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Before life existed on Earth, there was just matter, inorganic dead "stuff." How improbable is it that life arose? And -- could it use a different type of chemistry? Using an elegant definition of life (anything that can evolve), chemist Lee Cronin is exploring this question by attempting to create a fully inorganic cell using a "Lego kit" of in...
People often credit their ideas to individual "Eureka!" moments. But Steven Johnson shows how history tells a different story. His fascinating tour takes us from the "liquid networks" of London's coffee houses to Charles Darwin's long, slow hunch to today's high-velocity web.
How does the metaphorical lightbulb go off? Is it a flash of genius? The power of crowds? These heady talks explore the nature of ideas themselves: Where they come from, how they evolve, and how each of us can nurture them.
Tom Wujec presents some surprisingly deep research into the "marshmallow problem" -- a simple team-building exercise that involves dry spaghetti, one yard of tape and a marshmallow. Who can build the tallest tower with these ingredients? And why does a surprising group always beat the average?
When fashion model Geena Rocero first saw a photo of herself in a bikini, "I thought ... you have arrived!" As she reveals, that's because she was born with the gender assignment "boy." In this moving talk, Rocero tells the story of becoming who she always knew she was.
Date updated: May 15, 2018
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Tom Shannon shows off his gravity-defying, otherworldly sculpture -- made of simple, earthly materials -- that floats and spins like planets on magnets and suspension wire. It's science-inspired art at its most heavenly.
How smart can our machines make us? Tom Gruber, co-creator of Siri, wants to make "humanistic AI" that augments and collaborates with us instead of competing with (or replacing) us. He shares his vision for a future where AI helps us achieve superhuman performance in perception, creativity and cognitive function -- from turbocharging our design ...
"Rock-star physicist" Brian Cox talks about his work on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Discussing the biggest of big science in an engaging, accessible way, Cox brings us along on a tour of the massive project.
We're bringing gameplay into more aspects of our lives, spending countless hours -- and real money -- exploring virtual worlds for imaginary treasures. Why? As Tom Chatfield shows, games are perfectly tuned to dole out rewards that engage the brain and keep us questing for more.
If you ever struggle to make decisions, here's a talk for you. Cognitive scientist Tom Griffiths shows how we can apply the logic of computers to untangle tricky human problems, sharing three practical strategies for making better decisions -- on everything from finding a home to choosing which restaurant to go to tonight.
Rather than demo another new technology, Tom Wujec reaches back to one of our earliest but most ingenious devices -- the astrolabe. With thousands of uses, from telling time to mapping the night sky, this old tech reminds us that the ancient can be as brilliant as the brand-new.
How do you build a product people really want? Allow consumers to be a part of the process. "Empathy for what your customers want is probably the biggest leading indicator of business success," says designer Tom Hulme. In this short talk, Hulme lays out three insightful examples of the intersection of design and user experience, where people hav...
Making toast doesn’t sound very complicated -- until someone asks you to draw the process, step by step. Tom Wujec loves asking people and teams to draw how they make toast, because the process reveals unexpected truths about how we can solve our biggest, most complicated problems at work. Learn how to run this exercise yourself, and hear Wujec’...
In this short talk from TED U 2009, Brian Cox shares what's new with the CERN supercollider. He covers the repairs now underway and what the future holds for the largest science experiment ever attempted.
Information designer Tom Wujec talks through three areas of the brain that help us understand words, images, feelings, connections. In this short talk from TEDU, he asks: How can we best engage our brains to help us better understand big ideas?
In tough economic times, our exploratory science programs -- from space probes to the LHC -- are first to suffer budget cuts. Brian Cox explains how curiosity-driven science pays for itself, powering innovation and a profound appreciation of our existence.
Satirist Tom Rielly delivers a wicked parody of the 2006 TED conference, taking down the $100 laptop, the plight of the polar bear, and people who mention, one too many times, that they work at Harvard. Watch for a special moment between Tom and Al Gore.
Nagin Cox is a first-generation Martian. As a spacecraft engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Cox works on the team that manages the United States' rovers on Mars. But working a 9-to-5 on another planet -- whose day is 40 minutes longer than Earth's -- has particular, often comical challenges.
Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge craze this summer? Meet the mom who started it all. When Nancy Frates's son Pete hurt his wrist in a baseball game, he got an unexpected diagnosis: it wasn’t a broken bone, it was ALS, and there is no cure. In this inspiring talk, Nancy tells the story of what happened next.
Camels are so well adapted to the desert that it's hard to imagine them living anywhere else. But what if we have them pegged all wrong? What if those big humps, feet and eyes were evolved for a different climate and a different time? In this talk, join Radiolab's Latif Nasser as he tells the surprising story of how a very tiny, very strange fos...
Shimpei Takahashi always dreamed of designing toys. But when he started work as a toy developer, he found that the pressure to produce squashed his creativity. In this short, funny talk, Takahashi describes how he got his ideas flowing again, and shares a simple word game anyone can play to generate new ideas. (In Japanese with English subtitles.)
TED visits Tom Shannon in his Manhattan studio for an intimate look at his science-inspired art. An eye-opening, personal conversation with John Hockenberry reveals how nature's forces -- and the onset of Parkinson's tremors -- interact in his life and craft.