TEDxWarwick 2010

After a long wait, I got to attend my first ever TED event and what an event to start my TED experience. TEDxWarwick 2010 proved to be a great experience and was definitely worth the TED tag. In 2009, TEDxWarwick was the first TEDx conference organised in the whole of Europe and now in it’s second year, although joined by a host of other TEDx, it has remained to be one of the biggest TEDx in Europe. (TEDx stands for an independently organised TED event. You can know more about it here.)

TEDx Warwick 2010

It was a great line up of speakers, the morning session had Angela Hobbs, Kathleen Burk, Brenda King, Steve Martin Simon Berry and Rachel Armstrong, and the afternoon session had Michael Mallows, Andrew Thorp, Herve This, Sir Roger Penros, Alex Wright and Noam Chomsky. I  hope that some of the videos from this event make it to the TED website. They all followed the classic rules of TED, 18 mins to talk and 10 mins for Q & A. Here’s a brief description of each speaker.

Angela Hobbs: Professor of Public Understand of Philosophy spoke about Censorship in Art and argued about whether art should be justified by its benefits to the society.

Kathleen Burk: A historian at UCL, an american living in England spoke about the fall of the Empire and the rise of USA as a super power.

Brenda King: Gave an inspirational story of how black kids in the UK were making the wrong decisions which lead to lower employability. She took up the task of making them aware of this and changed lives. She has been honoured with an MBE for her efforts. She motivated me for more than those reasons. She started watching TED a few years back and is now speaking at one of the TED events.

Steve Martin: Spoke on the science of persuasion and the power of YES. How to make change happen? People don’t change unless circumstances change, he says. His Q & A session was quite impressive.

Simon Berry: Lively speaker. I had heard him speak at Exeter before when he was invited by the Oxford Hub. He put forth the cool idea of ColaLife. It was quite predictable that he would get asked the same questions as those that were asked in Exeter. It indeed happened so, showing that there are very obvious flaws in his plans.

Rachel Armstrong: Spoke on living architecture and development of new materials which will respond to stimuli. She presented her research on protocells and spoke of an oil in water system as though it had life. ‘Life’ because physics could not quite explain the phenomenon of what happened between these protocells.

Micahel Mallows: A presentation that started of very well but lost interest by the end. He said one should be CRAFTY (Curious, Responsive, Focused, Thoughtful and say YES!). Two of his quotes that I loved.

Andrew Thorpe: A man who rose from complete bankruptcy to becoming a successful entrepreneur in 2 years spoke of the different self-help books that influenced him. Authors he mentioned were Malcolm Gladwell (Tipping Point), Tony Robbins (Where’s your focus?), Seth Godin (Purple Cow & Tribe) and Stephen Covey. He said when in trouble surround yourself with the right people to rise out of it.

Herve This: The chemist spoke of his love for cooking and called it Molecular Gastronomy. He showed the use of simple principles of physics could improve cooking so much. For example, if you would like to have the egg yolk right in the middle in a boiled egg then while boiling keep rolling the egg and you will be able to achieve it. He also showed funky NMRs of carrot and it’s individual ingredients. He proceed to make synthetic tasty food by mixing the right ingredients in the right proportion and showed a programmable machine that could do it for future generations. His talk was the funniest (loved his french accent) and the most enthralling.

Sir Roger Penrose: This man went old school and used overhead projectors for his slides and  spoke of the universe as if it was his backyard. He tried to explain the concept of time and give an update on the latest theories about the universe. It was very hard to understand but enjoyable nevertheless to see a man of his stature.

Alex Wright gave a brief history of the information age. His research was marvelous, he spoke through a video conference from New York and the talk had some technical glitches. It was a shame that he had to rush through his talk because of the shortage in time and he actually skipped his part on the modern era of the information age. :(

Noam Chomsky who spoke through a video recorded earlier gave his views on why America will remain to be the superpower and how much other countries (BRIC) need to catch up with the USA before they can show their might.

As you may have noticed by now, I tried to live tweet this event but due to lack of the right infrastructure (poor internet connectivity) I had to limit myself to only a few tweets. Nevertheless, it was an interesting experience. I am so looking forward to TEDx Warwick 2011. Keep it up guys!

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About Akshat Rathi

Science and Technology Journalist
This entry was posted in Education. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to TEDxWarwick 2010

  1. rganorkar says:

    its nice to see this post. good to read abt the speakers and a short idea abt their talks. maybe u can do another post on just one talk that u liked best or that was appreciated by most of the audience members?

  2. mandy says:

    nice man…u gotta attend TED event..

  3. Prashant says:

    nice post…..

  4. akshatrathi294 says:

    @rganorkar: Thanks. I’ll try to do that. Don’t know if I will be able to get all the material though. Alex Wright’s talk was quite interesting. I’ll try and get in touch with him. Cheers!

    @mandy: You should totally find a TEDx close to you and go for it.

    @Prashant: Thanks man. Hope you are doing well.

  5. Simon Berry says:

    Thanks for mentioning ColaLife. But . . . . flaws in my plans?! I think it’s just that people have similar questions when confronted with the ColaLife idea for the first time. I think I had answers for all of the questions. Some of the most frequently asked questions (and answers) are here:
    http://www.colalife.org/about/faqs/
    Regards and thanks
    Simon

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  9. akshatrathi,
    your comments about my presentation are perfectly justified, which I deeply regret!
    Indeed, you are much kinder than I have been about my efforts.

    That said, every other presentation was informative, erudite, fascinating, witty and truly inspiring, and the whole event was thoroughly enjoyable, so I’m very glad that I attended.

    Go well.
    Michael

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