal
Astrophysicist, cosmologist and Nobel Prize winner George Smoot studies the cosmic microwave background radiation — the afterglow of the Big Bang. His pioneering research into deep space and time is uncovering the structure of the universe itself and he is considered as one of the most brilliant living physicists today. He made a cameo appearance as himself in an episode of the ‘Big Bang Theory.’
George Smoot looks into the farthest reaches of space to the oldest objects in the known universe: fluctuations in the remnants of creation. Using data collected from satellites such as COBE and WMAP, scanning the cosmic microwave background radiation (a relic of the heat unleashed after the Big Bang), he probes the shape of the universe. In 1992 he and his Berkeley team discovered that the universe, once thought to be smooth and uniform at the largest scale, is actually anisotropic — or varied and lumpy. Smoot continues to investigate of the structure of the universe at the University of California at Berkeley, mapping billions of galaxies and filaments of dark matter in hope of uncovering the secrets of the universe’s origins.
Keeping true to the TEDxSalford tradition, we are pleased to confirm our mystery speaker’s appearance for this year’s conference. Our previous mystery speakers have included NASA Astronaut Ron Garan (who had just returned from the International Space Station before his TEDx talk) at TEDxSalford 1.0 and British Olympic Champion at London 2012 Etienne Stott at TEDxSalford 2.0.
We are pleased to announce that the mystery speaker for TEDxSalford 2013 shall be once again a NASA Astronaut. Selected as a Mission Specialist by NASA, our guest has a truly extraordinary and inspirational story about his/her journey into NASA’s Astronaut Program and has also spent several months in space aboard the International Space Station logging over 20 hours of spacewalk (extra-vehicular activity) during this mission. He/she has been awarded several awards and special honours for his/her services to NASA and the space programme. Our mystery guest will be joining us at TEDxSalford 2013 all the way from Houston for an exclusive talk at the event.
Tariq Ramadan is the Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at the Oxford University and President of the European Muslim Network. Through his writings and lectures he has contributed substantially to the debate on the issues of Muslims in the West and Islamic revival in the Muslim world. He is active both at the academic and grassroots levels, lecturing extensively throughout the world on theology, ethics, social justice, ecology and interfaith as well as intercultural dialogue.
TIME Magazine has twice recognized Ramadan: first in 2000, naming him one of the world’s top 100 innovators of the 21st Century (one of the world’s top 7th religious leaders), and again, in 2004, as one of the world’s top 100 most influential intellectuals. Ramadan was named by Foreign Policy magazine on its list of 100 top global thinkers in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012 and was voted the 8th top most intellectual person in the world on the list of Top 100 Public Intellectuals by Prospect Magazine (UK).
Lucy Siegle is one of the UK’s most recognisable opinion-forming journalists on environmental issues. She has been an Observer columnist since 2004 and also contributes features and comment pieces. Her mission is to re-brand ecology and wider environmental issues as relevant and accessible and she launched the Observer Ethical Awards in 2005.
Her work is underpinned by rigorous research and scientific debate (she does not believe in the healing power of crystals). After guest slots on BBC Breakfast, Newsnight and Live Earth, her playful authority was spotted by the makers of The One Show, BBC1 in June 2007 and she was commissioned to present five films on recycling. She quickly established herself as a regular reporter, and has now made countless topical, current affairs and eco related films for the show and appears regularly in studio. She is also a regular expert host for television including: The Money Programme for BBC News 24, UKTV Food, Sky News Sunrise, GMTV and Tonight with Trevor McDonald.
A true maverick, Aubrey de Grey challenges the most basic assumption underlying the human condition — that aging is inevitable. He argues instead that aging is a disease — one that can be cured if it’s approached as “an engineering problem.” His plan calls for identifying all the components that cause human tissue to age, and designing remedies for each of them — forestalling disease and eventually pushing back death.
He has developed a possibly comprehensive plan for such repair, termed Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS), which breaks the aging problem down into seven major classes of damage and identifies detailed approaches to addressing each one. A key aspect of SENS is that it can potentially extend healthy lifespan without limit, even though these repair only needs to approach perfection rapidly enough to keep the overall level of damage below pathogenic levels. With his astonishingly long beard, wiry frame and penchant for bold and cutting proclamations, de Grey is a magnet for controversy. A computer scientist, self-taught biogerontologist and researcher, he has co-authored journal articles with some of the most respected scientists in the field.
