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Backed by stunning illustrations, David Christian narrates a complete history of the universe, from the Big Bang to the Internet, in a riveting 18 minutes. This is "Big History": an enlightening, wide-angle look at complexity, life and humanity, set against our slim share of the cosmic timeline.
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Conception to birth -- visualized
Image-maker Alexander Tsiaras shares a powerful medical visualization, showing human development from conception to birth and beyond. (Some graphic images.)
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Optical illusions show how we see
Beau Lotto's color games puzzle your vision, but they also spotlight what you can't normally see: how your brain works. This fun, first-hand look at your own versatile sense of sight reveals how evolution tints your perception of what's really out there.
Stats that reshape your worldview
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."
How economic inequality harms societies
We feel instinctively that societies with huge income gaps are somehow going wrong. Richard Wilkinson charts the hard data on economic inequality, and shows what gets worse when rich and poor are too far apart: real effects on health, lifespan, even such basic values as trust.
Animations of unseeable biology
We have no ways to directly observe molecules and what they do -- Drew Berry wants to change that. At TEDxSydney he shows his scientifically accurate (and entertaining!) animations that help researchers see unseeable processes within our own cells.
Blaise Aguera y Arcas demos Photosynth
Blaise Aguera y Arcas leads a dazzling demo of Photosynth, software that could transform the way we look at digital images. Using still photos culled from the Web, Photosynth builds breathtaking dreamscapes and lets us navigate them.
John Underkoffler points to the future of UI
Minority Report science adviser and inventor John Underkoffler demos g-speak -- the real-life version of the film's eye-popping, tai chi-meets-cyberspace computer interface. Is this how tomorrow's computers will be controlled?
The math behind basketball's wildest moves
Basketball is a fast-moving game of improvisation, contact and, ahem, spatio-temporal pattern recognition. Rajiv Maheswaran and his colleagues are analyzing the movements behind the key plays of the game, to help coaches and players combine intuition with new data. Bonus: What they're learning could help us understand how humans move everywhere.
The beauty of data visualization
David McCandless turns complex data sets (like worldwide military spending, media buzz, Facebook status updates) into beautiful, simple diagrams that tease out unseen patterns and connections. Good design, he suggests, is the best way to navigate information glut -- and it may just change the way we see the world.
New insights on poverty
Researcher Hans Rosling uses his cool data tools to show how countries are pulling themselves out of poverty. He demos Dollar Street, comparing households of varying income levels worldwide. Then he does something really amazing.
Asia's rise -- how and when
Hans Rosling was a young guest student in India when he first realized that Asia had all the capacities to reclaim its place as the world's dominant economic force. At TEDIndia, he graphs global economic growth since 1858 and predicts the exact date that India and China will outstrip the US.
What's so sexy about math?
Hidden truths permeate our world; they're inaccessible to our senses, but math allows us to go beyond our intuition to uncover their mysteries. In this survey of mathematical breakthroughs, Fields Medal winner Cédric Villani speaks to the thrill of discovery and details the sometimes perplexing life of a mathematician. "Beautiful mathematical explanations are not only
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Maps that show us who we are (not just where we are)
What does the world look like when you map it using data? Social geographer Danny Dorling invites us to see the world anew, with his captivating and insightful maps that show Earth as it truly is — a connected, ever-changing and fascinating place in which we all belong. You'll never look at a map the same way again.
What we learned from 5 million books
Have you played with Google Labs' Ngram Viewer? It's an addicting tool that lets you search for words and ideas in a database of 5 million books from across centuries. Erez Lieberman Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel show us how it works, and a few of the surprising things we can learn from 500 billion words.
Visualizing the wonder of a living cell
Medical animator David Bolinsky presents 3 minutes of stunning animation that show the bustling life inside a cell.
Making sound visible through cymatics
Evan Grant demonstrates the science and art of cymatics, a process for making soundwaves visible. Useful for analyzing complex sounds (like dolphin calls), it also makes complex and beautiful designs.
New facts and stunning data visuals
Hans Rosling unveils new data visuals that untangle the complex risk factors of one of the world's deadliest (and most misunderstood) diseases: HIV. He argues that preventing transmissions -- not drug treatments -- is the key to ending the epidemic.
