x = independently organized TED event

This event occurred on
May 18, 2013
9:00am - 6:00pm EDT
(UTC -4hrs)
Toronto, ON

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized (subject to certain rules and regulations).

George Ignatieff Theatre
15 Devonshire Place
Toronto, ON, M5S 2E2
Event type:
University (What is this?)
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Ryan North

Ryan North is the author of the long-running Dinosaur Comics (qwantz.com), the acclaimed Adventure Time comic series (kaboom-studios.com), and the recordbreaking To Be Or Not To Be: That Is The Adventure (hamletbook.com) a choose-your-own-path re-imagining of Hamlet. He also coedited the bestselling Machine of Death anthology (machineofdeath.net). He studied Computational Linguistics at U of T (utoronto.ca). He is 32 years old and lives in Toronto with his wife and dog, Noam Chompsky (chompsky.tumblr.com).

Doug Richards

Doug Richards is a clinical sport physician and biomechanist. Educated in medicine at U of T (Class of 7T9), he has worked at the University of Toronto’s David L. MacIntosh Sport Medicine Clinic since 1984, and has been its medical director since 1989. He has been a professor in U of T’s Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education since 1991. Dr. Richards has organized and provided medical services at a variety of national and international sporting events and major games; and he has been a team physician to U of T’s Varsity Blues intercollegiate teams since 1984, to Canada’s women’s national basketball team since 1987, and to our national beach volleyball teams since 1997. He was a team physician for the Toronto Raptors for nine years, from 1995-2004. Professor Richards teaches undergraduate courses in sport medicine, biomechanics, and personal health. He was a semi-finalist in the TVO Best Lecturer contest in 2008, and a finalist in the same contest in 2009. His research interests have focused on concussion in sports and the biomechanics of injury. He is an avid cyclist who rides around 10,000 km per year. He enjoys cooking, and red wine, but does not take performance-enhancing drugs.

John Polanyi

John Polanyi, educated at Manchester University, England, was a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University and at the National Research Council of Canada. He is a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Toronto, a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada (P.C.), and a Companion of the Order of Canada (C.C.). His awards include the 1986 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He has written extensively on science policy, the control of armaments, peacekeeping and human rights.

Andres Lozano

Andres Lozano, M.D., Ph. D., is a Professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto. He holds both the R.R. Tasker Chair in Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery at the Krembil Neuroscience Centre and the Dan Family Chair in Neurosurgery at UofT. He has been featured in The New York Times, The Independent, 60 Minutes and is recognized internationally as one of the top neurosurgeons in the world. Patients have come as far away as the Philippines to be under his scalpel, and doctors move to Toronto for year long stretches to watch him work. Andres has over 400 publications, serves on more than 15 editorial journals and is a founding member of the scientific advisory board of the Michael J. Fox Foundation. He has received a number of awards including the prestigious Olivecrona Medal and the Jonas Salk Award, has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and has received the Order of Spain. He has trained over 50 fellows in functional neurosurgery who have gone on to be leaders in this area in their own coutries throughout the world. Dr. Lozano is best known for his work in Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) and is one of the most cited researchers in DBS and Parkinson's Disease. His team has mapped out cortical and subcortical structures in the human brain by stimulating and obtaining recordings from single neurons. He and his colleagues have pioneered various aspects of DBS in numerous neurological disorders such as depression, anorexia and Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Lozano hopes to expand the scope of DBS into a vast frontier of formidable diseases for which there have been, until now, few hopes of effective treatments. His main research and clinical interests lie in the field of the neurosurgical treatment of movement disorders and micro-electrode recordings of the human brain.

Joshua Gans

Joshua Gans is the Jeffrey S. Skoll Chair of Technical Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. He holds a PhD in Economics from Stanford and has over 100 publications in economics and strategy. Joshua is the author of Parentonomics: An Economist Dad Looks at Parenting and Information Wants to be Shared (published by Harvard Business Review Press). He is also the co-founder of the Digitopoly blog (digitopoly.org).