The Scary Guy FRSA is quite possibly ‘The Most Powerful Agent For Change’ on the planet today! His sole mission is ‘The Total Elimination of Hate, Violence and Prejudice Worldwide’. These were the first words that Scary spoke when he began his mission in 1998. Since that day, Scary has worked with over 10 million people around the world promoting peace through the teaching of his core theories on ‘Awareness, Understanding, Acceptance and Love,’ of all people.
With his face fully tattooed, and often describing himself as the worlds’ only living social experiment, Scary’s research is based in having to learn how to redefine his own life in order to stop living as a victim of other peoples’ words and actions – whilst maintaining his integrity and learning how to love and understand all people. Scary’s work identifies an enormous cultural and educational void in our educational systems. For years, nations have experienced the relentless growth of what Scary describes as the world’s number one social disease; hate, violence and prejudice, which Scary sees as polarising our youth and societies and precluding us from achieving the true potential of our common humanity.
Eleanor Longden overcame her misdiagnosis of schizophrenia to earn a master’s in psychology and demonstrate that the voices in her head were “a sane reaction to insane circumstances.” Despite what traditional medicine may opine, Eleanor Longden isn’t crazy — and neither are many other people who hear voices in their heads. In fact, the psychic phenomenon is a “creative and ingenious survival strategy” that should be seen “not as an abstract symptom of illness to be endured, but as complex, significant, and meaningful experience to be explored,” the British psychology researcher says.
Longden spent many years in the psychiatric system before earning a BSc and an MSc in psychology, the highest classifications ever granted by the University of Leeds. Today she is studying for her PhD, and lectures and writes about recovery-oriented approaches to psychosis, dissociation and complex trauma.
Graham Hughes is an adventurer, filmmaker, television presenter and Guinness World Record holder from Liverpool, England. Between 2009 and 2012, he became the first (and only!) person to successfully visit every sovereign state in the world without flying – alone and on a shoestring budget. Along the way he was imprisoned in Africa (twice), got drunk with the Prime Minister of Tuvalu and was miraculously saved from Islamic fundamentalists by a ladyboy called Jenn.
He wanted to show that the world is ‘not some big, scary place, but in fact full of people who wanted to help you.’ He used buses, taxis, trains and his own two feet to travel 160,000 miles, 201 countries in exactly 1,426 days – all on a shoestring of just $100 a week. Along the way Graham shot an 8-part TV show for Lonely Planet and wrote about his adventures on his award-winning blog, theodysseyexpedition.com.
David Erasmus is a serial entrepreneur who has turned his sights to the third sector and is a leading advocator of marrying innovation, technology and social responsibility. He is a special advisor to Lord Wei of Shoreditch advising him on solving social problems through technology.
Dave Erasmus is currently the founder and CEO of social giving platform, Givey. Dave is passionate about the area of philanthropy and giving, serving as a founding member of the Ambassadors for Philanthropy and is part of The Big Society’s Nexters scheme. Having travelled the world following the sale of Broadplace, an online SEO firm, Dave set out to ask business leaders what could be done to help improve the world. Dave worked with local entrepreneurs in South Africa to help them form their own company before moving back to the UK and starting to work on mobile projects. All of this led Dave to create Givey as a simple way to donate over social platforms such as SMS or Twitter.
Joanne Harris is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Blackberry Wine and Chocolat which won the Creative Freedom Award and was nominated for the Whitbread Award, one of Britain’s most prestigious literary prizes. Chocolat was adapted into a box-office hit motion picture, starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp, which was nominated for several Academy Awards including Best Picture.
In 2012, she became one of only four female members of the “Millionaires’ Club,” the elite group of authors who have achieved a million sales of one book in the UK since records began. Since then, all Harris’ books have been UK bestsellers. Her wide-ranging choice of subject matter means that her work often defies categorization, and she has a predilection for difficult or challenging issues. Her books are published in over 40 countries and have won a number of British and international awards. In 2004, Joanne was one of the judges of the prestigious Whitbread Prize and in 2005 she was a judge of the Orange Prize. She was recently awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honour List for her services to literature.