The beauty of human skin in every color
Angélica Dass's photography challenges how we think about skin color and ethnic identity. In this personal talk, hear about the inspiration behind her portrait project, Humanæ, and her pursuit to document humanity's true colors rather than the untrue white, red, black and yellow associated with race.
Artfully visualizing our humanity
Artist Aaron Koblin takes vast amounts of data -- and at times vast numbers of people -- and weaves them into stunning visualizations. From elegant lines tracing airline flights to landscapes of cell phone data, from a Johnny Cash video assembled from crowd-sourced drawings to the "Wilderness Downtown" video that customizes for the user, his works brilliantly explore
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A taboo-free way to talk about periods
It's true: talking about menstruation makes many people uncomfortable. And that taboo has consequences: in India, three out of every 10 girls don't even know what menstruation is at the time of their first period, and restrictive customs related to periods inflict psychological damage on young girls. Growing up with this taboo herself, Aditi Gupta knew she wanted to
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Tom Wujec on 3 ways the brain creates meaning
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?
Taking imagination seriously
Janet Echelman found her true voice as an artist when her paints went missing -- which forced her to look to an unorthodox new art material. Now she makes billowing, flowing, building-sized sculpture with a surprisingly geeky edge. A transporting 10 minutes of pure creativity.
This virtual lab will revolutionize science class
Virtual reality is no longer part of some distant future, and it's not just for gaming and entertainment anymore. Michael Bodekaer wants to use it to make quality education more accessible. In this refreshing talk, he demos an idea that could revolutionize the way we teach science in schools.
Kwabena Boahen on a computer that works like the brain
Researcher Kwabena Boahen is looking for ways to mimic the brain's supercomputing powers in silicon -- because the messy, redundant processes inside our heads actually make for a small, light, superfast computer.
Paul Debevec animates a photo-real digital face
Computer graphics trailblazer Paul Debevec explains the scene-stealing technology behind Digital Emily, a digitally constructed human face so realistic it stands up to multiple takes. (Filmed at TEDxUSC.)
Meet the inventor of the electronic spreadsheet
Dan Bricklin changed the world forever when he codeveloped VisiCalc, the first electronic spreadsheet and grandfather of programs you probably use every day like Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets. Join the software engineer and computing legend as he explores the tangled web of first jobs, daydreams and homework problems that led to his transformational invention.
The beautiful math of coral
Margaret Wertheim leads a project to re-create the creatures of the coral reefs using a crochet technique invented by a mathematician -- celebrating the amazements of the reef, and deep-diving into the hyperbolic geometry underlying coral creation.
A sci-fi vision of love from a 318-year-old hologram
Science fiction writer Monica Byrne imagines rich worlds populated with characters who defy our racial, social and gender stereotypes. In this performance, Byrne appears as a hologram named Pilar, transmitting a story of love and loss back to us from a near future when humans have colonized the universe. "It's always funny what you think the future is going to be like
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Social maps that reveal a city's intersections — and separations
Every city has its neighborhoods, cliques and clubs, the hidden lines that join and divide people in the same town. What can we learn about cities by looking at what people share online? Starting with his own home town of Baltimore, Dave Troy has been visualizing what the tweets of city dwellers reveal about who lives there, who they talk to — and who they don’t.
Art made of storms
Artist Nathalie Miebach takes weather data from massive storms and turns it into complex sculptures that embody the forces of nature and time. These sculptures then become musical scores for a string quartet to play.
The year open data went worldwide
At TED2009, Tim Berners-Lee called for "raw data now" -- for governments, scientists and institutions to make their data openly available on the web. At TED University in 2010, he shows a few of the interesting results when the data gets linked up.
Stunning data visualization in the AlloSphere
JoAnn Kuchera-Morin demos the AlloSphere, a new way to see, hear and interpret scientific data. Dive into the brain, feel electron spin, hear the music of the elements ... and detect previously unseen patterns that could lead to new discoveries.
Inside the mind of a master procrastinator
Tim Urban knows that procrastination doesn't make sense, but he's never been able to shake his habit of waiting until the last minute to get things done. In this hilarious and insightful talk, Urban takes us on a journey through YouTube binges, Wikipedia rabbit holes and bouts of staring out the window — and encourages us to think harder about what we're really
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1000 TEDTalks, 6 words
Sebastian Wernicke thinks every TEDTalk can be summarized in six words. At TEDxZurich, he shows how to do just that -- and less.
