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The mind behind Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity ...
Entrepreneur Elon Musk is a man with many plans. The founder of PayPal, Tesla Motors and SpaceX sits down with TED curator Chris Anderson to share details about his visionary projects, which include a mass-marketed electric car, a solar energy leasing company and a fully reusable rocket.
Tom Shannon's anti-gravity sculpture
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.
George Smoot on the design of the universe
At Serious Play 2008, astrophysicist George Smoot shows stunning new images from deep-space surveys, and prods us to ponder how the cosmos -- with its giant webs of dark matter and mysterious gaping voids -- got built this way.
Life at 30,000 feet
Richard Branson talks to TED's Chris Anderson about the ups and the downs of his career, from his multibillionaire success to his multiple near-death experiences -- and reveals some of his (very surprising) motivations.
Why we need the explorers
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.
What we can learn from galaxies far, far away
In a fun, exciting talk, teenager Henry Lin looks at something unexpected in the sky: distant galaxy clusters. By studying the properties of the universe's largest pieces, says the Intel Science Fair award winner, we can learn quite a lot about scientific mysteries in our own world and galaxy.
The discovery that could rewrite physics
On March 17, 2014, a group of physicists announced a thrilling discovery: the “smoking gun” data for the idea of an inflationary universe, a clue to the Big Bang. For non-physicists, what does it mean? TED asked Allan Adams to briefly explain the results, in this improvised talk illustrated by Randall Munroe of xkcd.
Jill Tarter's call to join the SETI search
The SETI Institute's Jill Tarter makes her TED Prize wish: to accelerate our search for cosmic company. Using a growing array of radio telescopes, she and her team listen for patterns that may be a sign of intelligence elsewhere in the universe.
Peter Ward on Earth's mass extinctions
Asteroid strikes get all the coverage, but "Medea Hypothesis" author Peter Ward argues that most of Earth's mass extinctions were caused by lowly bacteria. The culprit, a poison called hydrogen sulfide, may have an interesting application in medicine.
Let's not use Mars as a backup planet
Stellar astronomer and TED Senior Fellow Lucianne Walkowicz works on NASA's Kepler mission, searching for places in the universe that could support life. So it's worth a listen when she asks us to think carefully about Mars. In this short talk, she suggests that we stop dreaming of Mars as a place that we'll eventually move to when we've messed up Earth, and to start
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Can technology solve our big problems?
In 1969, Buzz Aldrin’s historical step onto the moon leapt mankind into an era of technological possibility. The awesome power of technology was to be used to solve all of our big problems. Fast forward to present day, and what's happened? Are mobile apps all we have to show for ourselves? Journalist Jason Pontin looks closely at the challenges we face to using
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Peter Diamandis on Stephen Hawking in zero g
X Prize founder Peter Diamandis talks about how he helped Stephen Hawking fulfill his dream of going to space -- by flying together into the upper atmosphere and experiencing weightlessness at zero g.
Life in Biosphere 2
At TEDxUSC, Jane Poynter tells her story of living two years and 20 minutes in Biosphere 2 -- an experience that provoked her to explore how we might sustain life in the harshest of environments.
This new telescope might show us the beginning of the universe
When and how did the universe begin? A global group of astronomers wants to answer that question by peering as far back in time as a large new telescope will let us see. Wendy Freedman headed the creation of the Giant Magellan Telescope, under construction in South America; at TEDGlobal in Rio, she shares a bold vision of the discoveries about our universe that the
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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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George Dyson on Project Orion
Author George Dyson spins the story of Project Orion, a massive, nuclear-powered spacecraft that could have taken us to Saturn in five years. His insider’s perspective and a secret cache of documents bring an Atomic Age dream to life.
How to go to space, without having to go to space
"We will start inhabiting outer space," says Angelo Vermeulen, crew commander of a NASA-funded Mars simulation. "It might take 50 years or it might take 500 years, but it’s going to happen." In this charming talk, the TED Senior Fellow describes some of his official work to make sure humans are prepared for life in deep space ... and shares a fascinating art project
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Burt Rutan sees the future of space
In this passionate talk, legendary spacecraft designer Burt Rutan lambasts the US government-funded space program for stagnating and asks entrepreneurs to pick up where NASA has left off.
The caves and the moon
Bill Stone, a maverick cave explorer who has plumbed Earth’s deepest abysses, discusses his efforts to mine lunar ice for space fuel and to build an autonomous robot for studying Jupiter’s moon Europa.
