x = independently organized TED event


This event occurred on
November 2, 2013
8:00am - 11:00pm CET
(UTC +1hr)
Vienna, 9

We invite you on a one-day deep-dive exploration of limits.

From the smallest theoretically possible particles to the outskirts of the observable universe and everything in-between, we want to glean at the form, the substance, the pervasiveness and the temporary nature of limits.

How far can you go?

Volkstheater Vienna
Neustiftgasse 1
Vienna, 9, 1070
Event type:
Standard (What is this?)
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Mark Kramer

is a Nomadic Researcher / Lecturer and recently a full-time ePatient, exploring the limits and potentialities of information and communications technologies within healthcare and medicine. Mark served in the US Air Force as a Surgical Technician and Medic during the first Gulf War and continued to work in surgery for a total of 12 years while studying classical literature and preparing to enter medical school. In 1999, Mark fell in love, got married and abandoned his medical career in the US to move to Austria and start a new life.

Martha Merrow

Martha Merrow studied Biology at Middlebury College in Vermont before working on her Ph.D. in Immunogenetics at the Tufts University Medical School in Boston. She started working on her current research interest, the biological clock, as a Post Doctoral Fellow at the Dartmouth Medical School. Prof. Merrow then habilitated (a teaching degree) at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich before taking a tenure track position at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. She left Groningen seven years later as a full professor to assume a Teaching Chair in her former department in Munich, where she is currently engaged. Her research is focused on understanding molecular aspects of how the biological clock synchronises with environmental cues. Beyond her teaching and research, Prof. Merrow works on developing scientific networks for chronobiologists and for women in science (e.g., OnTime, Frauentisch).

Ian Usher

Ian Usher is a traveller, adventurer, writer and speaker currently based on a small island off the Caribbean coast of Panama. He was born in 1963 and spent his early years in Barnard Castle in the north east of England, before graduating with a teaching degree. It was in 2008 that Ian gained world wide notoriety when he listed his "entire life” for sale on eBay, following the separation and subsequent divorce from his wife, Laura. During the run up to, and throughout the week of this unique eBay event, "The ALife4Sale Auction" made news all over the world.

Aubrey de Grey

Is a biomedical gerontologist based in Cambridge, UK and Mountain View, California, USA, and is the Chief Science Officer of SENS Research Foundation, a California-based 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to combating the aging process. He is also Editor-in-Chief of Rejuvenation Research, the world’s highest-impact peer-reviewed journal focused on intervention in aging. He received his BA and Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in 1985 and 2000 respectively. His original field was computer science, and he did research in the private sector for six years in the area of software verification before switching to biogerontology in the mid-1990s. His research interests encompass the characterisation of all the accumulating and eventually pathogenic molecular and cellular side-effects of metabolism (“damage”) that constitute mammalian aging and the design of interventions to repair and/or obviate that damage. He has developed a possibly comprehensive plan for such repair, termed Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS), which breaks aging down into seven major classes of damage and identifies detailed approaches to addressing each one. Dr. de Grey is a Fellow of both the Gerontological Society of America and the American Aging Association, and sits on the editorial and scientific advisory boards of numerous journals and organisations.

Jocelyn Bell Burnell

Jocelyn Bell Burnell is a Visiting Professor in Oxford (UK). She inadvertently discovered pulsars as a graduate student in radio astronomy in Cambridge, opening up a new branch of astrophysics – work recognised by the award of a Nobel Prize to her supervisor. Subsequently she has worked in many roles in many branches of astronomy, working part-time while raising a family. Increasing the number of women in science is important to her. In her spare time she gardens, listens to choral music, collects poetry with an astronomical theme, and is active in the Quakers (Religious Society of Friends).

Daniel Dewey

Daniel Dewey is a research fellow in the Oxford Martin Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology at the Future of Humanity Institute, University of Oxford. His research includes paths and timelines to machine superintelligence, the possibility of intelligence explosion, and the strategic and technical challenges arising from these possibilities. Previously, Daniel worked as a software engineer at Google, did research at Intel Research Pittsburgh, and studied computer science and philosophy at Carnegie Mellon University. He is also a research associate at the Machine Intelligence Research Institute.

