x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Solve for y

This event occurred on
February 23, 2013
10:00am - 6:00pm EST
(UTC -5hrs)
New Haven, CT
United States

Our theme challenges speakers to explain their unique "y" and tell the audience "why" it is significant. The "y," as opposed to other variables, also references the speakers' common ground, Yale.

Shubert Theater
247 College Street
New Haven, CT, 06510
United States
Event type:
University (What is this?)
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Ronan Farrow

Ronan Farrow is Special Adviser to the Secretary of State for Global Youth Issues and director of the State Department’s Global Youth Issues office. With youth populations swelling and young people driving global events to an unprecedented extent, Special Adviser Farrow is responsible for implementing and amplifying youth policy and programming throughout the Department. The Office of Global Youth Issues, created by Secretary Clinton as a result of a Department-wide review of youth policy, oversees an historic effort to empower young people as economic and civic actors through U.S. programs, encourage governments to respond to youth through U.S. diplomacy, and directly engage young people around the world.

Dan McKinsey

Professor McKinsey's research centers on non-accelerator particle physics, particle astrophysics, and low temperature physics. In particular, he works on the development of new detectors using liquefied noble gases, which promise to be useful in looking for physics beyond the Standard Model. Applications include the search for Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs), neutrinoless double beta decay, and the measurement of the low energy solar neutrino flux. He is also developing optical methods for imaging metastable helium molecules in superfluid helium, with applications to dark matter detection, ultracold neutron detection, and imaging of turbulence in superfluid helium.

Tomicah Tillemann

Dr. Tomicah Tillemann serves as the Secretary of State's Senior Advisor for Civil Society and Emerging Democracies. He and his team work like venture capitalists to identify ideas that can strengthen new democracies and civil society, and then bring together the talent, partners and resources necessary to translate promising concepts into reality. Hillary Clinton has praised Tomicah as the architect behind many of her initiatives to engage partners beyond government, harness the power of technology, remake the Community of Democracies, and promote strategic philanthropy. Tomicah graduated from Yale in 2001. He lives in Washington with his wife and four children.

Sandra Boynton

Sandra Boynton (Yale College ’74, DRA '79 not completed) is a cartoonist, writer, and songwriter. She has written and illustrated a lot of short books, some for adults, most of them for children. She also has written and produced five record albums, including the Grammy-nominated Philadelphia Chickens. Recently, she led a startling 300-kazoo attempt of Ravel’s Boléro; nearly three copies of that CD have been sold. She is married to Olympic whitewater racer and intrepid expeditionist Jamie McEwan (Yale College ’75). They have four perfect children.

Eddie Opara

Opara is a multi-faceted designer whose work encompasses strategy, design and technology. His projects have included the design of brand identity, publications, packaging, environments, exhibitions, interactive installations, websites, user interfaces and software, with many of his projects ranging across multiple media. He is currently a partner at Pentagram.

Ian Ayres

Ian Ayres is a lawyer and an economist. He is the William K. Townsend Professor at Yale Law School, the Anne Urowsky Professorial Fellow in Law, and a Professor at Yale's School of Management. (Ayres Resume) Professor Ayres has been a columnist for Forbes magazine, a commentator on public radio’s Marketplace, and a contributor to the New York Times' Freakonomics Blog. His research has been featured on PrimeTime Live, Oprah and Good Morning America and in Time and Vogue magazines. Ian has published 11 books (including the New York Times best-seller, Super Crunchers) and over 100 articles on a wide range of topics. His latest book is Carrots and Sticks: Unlock the Power of Incentives to Get Things Done. In 2010, he also published Lifecyle Investing (with Barry Nalebuff). Ian is a co-founder of stickK.com, a web site that helps you stick to your goals. In an Illinois post-conviction proceeding, Ayres helped convince a court to vacate his client's death sentence. In 2006, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His book with Greg Klass, Insincere Promises: The Law of Misrepresented Intent, won the 2006 Scribes book award "for the best work of legal scholarship published during the previous year."

Yale Dancers

YaleDancers is Yale University's oldest dance company, with members trained in a wide range of styles from classical ballet to acrobatics. At TEDxYale, YaleDancers will be performing two pieces from their fall 2012 show: "Never Say Goodbye" a duet by Gracie White YC '16 and Christian Probst YC '15, and "Laws X" choreographed by Juliette Jeanfreau YDS '13 who dances alongside Molly Gibbons YC '14, Elena Light YC '13 and Scott Simpson YC '13. These two pieces highlight YaleDancers' diverse styles of movement while exploring concepts such as loss and the origin of motion.

Shades of Yale

Shades is a unique co-educational a cappella group at Yale University. Shades was founded in 1988 at a pre-orientation program for students of color now known as Cultural Connections. The group's repertoire is rooted in music of the African Diaspora, a tradition that until the emergence of Shades had not established itself amongst Yale's a cappella community. Drawing on the rich ethnic and musical backgrounds of its members, Shades strives to achieve the most dynamic and powerful musical presentation possible, with a focus on African-American music, particularly R&B, gospel, jazz, pop, and traditional music.

Michael Frame

Michael Frame teaches mathematics at Yale University. He specializes in biomathematics courses, and in fractal geometry. For 20 years he worked with Benoit Mandelbrot, a collaboration that was a joy without bound. Besides working, all he does is read and take care of seven cats.

DJ Stanfill

DJ Stanfill is a sophomore music major from Los Angeles. He sang at the 2010 and 2011 Grammy Awards and co-produced a concert at the Kennedy center in Washington DC. In 2011 he was honored as a United States Presidential Scholar in the Arts, and selected as a winner of the YoungArts in the Jazz voice category. He is a two-time semifinalist of the Los Angeles Spotlight Awards for instrumental jazz. Music has always been an integral part of his life. He plays trombone, piano, sings, and composes. When not playing, composing, or arranging music, he enjoys studying English, Psychology, and Botany.