Jeffrey Rosenthal

Jeffrey Rosenthal is a professor in the Department of Statistics at the University of Toronto. Born in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada in 1967, he received his BSc in Mathematics, Physics, and Computer Science from the University of Toronto at the age of 20; his PhD in Mathematics from Harvard University at the age of 24; and tenure in the Department of Statistics at the University of Toronto at the age of 29. For his research, Rosenthal was awarded the 2006 CRM-SSC Prize, and also the 2007 COPSS Presidents’ Award, the most prestigious honour bestowed by the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies. For his teaching, he received a Harvard University Teaching Award in 1991, and an Arts and Science Outstanding Teaching Award at the University of Toronto in 1998. He was elected to Fellowship of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics in 2005, and of the Royal Society of Canada in 2012. Rosenthal’s book for the general public, Struck by Lightning: The Curious World of Probabilities, is being published in sixteen editions and ten languages, and was a bestseller in Canada. It led to numerous media and public appearances. Rosenthal has also published two textbooks about probability theory, and over ninety refereed research papers, many related to the field of Markov chain Monte Carlo randomised computer algorithms and to interdisciplinary applications of statistics. He has dabbled as a computer game programmer, musical performer, and improvisational comedy performer, and is fluent in French. His web site is www.probability.ca. Despite being born on Friday the thirteenth, Rosenthal has been a very fortunate person.

Chris Kennedy

Christopher Kennedy is a Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto, where he teaches courses in Infrastructure Economics, Engineering Ecology, and the Design of Infrastructure for Sustainable Cities. His work involves applying principles of Industrial Ecology to the design of urban infrastructure, including buildings, water systems, and urban transportation. Amongst his publications are studies of urban metabolism, greenhouse gas emissions from global cities and processes for developing sustainable urban transportation systems. His wider work includes contributions to probability theory, regional economics and engineering education. His book The Evolution of Great World Cities: Urban Wealth and Economic Growth was published by University of Toronto Press in 2011. Chris has worked and studied in Europe and North America. He holds qualifications in Civil Engineering (Imperial & Waterloo), Economics (Warwick) and Business (Toronto). In 2004/05, Chris was a visiting professor at Oxford University and ETH Zürich. In 2011/12, he was seconded to the OECD in Paris, to work on Cities, Green Growth and Policies for Encouraging Investment in Low Carbon Infrastructure. He has conducted professional work for the Ontario Ministry of Finance, Infrastructure Canada, Clinton Climate Initiative, California Energy Commission, US National Science Foundation, UN-HABITAT and the World Bank. Chris is Director of the Cities and Engineering Management Program at University of Toronto and is President–elect of the International Society for Industrial Ecology.

Aisha Ahmad

Aisha Ahmad is an Assistant Professor in Political Science at the University of Toronto. She is also the Chief Operating Officer of the Dr. Hawa Abdi Foundation, and internationally renowned non-governmental organization that provides emergency relief in Somalia. Aisha recently completed her PhD at McGill University, and was a former Research Fellow in the International Security Program and Initiative on Religion in International Affairs at the Belfer Centre for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School. Her work explores the political economy of state failure and state formation in the Muslim world, with a particular focus on the local business community in failed states. Aisha has conducted extensive field research in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kenya and Somalia over the course of several years.

Richard Bond

J. Richard Bond O.C., O.Ont., University Professor in the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics at the University of Toronto, Director of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research Cosmology & Gravity Program and a Gruber Laureate, is one of the most eminent astrophysicists in the world, having ushered the field through three decades of what has been described as its "golden age." He has made seminal contributions to the study of the origin and evolution of large-scale structure in the universe, including the critical role that different types of dark matter could have played. He is best known for throwing open the window on the universe’s origins by listening in on the universe's earliest “baby cries” – contained in cosmic background radiation, the oldest light energy that any telescope can detect, the photon afterglow of the Big Bang. He has developed the theory and observation of its fluctuations into a tool of exceptional power to determine with high precision fundamental parameters characterizing the material content and structural properties of our Universe, e.g., in the recently announced cosmological results from the Planck satellite. Through his leadership and mentoring of a host of postdoctoral fellows, he has propelled Canada into a cosmological powerhouse.

Christos Marcopoulos

Christos Marcopoulos is Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto’s Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design. He is also co-founder and partner in the architecture practice Studio NMinusOne (n-1). Christos has extensive professional working experience having worked in the offices of OMA, Office for Metropolitan Architecture, Rotterdam, led by Rem Koolhaas, and SOM, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, San Francisco. His technical expertise has been instrumental in the development of Studio NMinusOne’s projects. His work on the domestic environment has been acquired by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He is the co-editor of Wild Wild Urbanism, Redesigning California [CCA 2006], and co-author of The Living, Breathing, Thinking Responsive Buildings of the Future [Thames & Hudson]. His built work has been published widely in academic and mainstream media including Praxis Journal of Architecture, Domus, The New York Times Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal. Studio NMinusOne has been selected by the New York Architectural League for their Emerging Voices lecture series, 2012. He is co-founder of the RAD Lab, the Responsive Architecture and Design Lab at the University of Toronto. The lab provides resources and expertise for project-based research on the architectural ramifications of embedded technology and ubiquitous computing