The painter and the pendulum
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.
Why we need to go back to Mars
In this talk, planetary scientist Joel Levine shows some intriguing -- and puzzling -- new discoveries about Mars: craters full of ice, traces of ancient oceans, and compelling hints at the presence, sometime in the past, of life. He makes the case for going back to Mars to find out more. (Filmed at TEDxNASA.)
Archeology from space
In this short talk, TED Fellow Sarah Parcak introduces the field of "space archeology" -- using satellite images to search for clues to the lost sites of past civilizations.
How radio telescopes show us unseen galaxies
Our universe is strange, wonderful and vast, says astronomer Natasha Hurley-Walker. A spaceship can't carry you into its depths (yet) — but a radio telescope can. In this mesmerizing talk, Hurley-Walker shows how she probes the mysteries of the universe using special technology that reveals light spectrums we can't see.
The world is one big dataset. Now, how to photograph it ...
We're all familiar with satellite imagery, but what we might not know is that much of it is out of date. That's because satellites are big and expensive, so there aren't that many of them up in space. As he explains in this fascinating talk, Dan Berkenstock and his team came up with a different solution, designing a cheap, lightweight satellite with a radically new
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Charles Elachi on the Mars Rovers
At Serious Play 2008, Charles Elachi shares stories from NASA's legendary Jet Propulsion Lab -- including tales and video from the Mars Rover project.
Mae Jemison on teaching arts and sciences together
Mae Jemison is an astronaut, a doctor, an art collector, a dancer ... Telling stories from her own education and from her time in space, she calls on educators to teach both the arts and sciences, both intuition and logic, as one -- to create bold thinkers.
Peter Diamandis on our next giant leap
Peter Diamandis says it's our moral imperative to keep exploring space -- and he talks about how, with the X Prize and other incentives, we're going to do just that.
The hunt for a supermassive black hole
With new data from the Keck telescopes, Andrea Ghez shows how state-of-the-art adaptive optics are helping astronomers understand our universe's most mysterious objects: black holes. She shares evidence that a supermassive black hole may be lurking at the center of the Milky Way.
Could a Saturn moon harbor life?
Carolyn Porco shares exciting new findings from the Cassini spacecraft's recent sweep of one of Saturn's moons, Enceladus. Samples gathered from the moon's icy geysers hint that an ocean under its surface could harbor life.
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.
A leap from the edge of space
At his day job, Steve Truglia flips cars, walks through fire and falls out of buildings -- pushing technology to make stunts bigger, safer, more awesome. He talks us through his next stunt: the highest jump ever attempted, from the very edge of space.
Steve Jurvetson on model rocketry
Moneyman Steve Jurvetson takes TEDsters inside his awesome hobby -- launching model rockets –- by sharing some gorgeous photos, his infectious glee and just a whiff of danger.
David Hoffman shares his Sputnik mania
Filmmaker David Hoffman shares footage from his feature-length documentary Sputnik Mania, which shows how the Soviet Union's launch of Sputnik in 1957 led to both the space race and the arms race -- and jump-started science and math education around the world.
Carter Emmart demos a 3D atlas of the universe
For the last 12 years, Carter Emmart has been coordinating the efforts of scientists, artists and programmers to build a complete 3D visualization of our known universe. He demos this stunning tour and explains how it's being shared with facilities around the world.
What the discovery of gravitational waves means
More than a billion years ago, two black holes in a distant galaxy locked into a spiral, falling inexorably toward each other, and collided. "All that energy was pumped into the fabric of time and space itself," says theoretical physicist Allan Adams, "making the universe explode in roiling waves of gravity." About 25 years ago, a group of scientists built a giant
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How we'll find life on other planets
Astronomer Aomawa Shields searches for clues that life might exist elsewhere in the universe by examining the atmospheres of distant exoplanets. When she isn't exploring the heavens, the classically trained actor (and TED Fellow) looks for ways to engage young women in the sciences using theater, writing and visual art. "Maybe one day they'll join the ranks of
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The untapped genius that could change science for the better
Jedidah Isler dreamt of becoming an astrophysicist since she was a young girl, but the odds were against her: At that time, only 18 black women in the United States had ever earned a PhD in a physics-related discipline. In this personal talk, she shares the story of how she became the first black woman to earn a PhD in astrophysics from Yale — and her deep belief in
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