One of the most distinctive, versatile and important musical and cultural voices in the UK, this world-class producer, songwriter, DJ, multi-instrumentalist, orchestral composer and cultural pioneer’s output as a musician is astonishing. He has scored for and performed with many of the world’s leading orchestras, and collaborated with and written for the likes of Paul McCartney, Sting, The London Symphony Orchestra, AR Rahman, Brian Eno, Sinead O’Conner, Anoushka Shankar, Jeff Beck, Shakira, Will Young, Taio Cruz, Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, Ellie Goulding, Cirque Du Soleil, Akram Khan, Mira Nair, Nelson Mandela and John Hurt.
Performing extensively around the world, he has achieved an international reputation across every possible creative medium. Often appearing as Artist in Residence, Curator or Musical Director at international festivals, Sawhney works tirelessly for musical education, acting as patron of the British Government’s Access-to-music programme and the East London Film Festival and acting as a judge for The Ivor Novello Awards, BAFTA, BIFA and the PRS foundation. He is a recipient of 4 honorary doctorates from British universities, is a fellow of LIPA and the Southbank University, an Associate of Sadler’s Wells and sits on the board for London’s Somerset House and Whitechapel Gallery.
Simon Singh is an award-winning science broadcaster and the best-selling author of Fermat’s Last Theorem. He is an acclaimed keynote speaker on science, cosmology, mathematics and information security and regularly appears on TV & Radio to discuss these issues. Simon Singh’s parents emigrated from the Punjab in India to Britain in 1950. He grew up in Somerset, and studied physics at Imperial College London, before completing a PhD in particle physics at Cambridge University and at CERN, Geneva.
In 1990 he joined the BBC’s Science Department, where he was a producer and director of programmes such as Tomorrow’s World and Horizon. In 1996 he directed Fermat’s Last Theorem, a BAFTA award winning documentary about the world’s most notorious mathematical problem. The documentary was also aired in America as part of the NOVA series. The Proof, as it was re-titled, was nominated for an Emmy. His other publications include Big Bang, Trick or Treatment? and The Code Book.
Rachel Elnaugh is one of Britain’s highest profile female entrepreneurs. Having started her working life as an office junior, at the age of 24, she created Red Letter Days, the market leading experiences brand, on a shoestring budget. Red Letter Days generated a turnover in excess of £100 million in her 16 years at the helm and pioneered the UK’s £250 million experiences sector. This earned her an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2002, short-listing for the 2001 Veuve Clicquot Businesswoman of the Year Award and the Growing Business Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2002.
In 2005, Rachel shot to fame as one of the original ‘Dragons’ in the first two series of BBC’s Dragons’ Den in which hers was the sole female perspective amongst the five investing entrepreneurs known as the “Dragons. Rachel has given evidence to Parliament on the development of an Enterprise Culture in the UK and has both participated in and spoken at the All-Party Parliamentary Committee for Small Business. She has acted as a judge for the EMDA Enterprising Britain Awards, the Accountancy Age Awards, the Grazia Businesswoman of the Year Awards and the National Business Awards.
In his compelling stage works, Hetain Patel uses powerful imagery and storytelling to examine questions of identity. In 2004, having graduated just a year earlier, Hetain Patel received the decibel award from Arts Council England, East Midlands. Since then, his photography, video and live works have been exhibited nationally and internationally. His work examines various sensory forms of language, communication and cultural identity. Often using his own body as a site for these discussions, he strives to find a connection with his heritage through the exploration of physics, rituals and Indian classical music. Employing techniques ranging from fashion photography to tabla drumming, he is interested in processes. This he believes is often where work becomes less culture specific and more about the general communication between bodies.
“What determines our identities anyway?” asks Hetain Patel. As a child, Patel wanted to be Bruce Lee; later, he wanted to be more like his father, with a different kind of bravery. From this question, his new show Be Like Water examines shifting identities of all kinds, using dance and bold imagery to power a story of self-examination and self-creation. Interestingly, in the piece, Patel collaborates with the Taiwanese dancer Yuyu Rau, who often stands in for him to tell his own story.