Mark Post

Mark Post first got involved in a Dutch government-funded programme investigating “in vitro meat” in 2008, when he was a professor of tissue engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology. The programme had been initiated by Wilem van Eelen, an 86-year-old entrepreneur who held a long-time fascination for the possibility of culturing meat. When the director of the programme fell ill, about mid-way through the programme, Post took over supervision of the PhD students. Motivated by the potentially high societal impact, he continued research even after the funding had ended in 2010.

Neil Ibata

Neil Ibata is a senior year student at the Lycée International in Strasbourg, France. In January 2013, he co-authored a study that showed that galaxies form in an unexpected way: while it was known that large galaxies like our Milky Way build up by assimilating their smaller neighbours, the new study showed that these smaller galaxies fall in coherent planes. This property of our cosmos is surprising to astrophysicists, and remains unexplained. Neil’s contribution to this work was to discover that these galaxies also possess a common sense of rotation. Neil is a passionate pianist and particularly interested in Romantic era music. He has obtained many prizes in mathematical competitions, most recently the second prize of the French Mathematical Olympiads and third prize in the International Tournament of Young Mathematicians.

Auma Obama

Dr. Auma Obama grew up in Kenya. Her passion for German authors such as Heinrich Böll and Wolfgang Borchert brings her to Germany in 1980. She studies sociology and German Studies in Heidelberg before attending the German Film and Television Academy (DFFB) in Berlin and finally graduating in Bayreuth. She will live 16 years in Germany, and later in the UK before eventually returning to Kenya. There she works for almost 5 years for the relief organization CARE. Among her tasks is the coordination of the program "sport for social change”: An initiative that uses sport education to strengthen self-confidence and self-worth of neglected children and youth, especially girls, introducing them to more positive behaviors. Thanks to various appearances in the German television (such as Beckmann in 2008 and 2010, as well as the NDR Talkshow 2010) and through many newspaper and radio interviews, Dr. Obama becomes a public figure.

Samar Jodha

Samar is an artist who over the last twenty years, has been using photography and film to address various issues like development, human rights and conservation. His work has shown in galleries and museums worldwide. Jodha’s eight-year long project on Ageing in India remains the single biggest social communication project in terms of outputs and outreach. Extracts of it were showcased at Whitechapel Gallery, London and Fotomuseum, Zurich in 2010. Bhopal – A Silent Picture, a 40-foot installation was showcased by Amnesty International London during the Summer Olympics. This multi-media public art project has so far clocked in over 150 thousand visitors.

Marc Miletich

Marc Miletich began his career in the 1980s as a filmmaker. One of his first movies, Patina, was screened by Karl-Heinz Böhm's charity project Menschen für Menschen (People for People). Miletich worked as a film director in Austria (ORF Wien) as well as in the US. In the early 1990s, he joined the Missing Link media research group, an agency for strategic online communication, as creative director. In 2001, he became director of Community Marketing at Viviance new education AG, a corporate eLearning provider in St. Gallen, Switzerland, before founding Sonovista in 2002.

Ip Wischin

Ip Wischin began his career as writer and co-director, together with Marc Miletich, of the film Doomsday Triptych. After making several independent films, Wischin worked as a screenwriter for Austrian public television (ORF). He was director, writer, and actor at the Pygmalion Theater in Vienna for ten year. Wischin lectures on film dramaturgy around the world, providing guidance for young filmmakers. His project "Vienna Goes L.A." encourages children of immigrant families to use filmmaking as a constructive way of dealing with everyday life.

Annemieke Hendriks

As a Dutch journalist and author with a sociological background, Annemieke Hendriks is mostly operating from Berlin, especially along Europe’s former East/West borders. Annemieke Hendriks studied sociology and language sciences at Groningen University. In the eighties Annemieke learnt to know Europe’s East/West borders, working some years for a German-Swiss-Dutch research project on civil rights at Freie Universität related Berghof Stiftung für Konfliktforschung (West-Berlin).