Jonathan Holloway

Jonathan Holloway is a Professor of African American Studies, History and American Studies. He specializes in post-emancipation United States history with a focus on social and intellectual history. He is the author of Confronting the Veil: Abram Harris Jr., E. Franklin Frazier, and Ralph Bunche, 1919-1941 (2002) and Jim Crow Wisdom: Memory and Identity in Black America Since 1940 (2013). He edited Ralph Bunche's A Brief and Tentative Analysis of Negro Leadership (2005) and co-edited Black Scholars on the Line: Race, Social Science, and American Thought in the 20th Century (2007).

Clemantine Wamariya

Clemantine Wamariya was six-years-old when the genocide started in Rwanda. Miraculously she and her sixteen-year-old sister, Claire, managed to survive but they were separated from their parents. During the six years following the genocide, Ms. Wamariya lived in numerous refugee camps in seven different African countries before coming to Chicago in 2000. Since first discussing her experiences as both a survivor of genocide and her life as a refugee on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2006, Ms. Wamariya has traveled the country, speaking at numerous universities, high schools, and other organizations. Currently an undergraduate at Yale University, Ms. Wamariya is involved in several human rights and genocide intervention activities. More recently, President Barack Obama appointed Wamariya to serve on the board of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Eddy Wang

Eddy Wang is a freshman at Yale University hailing from Rochester, New York. He is undecided on his major, but is interested in music and film. He plays in a string quartet and writes occasionally for the YDN. He is going to Uganda over spring break and is excited to pursue new opportunities on campus.

Teeth Slam Poets

Teeth Slam Poets is Yale's premier slam poetry group founded in 2009. Slam as we know it today was founded in Chicago in the late 80s by Marc Smith ("So What?"), a construction worker who wanted to get his friends from work to listen to his poetry. In its current iteration, spoken word has been influenced by the beat movement, rap, and hip hop, among others. The art of auditory poetry is by no means a recent improvement. Historically, many have written poetry with the intention of reading it aloud. For instance, as early as the High Middle Ages, the Troubadours were creating such works. Teeth Poets is dedicated to inspiring and empowering through original poetry. Teeth Poets also has a travelling team that competes regionally and nationally in inter-collegiate poetry slams.

Richard Prum

Dr. Prum is an evolutionary ornithologist with broad interests in diverse topics, including phylogenetics, behavior, feathers, structural color, evolution and development, sexual selection, and historical biogeography. His recent research has focused on theoretical and molecular studies of the development and evolution of feathers, developing and applying new tools for the study of the physics and evolution of structural coloration, and continued efforts in phylogenetic ethology of polygynous birds. He has conducted field work throughout the Neotropics and in Madagascar, and has studied fossil theropods in China. He is Curator of Ornithology in the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History and Head Curator of Vertebrate Zoology.

John DeStefano

Mayor DeStefano was sworn in as the 49th Mayor of New Haven on January 1, 1994. He is serving his 10th term in office. Mayor DeStefano has worked hard and successfully to strengthen the academic achievement of public school students, to build a vibrant mixed use city center, a competitive economic base, strong neighborhoods and a community culture of traditional values and social tolerance.

Sam Spaulding

Sam Spaulding is a Senior at Yale University majoring in Computer Science with a focus on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. He is interested in extending the natural language capabilities of robots for use in education and entertainment. In 2010, he appeared on the popular game show Jeopardy! four times and won 2nd place in the Jeopardy! College Championship.

Cody Pomeranz

Cody Pomeranz is a sophomore History major from Cincinnati, Ohio. He is the Co-founder and Student Coordinator of the Queen City Classic Chess Tournament, one of the largest scholastic chess tournaments in the country and the recipient of the 2006 United States Chess Federation (USCF) "Tournament of the Year" award. He is deeply passionate about education issues; he has taught two summers of U.S. History, Chess, Debate, and Creative Writing to underserved middle school students at Breakthrough Cincinnati, written policy speeches on education for the Obama campaign in Pennsylvania, and contributed to The Huffington Post. He is the youngest of six children and enjoys performing stand-up comedy.

Roz Savage

Roz Savage is a British ocean rower, environmental campaigner, and keynote speaker. She holds four world records for ocean rowing, including first woman to row three oceans: the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian. She has rowed over 15,000 miles, taken around 5 million oarstrokes, and spent cumulatively over 500 days of her life at sea in a 23-foot rowboat. She uses her ocean rowing adventures to inspire action on the top environmental challenges facing the world today. Roz Savage was also a 2012 Yale World Fellow.

Duke's Men of Yale

With six decades of history and numerous recent accolades celebrating its musicality and performance, The Duke’s Men of Yale offers a refreshing take on a cappella music. Since 1952, audiences worldwide have been raving about The Duke’s Men of Yale for their brilliant musicianship and keen ability to balance their down-to-earth sense of humor with their strong sense of professionalism. With an expansive repertoire and knack for high-energy performances, “Da Doox” consistently impress.

Debra Fischer

Debra Fischer is a Professor of Astronomy at Yale University who has discovered hundreds of exoplanets, including the first known multiple planet system in 1999. She is working on new instruments to detect small rocky planets and this leads naturally to an interest in questions about the orgin of life and the structure and composition of terrestrial worlds.

Organizing team


New York, NY, United States


Baltimore, MD, United States
  • Grier Barnes