x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Catalyst

This event occurred on
March 26, 2016
2:00pm - 5:00pm EDT
(UTC -4hrs)
Princeton, New Jersey
United States

The theme of this year's TEDxPrincetonU is Catalyst. Our conference will feature catalysts—people and ideas aggressively changing their respective fields. From mindfulness to artificial organs, catalytic reactions permeate our lives. Join us, as we explore how catalysts are actively shaping our future.

McCormick Hall
Princeton University Art Museum
Princeton, New Jersey, 08544
United States
Event type:
University (What is this?)
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Andrew Appel

Eugene Higgins Professor of Computer Science
Andrew Appel ’81, is Eugene Higgins Professor of Computer Science at Princeton University, where he has been on the faculty since 1986. He served as Department Chair from 2009-2015. His research is in software verification, computer security, programming languages and compilers, and technology policy. He received his A.B. summa cum laude in physics from Princeton in 1981, and his PhD in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University in 1985. He has been Editor in Chief of ACM Transactions on Programming Languages and Systems and is a Fellow of the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery). He has worked on fast N-body algorithms (1980s), Standard ML of New Jersey (1990s), Foundational Proof-Carrying Code (2000s), and the Verified Software Toolchain (2010s).

Bob Surace

Charles W. Caldwell Jr. '25 Head Coach of Football at Princeton University
Bob Surace '90, a man who both won an Ivy League title as an All-Ivy center and met his future wife while at Princeton, returned to his beloved alma mater on Dec. 23, 2009 with the goal of restoring the football program to its past glory. Within four seasons, he achieved that mark in record-breaking fashion, and he has kept the Tigers as championship contenders ever since. Surace has placed 52 players on the last four All-Ivy League teams. A former NFL assistant coach at Cincinnati, Surace has also seen two top defensive linemen — Mike Catapano and Caraun Reid — get selected in the NFL Draft over the last four years. Surace guided Princeton to a historic 2013 Ivy League championship; the Tigers set Ivy League records in both total offense and scoring offense, and placed a league-best 17 players on the All-Ivy League team.

Brooks Powell

Thrive+ Founder and Religion Major at Princeton
Brooks Powell ’17, is a junior in Princeton's Religion Department. He focuses primarily on ethics and ethical theory and is currently writing an independent paper on the Christian ethics of alcohol. During a neuroscience class his sophomore year, Brooks came across recent literature in the Journal of Neuroscience revealing properties of a naturally occurring organic compound that mitigates chemical withdrawal and tolerance to alcohol. Working with a pharmaceutical company to turn this into a consumer product, Brooks started a company called Thrive+. Since launching his junior fall, Thrive+ has been covered by The Huffington Post, Inc. Magazine, The Trenton Times, and more. Thrive+’s customers include currently competing US Olympic gold medalists, professional baseball players, and Oxford Ph.D. students. Being right in the middle of alcohol’s $200+ billion dollar industry, Brooks thinks a lot about the ethics surrounding humankind’s interaction with alcohol.

Hyeseung Marriage-Song

Oil Painter and Author
Hyeseung Marriage-Song ’01, was born in Seoul, Korea, and grew up in Houston, Texas. She attended Princeton, Harvard and the Water Street Atelier, now the Grand Central Atelier, in New York City. Marriage-Song is a realist oil painter and is completing her first book, a collection of stories about her family, entitled Head Study. She lives and works in Brooklyn.

Kate Gardner

English Major and Princeton Student
Kate Gardner ’16, is passionate about helping people tell their stories and spearheading media projects that communicate beauty, truth, and human connection. She hails from Washington D.C. and is currently finishing her senior year at Princeton as an English major, writing her senior thesis on virtual reality storytelling. From her early beginnings of writing fantasy short stories inspired by narrative video games, Kate has cultivated a lifelong love of technology, storytelling, and combining the two. For her thesis, she has travelled to San Francisco, Seattle, and the Sundance Film Festival to research virtual reality hardware, meet with developers, and immerse herself in the emerging genre of narrative experiences. Coming from a creative writing and theater background, she seeks to impart vision and aspiration to the next generation of writers, storytellers, and creatives.

Michael Hecht

Professor of Chemistry
Michael Hecht grew up in Midtown Manhattan. He received a BA in Chemistry from Cornell and a Ph.D. in Biology from MIT. He then did post-doctoral research in Biochemistry at Duke Medical School. In 1990, Hecht joined the faculty at Princeton, where is a Professor of Chemistry and holds an affiliated appointment in Molecular Biology. He teaches courses ranging from Introductory Chemistry to graduate seminars on Protein Folding and Design. In addition to teaching and research, Prof. Hecht is the Head of Forbes College, one of the six undergraduate colleges at Princeton University. When not in Frick Lab or Forbes College, he spends his time traveling, skiing, inline skating, bicycling, and hiking.

Nusrat Ahmed

Anthropology Major and Princeton Student
Nusrat Ahmed ‘17, is a junior from the Bronx, NY majoring in Anthropology. She is passionate about children's rights, women empowerment, and entrepreneurial development. In the past, she has interned for Lawyers for Children, was a counselor for the 2015 Women in STEAM education camp in Rwanda, and lead two service projects in Bangladesh, an arts program for street children and the building of a sewing center which provides training and employment to over 400 mothers. This summer she will be interning with Goldman Sachs in Singapore, volunteering with JAAGO, a non-profit in Bangladesh that aims to eradicate poverty through free education, creating a teaching module based on mindfulness and personal development, and working with BetterStories, a social impact business dedicated to propelling Bangladesh and its people forward through the power of service entrepreneurship. She will also be researching the experiential side of Sufism in Morocco for her senior thesis.

Organizing team


Princeton, NJ, United States
  • Avigail Gilad
  • Natalya Rahman