Carl Djerassi

Born in 1923 in Vienna but educated in the US, is a writer and professor of chemistry emeritus at Stanford University. Author of over 1200 scientific publications and seven monographs, he is only one of two American chemist to have been awarded both the National Medal of Science (in 1973, for the first synthesis of a steroid oral contraceptive--”the Pill”) and the National Medal of Technology (in 1991, for promoting new approaches to insect control). A member of the US National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as well as the Royal Society (London), the Leopoldina (Germany), and many other foreign academies, Djerassi has received 32 honorary doctorates together with numerous other honors, such as the first Wolf Prize in Chemistry, the first Award for the Industrial Application of Science from the National Academy of Sciences, the American Chemical Society’s highest award, the Priestley Medal, and more recently, the Erasmus Medal of the Academia Europaea (2003), the Great Merit Cross of Germany (2003), the Gold Medal of the American Institute of Chemists (2004), the Serono Prize in Literature (Rome, 2005), the Great Silver Decoration for Services to the Republic of Austria (2008), and the Edinburgh Medal (2011). In 2005, the Austrian Post Office issued a stamp in his honor.

Manel Torres

Manel is the inventor of the spray-on fabric technology. He is the founder and Managing Director of Fabrican Ltd and is the first fashion designer to create an instant dress. His eclectic background and experience allows him to divide his time between being an academic visitor at the world-renowned Imperial College London, and continuing his career as talented designer. Manel is a consultant to various areas of the fashion and scientific industries, and lectures across Europe and internationally.

Michael Stevens

He is the persona behind the YouTube sensation Vsauce, is an online personality with an entertaining approach to explaining the science behind seemingly ordinary, everyday phenomena. Michael's videos have been watched over 400 million times and Vsauce's 4.5 million subscribers continues to add an astonishing 15 thousand subscribers each day. Michael lives in London where he works for Google as an in-house consultant for other creators on the platform.

Johannes Bergerhausen

Born 1965 in Bonn, Germany, he studied Communication Design at the University of Applied Sciences in Düsseldorf. From 1993 to 2000, he lived and worked as a designer in Paris. First he collaborated with the Founders of Grapus, Gérard Paris-Clavel and Pierre Bernard, then he founded his own office. In 1998 he was awarded a grant from the French Centre National des Arts Plastiques for a typographic research project on the ASCII-Code. He returned to Germany in 2000 and, since 2002, is Professor of Typography and Book Design at the University of Applied Sciences in Mainz. Lectures in Amiens, Beirut, Berlin, Brussels, Dubai, Frankfurt, London, Malta, Paris, Prague, Rotterdam, San Francisco, Sofia, Weimar. Since 2004, he is working on the project, supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, which went online in 2005. Semester of research 2007 in Paris. He received many design awards like RedDot, Type Directors Club of New York, ADC, iF, Best German Books and more. In 2011, together with Siri Poarangan, he published »decodeunicode — Die Schriftzeichen der Welt«, a repertoire of the world's 109,242 digital characters.

Elif Bilgin

Elif is a 16 year old high school student from Istanbul, Turkey. She is currently participating in the ongoing Google Science Fair competition with her project about making plastic out of discarded banana peels. She has won the special award funded by Scientific American named “The Science in Action Prize” and also the Google’s “Inspired Idea Award” which was given to her as a result of a public voting which was cast during the month of August, 2013. She started her project 2 years ago in a school for gifted children in Turkey, of which she has been a student for 6 years. Her project has drawn the attention of many people from media to politics, due to its easily applicable nature. Apart from her passion for science, Elif is also interested in volleyball and has been playing for the last 8 years. She is the captain of her league team in Istanbul.

Organizing team

Vlad Adrian

Vienna, Wien, Austria