x = independently organized TED event

This event occurred on
October 15, 2010
4:00am - 1:00pm CDT
(UTC -5hrs)
Chicago, IL
United States

Our goal at TEDxMidwest is to bring powerful ideas from great speakers to a 350 person audience, that is every bit as amazing as the speakers. It’s a day long exploration with people who think differently and, who in spite of the challenges, have had great success. Overall, it’s a cross-pollination of ideas from science, the arts, technology, business, activism, design and philanthropy.

Museum of Contemporary Art
220 E Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL, 60611-2644
United States
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Meave Leakey

Meave Leakey is one of the preeminent paleoanthropologists in the world today. The Leakey family has been uncovering some of the greatest discoveries in human history for the last 100 years in south east Africa.

Pablos Holman

Paul “Pablos” Holman is a futurist, computer security expert, and a notorious hacker with a unique view into both breaking and building new technologies. At Komposite, he consults on bizarre invention and design projects that assimilate new technologies. Previously, Pablos helped build the world’s smallest PC at OQO; spaceships at Blue Origin; and AI agent systems at Xigo. He is a member of The Shmoo Group of information security professionals, and helped create the Hackerbot, a WiFi-seeking robot.

Paul Sereno

“I see paleontology as ‘adventure with a purpose.’ How else to describe a science that allows you to romp in remote corners of the globe, resurrecting gargantuan creatures that have never been seen? And the trick to big fossil finds? You’ve got to be able to go where no one has gone before.”

Dan Ariely

His immersive introduction to irrationality took place many years ago while he was overcoming his injuries sustained in an explosion. The range of treatments in the burn unit of the hospital, and particularly the daily “bath” made him face a variety of irrational behaviors that were immensely painful and persistent. Upon leaving the hospital, he wanted to understand how to better deliver painful and unavoidable treatments to patients so he began conducting research in this area. After completing this initial research project, Dan became engrossed with the idea that we repeatedly and predictably make the wrong decisions in many aspects of our lives and that research could help change some of these patterns….He recently published The Upside of Irrationality which at this time is #12 on the New York Times Best Seller List.

Frans Lanting

Frans Lanting has been hailed as one of the great nature photographers of our time. His influential work appears in books, magazines, and exhibitions around the world. For more than two decades he has documented wildlife and our relationship with nature in environments from the Amazon to Antarctica. He portrays wild creatures as ambassadors for the preservation of complete ecosystems, and his many publications have increased worldwide awareness of endangered ecological treasures in far corners of the earth.

Majora Carter

Born, raised, and continuing to live in the South Bronx, Majora believes you shouldn’t have to move out of your neighborhood to live in a better one, and that this notion has environmental and economic implications that span the globe.

Sylvia Earle

Sylvia Earle has been at the frontier of deep ocean exploration for four decades. She’s led more than 50 undersea expeditions, and she’s been an equally tireless advocate for our oceans and the creatures who live in them.

Gordon Gill

Gordon Gill has designed two of the most sustainable buildings on the planet: the world’s first positive-energy building and the first zero-energy skyscraper. His work emphasizes a holistic approach to design that integrates all project disciplines. The results are performance based designs that work symbiotically with their natural surroundings-contributing to the sustainability of cities, augmenting the built landscape and creating an optimal user experience.

Julia Sweeney

Known for her four-year run on Saturday Night Live and her powerful solo shows, Julia Sweeney is carving out her own territory in entertainment, one that moves between the personal and the political, the controversial and the comical. Her most recent piece, Letting Go of God, traces a spiritual journey that takes an unexpected turn toward science (a turn that, incidentally, also led her to TED) and ends with atheism.

Pam Meyer

Pamela Meyer is founder and CEO of Simpatico Networks, a leading private label social networking company that owns and operates online social networks. She holds an MBA from Harvard, an MA in Public Policy from Claremont Graduate School, and is a Certified Fraud Examiner. She has extensive training in advanced interviewing and interrogation techniques, facial micro-expression reading, body language interpretation, statement analysis, and behavior elicitation techniques.

Willie Smits

Willie Smits has devoted his life to saving the forest habitat of orangutans, the “thinkers of the jungle.” As towns, farms and wars encroach on native forests, Smits works to save what is left.