Art can heal PTSD's invisible wounds
Trauma silences its victims, says creative arts therapist Melissa Walker, but art can help those suffering from the psychological wounds of war begin to open up and heal. In this inspiring talk, Walker describes how mask-making, in particular, allows afflicted servicemen and women reveal what haunts them — and, finally, start to let it go.
New ways to see music (with color! and fire!)
Designer Jared Ficklin creates wild visualizations that let us see music, using color and even fire (a first for the TED stage) to analyze how sound makes us feel. He takes a brief digression to analyze the sound of a skatepark -- and how audio can clue us in to developing creativity.
Visualizing the medical data explosion
Today medical scans produce thousands of images and terabytes of data for a single patient in mere seconds, but how do doctors parse this information and determine what's useful? At TEDxGöteborg, scientific visualization expert Anders Ynnerman shows us sophisticated new tools -- like virtual autopsies -- for analyzing this myriad data, and a glimpse at some sci-fi-
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Moshe Safdie on building uniqueness
Looking back over his long career, architect Moshe Safdie delves into four of his design projects and explains how he labored to make each one truly unique for its site and its users.
Eric Sanderson pictures New York -- before the City
400 years after Hudson found New York harbor, Eric Sanderson shares how he made a 3D map of Mannahatta's fascinating pre-city ecology of hills, rivers, wildlife -- accurate down to the block -- when Times Square was a wetland and you couldn't get delivery.
Art of substance and absence
Alwar Balasubramaniam's sculpture plays with time, shape, shadow, perspective: four tricky sensations that can reveal -- or conceal -- what's really out there. At TEDIndia, the artist shows slides of his extraordinary installations.
This is Saturn
Planetary scientist Carolyn Porco shows images from the Cassini voyage to Saturn, focusing on its largest moon, Titan, and on frozen Enceladus, which seems to shoot jets of ice.
Jakob Trollback rethinks the music video
What would a music video look like if it were directed by the music, purely as an expression of a great song, rather than driven by a filmmaker's concept? Designer Jakob Trollback shares the results of his experiment in the form.
Math is the hidden secret to understanding the world
Unlock the mysteries and inner workings of the world through one of the most imaginative art forms ever — mathematics — with Roger Antonsen, as he explains how a slight change in perspective can reveal patterns, numbers and formulas as the gateways to empathy and understanding.
How computers are learning to be creative
We're on the edge of a new frontier in art and creativity — and it's not human. Blaise Agüera y Arcas, principal scientist at Google, works with deep neural networks for machine perception and distributed learning. In this captivating demo, he shows how neural nets trained to recognize images can be run in reverse, to generate them. The results: spectacular,
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Drawings that show the beauty and fragility of Earth
Zaria Forman's large-scale compositions of melting glaciers, icebergs floating in glassy water and waves cresting with foam explore moments of transition, turbulence and tranquility. Join her as she discusses the meditative process of artistic creation and the motivation behind her work. "My drawings celebrate the beauty of what we all stand to lose," she says. "I
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3 ways to spot a bad statistic
Sometimes it's hard to know what statistics are worthy of trust. But we shouldn't count out stats altogether ... instead, we should learn to look behind them. In this delightful, hilarious talk, data journalist Mona Chalabi shares handy tips to help question, interpret and truly understand what the numbers are saying.
Every piece of art you've ever wanted to see — up close and searchable
What does a cultural Big Bang look like? For Amit Sood, director of Google's Cultural Institute and Art Project, it's an online platform where anyone can explore the world's greatest collections of art and artifacts in vivid, lifelike detail. Join Sood and Google artist in residence Cyril Diagne in a mind-bending demo of experiments from the Cultural Institute and
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How we can find ourselves in data
Giorgia Lupi uses data to tell human stories, adding nuance to numbers. In this charming talk, she shares how we can bring personality to data, visualizing even the mundane details of our daily lives and transforming the abstract and uncountable into something that can be seen, felt and directly reconnected to our lives.
How music led to the invention of modern computers
Necessity is the mother of invention, right? Well, not always. Steven Johnson shows us how some of the most transformative ideas and technologies, like the computer, didn't emerge out of necessity at all but instead from the strange delight of play. Share this captivating, illustrated exploration of the history of invention. Turns out, you'll find the future wherever
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