Jordan Peterson

Jordan B. Peterson is a psychology professor at the University of Toronto, and a clinical psychologist, with two main areas of study: the psychology of belief, including religion, mythology and political ideology; and the assessment and improvement of personality, including the prediction of creativity and academic and industrial performance. After completing his undergrad degree at Grande Prairie College and the University of Alberta, Dr. Peterson earned a Ph.D. in psychology at McGill in 1991, and was a post-doc at McGill’s Douglas Hospital. In 1993, he joined the psychology faculty at Harvard. He moved to the University of Toronto in 1997. His work has been funded by SSHRC, CIHR and NSERC (major Canadian granting agencies), and the Rotman Business School Center for Integrative Thinking. He was nominated for the Levenson Prize at Harvard in 1998, and by TVO each year from 2005-2008 as one of Ontario’s Best University Lecturers. He also serves as an essayist and panelist for TVO’s The Agenda, a well-known Canadian current affairs program, and is a popular source of information for other media outlets, including TVO’s Big Ideas, which has televised five of his lectures. Dr. Peterson also acts as a business consultant, working as an executive coach for senior partners of large law firms in Toronto, in addition to his clinical practice, and is the vice-president of a personality assessment and remediation company, examcorp.com (see also cream.hr). The author or co-author of more than 70 scientific articles, he published Maps of Meaning in 1999 with Routledge, which was subsequently made into a televised lecture series on TVO (see mapsofmeaning.com). Dr. Peterson is presently communicating the ideas in Maps of Meaning to a wide public audience, serving as an advisor to a UN committee planning sustainable international development, and building an online system to help people understand and improve their characters (www.selfauthoring.com).

Dan Dolderman

Dr. Dan Dolderman is an Environmental Psychologist at the University of Toronto, specializing in environmental activism and personal fulfillment. His work is based on a lifelong passion for helping people reach their full potential and cultivate a deeper awareness of their connection to the living world, two life paths that he believes are intimately intertwined. Dolderman believes that we are living through a time of great challenge to human civilization, perhaps greater than anything our species has yet faced, and as a result, that this is also a time of great potential for change. People all over the world are becoming dissatisfied with the corporatization of almost every aspect of life, and are yearning to rediscover ways of being that feel “real.” He believes that this current decade is a critical time in which we will either harness this yearning for change and propel society towards a new way of organizing itself, reinventing democracy, community, and the economy in order to do so, or we will face an unraveling world as climate change and biodiversity collapse undermine the foundation of life on which we depend. Dr. Dolderman has worked with many different groups, from student activists to environmental organizations across Canada, helping people learn to use the science of communication and motivation to more effectively promote a healthier relationship between society and the environment. Starting in the summer of 2013, Dolderman and his partner, Safa Ali, will be delivering a series of well-being and activism workshops to the general public, and helping to launch a people’s movement called the Unstoppable Snowball, with the goal of mobilizing citizens to take action against climate change, to build more resilient and sustainable communities, and to generally make the world more awesome!

John Vervaeke

Dr. John Vervaeke has been teaching at the University of Toronto since 1994. He currently teaches courses in the cognitive science program introducing cognitive science, and the cognitive science of consciousness; courses in the psychology department on insight problem solving, and the psychology of wisdom; and courses in the Buddhism, psychology and mental health program on Buddhism and Cognitive Science, the Science of Mindfulness Meditation, and the Cultivation of Consciousness through instruction in vipassana meditation, metta contemplation, and tai chi chuan. He has won and been nominated for several teaching awards including the 2001 Students’ Administrative Council and Association of Part-time Undergraduate Students Teaching Award for the Humanities, and the 2012 Ranjini Ghosh Excellence in Teaching Award. His most recent publications include Relevance Realization the Emerging Framework in Cognitive Science (2012) with Tim Lillicrap and Blake Richards, a chapter in The Scientific Study of Personal Wisdom entitled Relevance, Meaning, and the Cognitive Science of Wisdom (2012) with Leo Ferraro, and a forthcoming (March 2013, Springer) chapter with Leo Ferraro entitled Relevance Realization and the Neurodynamics and Neuroconnectivity of General Intelligence. His research interests are relevance realization, insight problem solving, general intelligence, consciousness, mindfulness, rationality, and wisdom.

Organizing team


Toronto, Canada
  • Arqam Qayyum
  • Colleen Garrity
  • Naif M. Alotaibi
  • Karen R. Gomez
  • Jeff Shin
  • Kaiyu Hsu