x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Breaking the Rules

This event occurred on
October 9, 2015
2:00pm - 8:00pm CEST
(UTC +2hrs)
meyrin, Genève (fr)

The third edition of TEDxCERN took place on 9 October 2015 with the theme 'Breaking the rules' on the CMS Experiment of the Large Hadron Collider. The event focused on innovations that could transform our lives. There were a total of 600 people live and more than than 4000 online plus 23 viewing parties all over the world. Additionally to the talks, this year we found gold with TED Ed team (link is external) and Artist Francois Moncarey made CMS even more beautiful with an mapping projection called Turbulence (link is external). Videos of the talks will soon be available.

CMS Experiment at the Large Hadron Collider
CH-1211 Geneva 23
meyrin, Genève (fr), 1211
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Aleksandra Lobnik

Founder of the Centre for Sensor Technology at University of Maribor, Aleksandra Lobnik also co-founded Institute of Sensors and Environmental Protection, Ltd in Slovenia. Her research is focused on the development of new optical sensors for various applications such as food quality, security and the environment. She takes sensing technology further and asks if sensors could help us better understand ourselves and the world we live in.

Edda Gschwendtner

Edda Gschwendtner, physicist, is the project leader of CERN’s plasma wakefield acceleration experiment, AWAKE. The need for ever-increasing particle energies to probe the fundamental building blocks of nature have led to machines of gigantic sizes. AWAKE pursues a novel technology that produces accelerating fields 1000 times higher than those achieved with conventional techniques. This will allow us to push the energy frontier of future accelerators while significantly decreasing the size of the machines themselves.

Gihan Kamel

Gihan Kamel is a lecturer at the Physics Department in the Faculty of Science at Helwan University, Egypt, and an Infrared Microspectroscopy Beamline Scientist at SESAME, where she is also part of the User’s Executive Committee. SESAME (Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East) is an association that illuminates the Middle East through scientific excellence and collaboration turning peace into reality.

Imogen Heap

A true digital diva, Imogen Heap’s innovative methods of creating music leap beyond the box. Whether it be producing music or collaborating with fans, she pushes her own boundaries and that of the music industry. She invented the Mi.Mu gloves and developed them with her team to wirelessly sculpt sound through gesture, manipulating voice and instruments live. Her latest project, Mycelia, is making waves with its ‘fair trade for music’ model.

Jeff Frost

Jeff Frost combines painting, photography, music and sound design into experimental short films created from thousands of photographs. His work is being featured as a major component of U2’s Innocence+Experience tour. Frost visited the facilities at CERN to create vast reverse light paintings for U2’s tour and his own film, Circuit Board Species. From the collected content, he has also made an art piece to be screened exclusively at TEDxCERN.

Linda Liukas

Linda Liukas is a programmer, storyteller and illustrator. Her children's book, Hello Ruby, raised a total of $380,000 on Kickstarter. She founded Rails Girls, which has organized workshops in over 230 cities, teaching the basics of programming to more than 10,000 women. Linda worked at Codeacademy, which she left to write stories that teach children about software and programming. She won the 2013 Ruby Hero prize and was named the Digital Champion of Finland by the EU Commissioner for Digital Agenda.

Madeline Lancaster

Madeline Lancaster is a developmental, stem cell and neuro biologist at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology. She leads the research group studying human brain evolution in cerebral organoids, which use stem cells to generate brain tissue clumps in a dish. These "mini brains" are the first 3D models of a developing human brain and could help uncover the secrets of what makes our brain unique.

Michael Bodekaer

Michael Bodekaer is the founder of Labster which teaches life sciences through gamified education in immersive 3D virtual worlds and laboratories. Proven to significantly enhance student’s motivation, these pioneering teaching tools that are bringing a revolution to world ­class learning. He also founded Learn Technologies, a Swiss company focused on immersive Virtual Reality for learning and training simulations.

Neil Gershenfeld

Neil Gershenfeld is the director of MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms, a lab that breaks down boundaries between digital and physical worlds, from creating molecular quantum computers to virtuosic musical instruments. He started Fab Lab, a global network that allows people access to prototype tools for personal fabrication. He also directs Fab Academy, an associated programme for distributed research and education in digital fabrication.

Rachel Armstrong

Rachel Armstrong, professor of Experimental Architecture at Newcastle University, innovates and designs sustainable solutions for the built environment using advanced new technologies such as synthetic biology and smart chemistry. Rachel Armstrong’s new science thesis and book, Vibrant Architecture (Matter as CoDesigner of Living Structures), explores prospects for transformations of matter into habitable structures, which prompts a re-evaluation of how we think about sustainability in our homes and cities.

S. Matthew Liao

S. Matthew Liao is the Director of the Bioethics Program at New York University. He is the editor-­in-chief of the Journal of Moral Philosophy, a peer­-reviewed international journal of moral, political and legal philosophy and has written on philosophy, morality, bioethics and human rights. Liao presents challenging ideas such as whether we should use drugs and technology to erase traumatic memories and employ human engineering as a possible, partial solution to climate change.

Sean Follmer

Sean Follmer, assistant professor at Stanford University's Mechanical Engineering Design Group, researches how we can apply shape­-changing and deformable interfaces to interact with each other when using devices. He creates tangible interfaces whose form adapts to the functions and ways users want to interact. He is also trying to integrate physical objects into the digital design process seamlessly and to look into new interfaces for rapid prototyping that could increase possibilities for users.

Tim Dixon

Tim Dixon is the Managing Director of Purpose Europe, based in London. Purpose is a public benefit corporation that is a home for building 21st century movements and creating ventures, tools and technology that use the power of participation to change the world. More than 50 million people around the world have been mobilised to action through movements that Purpose and its team have founded or co-founded. Tim is the co-­founder of The Syria Campaign, former Australian Prime Ministers’ chief speechwriter and economic adviser, former lawyer, and co-­author of a leading economics textbook in Australia. Tim brings his multidisciplinary background to projects for positive social change.

Vikki Stone

Vikki Stone is a British comedian and composer, best known for her comedy songs. She has appeared in many TV and radio shows as an actress and comedian, and has written original music for many TV shows. Vikki's most recent commission is a comedy choral piece for 750 singers that will receive its premiere at the Royal Albert Hall in 2016. Earlier this year, Vikki was made Associate of The Royal Academy of Music for her work in music and comedy.

Organizing team


Geneva, Switzerland