x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Perspectives on Innovation

This event occurred on
November 7, 2010
7:00am - 11:00am CST
(UTC -6hrs)
Huntsville, AL
United States

This event invites participants to experience an American Enterprise scholar expound on global trends in innovation after hearing a debut musical score that chronicles the evolution of jazz. They will hear from a pioneer in human genome research and a space station developer who invents water powered jet packs in his free time. This is just the beginning of what to expect when you shift Perspectives on Innovation.

TEDxHuntsville aims to show that no matter the field, we must share inspiration to excel at innovation. When we look at obstacles, such as war or space travel, as opportunities to create solutions, we not only expand our own capacity to catalyze a positive change in the world, but we also ignite many future endeavors.

The Jackson Center
600 Genome Way
Huntsville, AL, 35806
United States
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Charles Murray

Charles Murray is the W.H. Brady Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He first came to national attention in 1984 with the publication of Losing Ground: American Social Policy 1950–1980, which has been credited as the intellectual foundation for the Welfare Reform Act of 1996. His 1994 New York Times bestseller, The Bell Curve, coauthored with the late Richard J. Herrnstein, sparked heated controversy for its analysis of the role of IQ on life outcomes in America. In 2003, Dr. Murray published Human Accomplishment:The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950, an exploration into the reasons that great achievement has been concentrated in certain eras and places.

Tim Pickens

Tim Pickens, space pioneer, was the creator of the forward propulsion system for Bigelow Aerospace’s Sundancer Space Station and lead propulsion engineer for SpaceShipOne. He has invented a multitude of cool rocket-powered home projects, including a rocket-powered pick-up truck, a water rocket belt, and a rocket-powered bicycle.

Sean Gourley

Sean Gourley is a Physicist, decathlete, political advisor, and TED fellow. He is originally from New Zealand where he ran for national elected office and helped start New Zealand’s first nanotech company. Sean studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar where he received a PhD for his research on the mathematical patterns that underlie modern war. This research has taken him all over the world from the Pentagon, to the United Nations and Iraq. Previously Sean worked at NASA on self-repairing nano-circuits and is a two-time New Zealand track and field champion. Sean is now based in San Francisco where he splits his time between mathematical research and his venture capital backed startup Quid.

Victoria Grady

Victoria Grady researches the inherent loss of stability suffered by organizations introducing and implementing organizational change initiatives. Her research focus resulted in a validated model explaining the tendency of individuals, often subconsciously, to struggle, resist, and potentially disrupt the organizational change initiative. Since graduating from George Washington University, Dr. Grady has extended her original model to include a validated index that quantitatively measures the tendency of individuals within an organization to embrace organizational change initiatives. The index focuses on the employee, and how factors inherent in change affect their performance.

Don Bowyer + UAHuntsville Faculty Jazz Band

Don Bowyer is Chair of the Department of Music at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, where he teaches Jazz and Music Technology. Active as a composer, Bowyer has published more than 60 pieces of music. With an active interest in computer-assisted instruction in music, he is the creator of Dolphin Don's Music School, an educational computer game that teaches music reading and ear training for children. As a trombonist, Bowyer has performed in more than 40 countries on five continents. Bowyer and his wife are also certified foster parents, having provided a home to eighteen foster children since 2003.

Douglass Coutts

Douglass Coutts is Special Advisor on Child Hunger to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director. He was previously based in Washington, D.C., and charged with working with institutions in North America as part of the new global Child Hunger Initiative being developed by WFP in conjunction with UNICEF and the World Bank. Douglass is on assignment from the UN as Distinguished Visiting Professor in the College of Human Sciences at Auburn University, where he is advising on the design of a Hunger Studies Minor area of study, helping to establish an International Institute of Global Hunger at Auburn, supporting "Universities Fighting World Hunger" (UFWH), a joint partnership with WFP and Auburn University with 100 university members in North America and around the world.

Dan Satterfield

Dan Satterfield is the Chief Meteorologist for WHNT TV (CBS) in Huntsville Al. He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a degree in Meteorology (Atmospheric Physics). He also has a Masters in Earth Science. Dan is a native of Oklahoma and while at Oklahoma University was on the NOAA storm chase team. Forecasting weather is his job, but all of Earth science is his passion. In the last 11 months Dan has traveled to the South Pole and to within a few hundred miles of the North Pole covering climate science. Dan runs the Wild Wild Weather Page for kids which is used in classrooms around the world. He also blogs about Earth science for the American Geophysical Union (AGU). Dan is also on the board of directors for Sci-Quest.

Sterling Wharton

Sterling G. Wharton is the Program Director for Georgia’s Centers of Innovation (COI) program, which pairs high growth, technology-oriented businesses and entrepreneurs with applied research, technology connections and technology commercialization expertise to foster economic growth. The six Centers of Innovation offer industry-relevant research and a network of interdisciplinary university and technical talent including advanced manufacturing, aerospace, agribusiness, energy, life sciences and logistics.

Shawn Levy

Shawn Levy, PhD is a Lab Director at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, AL. Prior to joining HudsonAlpha, Dr. Levy was an Assistant Professor in Biomedical Informatics and Molecular Physiology and Biophysics and founding Director of the Vanderbilt Microarray Shared Resource at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Dr. Levy remains on the faculty at Vanderbilt University as an Adjunct Associate Professor of Biomedical Informatics. He is also adjunct faculty in the Department of Genetics and Department of Epidemiology at the University of Alabama-Birmingham and serves as an ad hoc reviewer for more than a dozen scientific journals.

The Layman Group

The Layman Group is a nonprofit Arts organization dedicated to the incubation and support of artists’ careers, promoting thought provoking artistic dialogue, dynamic arts education, and the development of both classical and novel productions and projects. Their mission is to champion the emergence of the Arts and creativity as essential ingredients of life. The Layman Group’s vision: Art is constantly running away from us. We will never catch up to it; we will never perfect it. In fact, we have no desire to. The more we work in Art, the more we have to learn about it. This alone keeps us happy and inspired.

Alex MacDonald

Alex MacDonald is motivated by a future where space travel is within the reach of everyone on the planet. A research faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University, Alex works as the first-ever research economist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Northern California. At NASA, Alex has served as economic adviser on private and commercial space endeavors, including the development of the Commercial Reusable Suborbital Research Program. He has presented at the United Nations on asteroid impact mitigation and has been involved in a number of spacecraft projects, including small satellite designs for coral reef health mapping, earthquake early-detection, micro-satellite communication constellations and asteroid rendezvous. Alex is also a Clarendon Scholar at the University of Oxford, Balliol College, where he is a doctoral candidate for his dissertation, The Remote Space Age: An Economic History of Space Exploration from Galileo to Gagarin

Christian Hamrick

Christian Hamrick will share his perspective on innovation by creating a piece of art live during TEDxHuntsville. To Christian, art is something--a metaphor, a thought, a feeling, a sense--art is everything. As one defines the word "art" they become limitless--It is in these moments of creation that we control reality. The beholder will gain an intimate understanding through sensory observation and conscious definition of the work--the understanding/connection between object and being creates unique channels of perspective, revealing our individual nature, our humanity.

Organizing team


Madison, AL, United States


Cambridge, MA, United States
  • Everett Alexander
  • Amy Robinson