Willie Smits How to restore a rainforest
By piecing together a complex ecological puzzle, biologist Willie Smits believes he has found a way to re-grow clearcut rainforest in Borneo, saving local orangutans — and creating a thrilling blueprint for restoring fragile ecosystems. NOTE: The core content of this talk has been challenged on a number of grounds. For details, and Willie Smits' response, please see "A challenge to Willie Smits' talk" below.
Jennifer Pahlka Coding a better government
Can government be run like the Internet, permissionless and open? Coder and activist Jennifer Pahlka believes it can — and that apps, built quickly and cheaply, are a powerful new way to connect citizens to their governments — and their neighbors.
Bonnie Bassler How bacteria "talk"
Bonnie Bassler discovered that bacteria "talk" to each other, using a chemical language that lets them coordinate defense and mount attacks. The find has stunning implications for medicine, industry — and our understanding of ourselves.
Benjamin Zander The transformative power of classical music
Benjamin Zander has two infectious passions: classical music, and helping us all realize our untapped love for it — and by extension, our untapped love for all new possibilities, new experiences, new connections.
Kary Mullis A next-gen cure for killer infections
Drug-resistant bacteria kills, even in top hospitals. But now tough infections like staph and anthrax may be in for a surprise. Nobel-winning chemist Kary Mullis, who watched a friend die when powerful antibiotics failed, unveils a radical new cure that shows extraordinary promise. NOTE: This talk was given in 2009, and this field of science has developed quickly since then. Read "Criticisms & updates" below for more details.
Sir Ken Robinson Do schools kill creativity?
Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.
Donald Sadoway The missing link to renewable energy
What's the key to using alternative energy, like solar and wind? Storage — so we can have power on tap even when the sun's not out and the wind's not blowing. In this accessible, inspiring talk, Donald Sadoway takes to the blackboard to show us the future of large-scale batteries that store renewable energy. As he says: "We need to think about the problem differently. We need to think big. We need to think cheap."
Hans Rosling The best stats you've ever seen
You've never seen data presented like this. With the drama and urgency of a sportscaster, statistics guru Hans Rosling debunks myths about the so-called "developing world."
Jeff Han The radical promise of the multi-touch interface
Jeff Han shows off a cheap, scalable multi-touch and pressure-sensitive computer screen interface that may spell the end of point-and-click.