Bruce Mau

World-leading visionary, innovator, designer, and author, Bruce Mau is committed to creative, healthy, ecological and economic abundance. Informed by 25 years of studio experience in design innovation and collaboration with some of the world’s leading artists, institutions and businesses, Bruce Mau has made the simple commitment to connect his life and work to education and human development. As Co-Founder of Bruce Mau Live, this new initiative is committed to developing purposeful projects in education, health, leadership, and security.

William Ury

William L. Ury co-founded Harvard’s Program on Negotiation and is currently a Senior Fellow of the Harvard Negotiation Project. He is the author of The Power of a Positive No: How to Say No & Still Get to Yes (2007) and co-author (with Roger Fisher) of Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, an eight-million-copy bestseller translated into over thirty languages. “No other book in the field comes close to its impact on the way practitioners, teachers, researchers, and the public approach negotiation,” comments the National Institute on Dispute Resolution. Ury is also author of the award-winning Getting Past No: Negotiating with Difficult People and Getting To Peace (released in paperback under the title The Third Side).

Dave Gallo

A pioneer in ocean exploration, David Gallo is an enthusiastic ambassador between the sea and those of us on dry land. Dave works to push the bounds of oceanic discovery. Active in undersea exploration (sometimes in partnership with legendary Titanic-hunter Robert Ballard), he was one of the first oceanographers to use a combination of manned submersibles and robots to map the ocean world with unprecedented clarity and detail.

Jason Fried

Jason Fried is the co-founder and President of 37signals, a privately-held Chicago-based company committed to building the best web-based tools possible with the least number of features necessary. 37signals’ products include Basecamp, Highrise, Backpack, Campfire, Ta-da List, and Writeboard. 37signals also developed and open-sourced the Ruby on Rails programming framework. 37signals’ products do less than the competition — intentionally.

Dave Lowery

David is our musical director and along with several friends, will provide live music during the event. He is also founder of the band Camper Van Beethoven.

Erin McKean

Erin McKean likes to call herself a Dictionary Evangelist. She is the CEO of the new online dictionary Wordnik. She was the editor in chief of the New Oxford American Dictionary, and is the author of Weird and Wonderful Words, More Weird and Wonderful Words, Totally Weird and Wonderful Words, and That’s Amore (also about words).

Jason Clay

As WWF’s Senior Vice President, Market Transformation, Dr. Jason Clay directs the organization’s work with leading private sector companies to improve their supply chain management, particularly through innovative ingredient sourcing, the development of risk reduction strategies, and identifying ways to address embedded carbon and water issues. He also works with entire industries to develop credible global standards and to transform sectors by measurably improving performance against them.

Chirinjeev Kathuria

Dr. Chirinjeev Kathuria is Chairman of PlanetSpace and has significant success in building truly innovative companies. In X-Stream Networks, Dr. Kathuria was a director and a major shareholder and helped pioneered the free ISP concept. The X-Stream Network was one of the fastest growing Internet service providers (ISP) in the world and became the third largest ISP in the UK. The X-Stream Networks, Inc. was sold for USD 75 million in cash and stock and merged with LibertySurf. The combined company went public on the Paris Stock Exchange for USD 2.9 Billion in March 2000.

Gever Tulley

Gever Tulley was fortunate to grow up in a world full of possibilities and adventures. Gever’s famous rule while babysitting, “If you’re going to play with fire, we’re going to have to go outside.

Eric Fischl

Eric Fischl believes in the catalytic power of art to bring Americans together, challenging the acrimony and fear that has overtaken our public discourse. The visionary behind America: Now and Here, Fischl invited more than 150 celebrated artists — visual artists, playwrights, filmmakers, musicians and poets — to create work for a cross-country journey that will engage the public in a conversation about America and the experiences, ideas, challenges and ambitions we share.

Katrina Markoff

The story began inside a small ranch house beside the main highway running through the town of Ft. Wayne, Indiana. She was raised with modest means by her single mother and grandparents, who instilled in her at a very young age that “if you can dream it, you can live it– anything is possible,” an atypical background for the founder of a luxury chocolate business.

Jim Lasko

Jim Lasko is the Founding Artistic Director of Redmoon and currently serving as a core artist under the artistic direction of Frank Maugeri. Jim is an artist committed to public space. In that capacity, he has worked with and for many of Chicago’s great cultural institutions and was the City of Chicago’s first ever Artist in Residence.

Organizing team


Glencoe, IL, United States
  • Mike Hettwer
  • Linda Stone