Quinton Fortune is a South African footballer who has represented a number of European clubs including Manchester United, Atletico Madrid and Bolton Wanderers. In 1991, at the end of the Apartheid, Fortune, only 14 was able to leave South Africa and moved to England where he played for the Tottenham Hotspur junior team. After having trouble obtaining a work permit, Fortune moved to Spain, where he played for Atlético Madrid. Manchester United purchased him from Atlético Madrid and he made his first appearance for the club on 30 August 1999, against Newcastle United. Fortune proved himself a capable and dedicated performer in a number of positions, he was known as ‘Mister Versatile.’ It was Fortune’s strength as a defender, rather than his qualities as an attacker, that Sir Alex Ferguson depended most on, and Fortune was often deployed as a central midfielder or as a left-back. Fortune also represented his country in 2 World Cups- France 98 and Japan-Korea 2002.
As of 2012, Fortune has returned to Manchester United. He trains with their reserve team whilst working on his coaching badges, which he aims to complete in 2014 Fortune has worked as a UNICEF ambassador at many occasions while playing at Manchester United. More recently he has also been actively involved in the campaign One Goal for education in South Africa. This campaign ran through the 2010 FIFA World Cup to promote education for all. He travels extensively across the world as a Man Utd Legend/Ambassador for their partner events and programs. He also works with TV Channels like Sky Sports, ITV, and MUTV as a match day pundit.
John Robb is the vocalist for the punk rock band ‘Goldblade’. Based in Manchester, he has also written several books on music and frequently appears as a journalist/commentator on documentary/light entertainment music shows.
Robb was inspired by the DIY ethic of punk to form Membranes in 1977, the band releasing several albums in the 1980s. In 1994 he formed Goldblade, who have released several albums including 2005′s Rebel Songs and 2008′s ‘Mutiny’ and single “City Of Christmas Ghosts” featuring Poly Styrene on shared vocals. Robb has appeared as a pundit on many television programmes including Channel 4′s “top 100″ shows, BBC’s I Love the 60s/70s/80s/90s series and Seven Ages of Rock, as well as offering expert pop culture opinion on several TV debate shows and both BBC and Channel 4 news. He has contributed to BBC 2′s The Culture Show as well as several appearances on TV documentaries, and he is also a regular on BBC radio commenting on pop culture. He has been a regular contributor to Sky’s The Pop Years and co-produced and presented a ten-part series on the history of punk rock.
Ethopian poet Lemn Sissay wears many hats as a writer and performer. The author of five poetry collections, Sissay’s poems dot the London landscape and are etched into major landmarks, from the site of the 2012 Summer Olympics to The Royal Festival Hall. In 2006, Desmond Tutu unveiled his sculpture poem “Gilt of Cain,” located near Fenchurch Street Station. Currently an associate artist at Southbank Centre and patron of the Letterbox Club, Sissay was named the official poet of the London 2012 Olympics. His poetry art has also been displayed at The Royal Academy.
Sissay is perhaps best known for his work for the BBC, which shines a spotlight on his upbringing as a foster child in the UK. In 1995, he shared his story in the BBC documentary ‘Internal Flight’ and his BBC radio documentary ‘Child of the State’ was nominated for a 2010 Sony Award. His play ‘Something Dark’ charts his quest to find his family. After a long search, he located his birth mom in Gambia and has since come to know the rest of his family.
A twisted mix of funk, soul, hiphop and aggressive jazz – sculpted round the LIVE 9-piece Riot Jazz Brass Band. Anchored in the same New Orleans swamplands as the Hot 8 Brass Band and Youngblood Brass Band, the Riot Jazz Brass Band navigate a minefield of original peace-lovin’ aggro jazz, hip-hop samples, funked-up favourites and re-interpreted dubstep, drum’n'bass and dancefloor bangers that never fail to send limbs flying!
Since their maiden voyage in Manchester 2008, the Riot Jazz Brass Band has been the bare-breasted galleon figure of the Riot Jazz flotilla. Captained by Nick Walters (who recently completed a Masters in Jazz Trumpet) and fronted by the prodigious MC CHUNKY, these brass-wielding sentinels of live music and good times have infected ear-holes, dance floors and festival fields far and wide. Tours of the UK and Europe have established The Riot Jazz Brass Band as band in their own right and earned them a faithful and diverse following. Festival performances include Glastonbury, Fusion Festival (Germany), Big Chill, Bestival, Camp Bestival, Kendal Calling, Soundwave Croatia, Parklife and EuroCultured: Dublin/Finland.