Dr. Salman Ahmad leads an interesting double life. He is a UN Goodwill Ambassador and the biggest rock star in the Muslim world. The lead guitarist of Junoon has sold more than 25 million records, and the band is considered the “U2 of South Asia.” Dr. Ahmad is an artist, physician, humanitarian, and social activist and has led Junoon to perform at diverse venues like the U.N. General Assembly Hall —the first performance of its kind. In December 2007, Junoon performed at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo. In May 2008, Junoon defied death threats from militants to perform in the ethereal valley of Kashmir, the first-ever rock concert to be held in Srinagar. He performs unplugged, and gives us a sneak peak into his next project: solving world peace.
A huge scientific adventure is starting at CERN, the European Organization for nuclear research in Geneva, Switzerland to reveal the secrets of the early universe. Dr. Markus Nordberg is a physicist and an MBA, and he’s been tapped to coordinate the resources on the ATLAS experiment on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the most complex instrument ever built. The goal of the LHC is to recreate the conditions one billionth of a second after the Big Bang. Nothing like this has ever been attempted before. But we’ve already heard about the physics. Dr. Nordberg’s true talent is something even more impressive: how to motivate and coordinate thousands of physicists from over a hundred different countries around the world to achieve the same goal, without being in charge of their paychecks.
British-born Jane Poynter is a TV host, biosphere 2 crewmember, sustainability consultant, author, speaker, and technology company president. She has conducted experiments on the International Space Station, worked on projects to mitigate climate change, dived with sharks, raced motorcycles, and flown in zero gravity. Two years sealed inside the first-ever man-made biosphere gave Jane Poynter a particular perspective on sweet potatoes, carbon dioxide, sunlight, booze, policy, Mars, business, health, the new green revolution, and just about everything. Now she’s turned her inimitable energy and passion toward sustainability and living green. She focuses on what it means to be a biospheric species and what we can do to save the planet. (You may think humans can be greedy, but they’re nothing compared to microbes!)
Game innovator Kellee Santiago insists that games are more than entertainment. They are art. As a student in the MFA Interactive Media program at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, Kellee’s research focused on game design, interactive narrative, and physical and gestural interfaces for digital media. She has produced and managed a number of interactive projects including “I’m Gonna Kill the President! A Federal Offense” at PS122, and “The Angel Project” at Lincoln Center. While at USC, she teamed up with fellow student Jenova Chen to develop the student-created game, “Cloud.” The critically acclaimed game led them to found their own studio, thatgamecompany, which landed a three game deal with Sony Computer Entertainment America, Inc. to develop downloadable games for Playstation Network. thatgamecompany’s mission is to create games that push the possibilities of what games can communicate.
Called "Hollywood's Master of Light" by MIT's Technology Review, Paul Debevec leads the Graphics Laboratory at USC's Institute for Creative Technologies, where he directs the development of the Light Stage systems, which capture and simulate how people and objects appear in real-world illumination.
His work on lighting digital objects has been used in films like X-Men, The Golden Compass and Terminator: Salvation. He leads the design of HDR Shop, the first high-dynamic-range image editing program. He has collaborated with TEDster Golan Levin on an interactive art installation called Rouen Revisited.
"By creating more accurate artificial lighting on a computer, he says, his team is "giving filmmakers more flexibility" in their shots and more efficient ways to generate effects. Which means time and money saved on shooting, editing, and drawing graphics-not to mention more convincing results."
- Gregory T. Huang, Technology Review
Restoring sight to the blind? All in a days work for Mark Humayun. Dr. Huymayun has tackled the challenges of bioengineering in ophthalmology, through basic research to clinical applications to bring to life the artificial retina. Dr. Humayun is a professor of Ophthalmology, Biomedical Engineering, and Cell and Neurobiology at the Doheny Eye Institute, Keck School of Medicine at USC.
David Logan studies how people communicate within a company -- and how to harness our natural gifts to make change within organizations. He looks at emerging patterns of corporate leadership, organizational transformation, generational differences in the workplace, and team building for high-potential managers and executives.
He's the co-founder and senior partner at CultureSync, a management consulting firm, and works with Fortune 500 companies, governments, and nonprofits. Much of CultureSync’s work is derived from a ten-year study of over 24,000 people published at Tribal Leadership (2008), which shows how organizational culture evolves over time and how leaders can nudge it forward.
He teaches management and leadership in the USC Executive MBA, and is also on the faculty at the International Centre for Leadership in Finance (ICLIF), endowed by the former prime minister of Malaysia, and on the Foundation for Medical Excellence in Portland.
From 2001-2004, he served as Associate Dean of Executive Education at USC. During that time, he started the Master of Medical Management (MMM), a business degree for midcareer medical doctors. He also initiated new executive education programs (often, in concert with the USC School of Policy, Planning and Development) with organizations as diverse as the Sierra Health Foundation, Northrop Grumman, and the City of Los Angeles. He continued to oversee many programs, including one of USC’s first distance learning education courses for managers in Japan and a senior executive program at Toyota.
Logan is co-author of four books including Tribal Leadership and The Three Laws of Performance.
Is our world ready for a blue revolution? Agriculture acreage is decreasing, many commercial fisheries are predicted to collapse, and with an ever-increasing human population to feed, novel ways to increase food production are essential. Dr. Donal T. Manahan is Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Southern California, Director of the USC Wrigley Center for Environmental Sciences. Expanding our ability to cultivate the ocean will be critical to sustainable human food production in the future. Dr. Manahan unlocks the future of human food.
Organ virtuoso Qi Zhang plays her electric rendering of "Ridiculous Fellows" from Prokofiev's "The Love for Three Oranges" orchestral suite. This exhilarating performance from TEDx USC features the Yamaha Electone Stagea, a rare, imported instrument specially programmed by Qi herself.