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Stephen Hawking asks big questions about the universe
In keeping with the theme of TED2008, professor Stephen Hawking asks some Big Questions about our universe -- How did the universe begin? How did life begin? Are we alone? -- and discusses how we might go about answering them.
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Arthur Benjamin does "Mathemagic"
In a lively show, mathemagician Arthur Benjamin races a team of calculators to figure out 3-digit squares, solves another massive mental equation and guesses a few birthdays. How does he do it? He’ll tell you.
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The magic of Fibonacci numbers
Math is logical, functional and just ... awesome. Mathemagician Arthur Benjamin explores hidden properties of that weird and wonderful set of numbers, the Fibonacci series. (And reminds you that mathematics can be inspiring, too!)
The mathematics of love
Finding the right mate is no cakewalk — but is it even mathematically likely? In a charming talk, mathematician Hannah Fry shows patterns in how we look for love, and gives her top three tips (verified by math!) for finding that special someone.
Why is 'x' the unknown?
Why is 'x' the symbol for an unknown? In this short and funny talk, Terry Moore gives the surprising answer.
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.
Computing a theory of everything
Stephen Wolfram, creator of Mathematica, talks about his quest to make all knowledge computational -- able to be searched, processed and manipulated. His new search engine, Wolfram Alpha, has no lesser goal than to model and explain the physics underlying the universe.
Comics that ask "what if?"
Web cartoonist Randall Munroe answers simple what-if questions ("what if you hit a baseball moving at the speed of light?") using math, physics, logic and deadpan humor. In this charming talk, a reader’s question about Google's data warehouse leads Munroe down a circuitous path to a hilariously over-detailed answer — in which, shhh, you might actually learn something.
Teaching kids real math with computers
From rockets to stock markets, many of humanity's most thrilling creations are powered by math. So why do kids lose interest in it? Conrad Wolfram says the part of math we teach -- calculation by hand -- isn't just tedious, it's mostly irrelevant to real mathematics and the real world. He presents his radical idea: teaching kids math through computer programming.
Why I fell in love with monster prime numbers
They're millions of digits long, and it takes an army of mathematicians and machines to hunt them down -- what's not to love about monster primes? Adam Spencer, comedian and lifelong math geek, shares his passion for these odd numbers, and for the mysterious magic of math.
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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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.
Arthur Benjamin's formula for changing math education
Someone always asks the math teacher, "Am I going to use calculus in real life?" And for most of us, says Arthur Benjamin, the answer is no. He offers a bold proposal on how to make math education relevant in the digital age.
Building unimaginable shapes
Inspired by cell division, Michael Hansmeyer writes algorithms that design outrageously fascinating shapes and forms with millions of facets. No person could draft them by hand, but they're buildable -- and they could revolutionize the way we think of architectural form.
Michael Moschen juggles rhythm and motion
Michael Moschen puts on a quietly mesmerizing show of juggling. Don't think juggling is an art? You might just change your mind after watching Moschen in motion.
What physics taught me about marketing
Physics and marketing don't seem to have much in common, but Dan Cobley is passionate about both. He brings these unlikely bedfellows together using Newton's second law, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, the scientific method and the second law of thermodynamics to explain the fundamental theories of branding.
Steven Strogatz on sync
Mathematician Steven Strogatz shows how flocks of creatures (like birds, fireflies and fish) manage to synchronize and act as a unit -- when no one's giving orders. The powerful tendency extends into the realm of objects, too.
The surprising math of cities and corporations
Physicist Geoffrey West has found that simple, mathematical laws govern the properties of cities -- that wealth, crime rate, walking speed and many other aspects of a city can be deduced from a single number: the city's population. In this mind-bending talk from TEDGlobal he shows how it works and how similar laws hold for organisms and corporations.
Symmetry, reality's riddle
The world turns on symmetry -- from the spin of subatomic particles to the dizzying beauty of an arabesque. But there's more to it than meets the eye. Here, Oxford mathematician Marcus du Sautoy offers a glimpse of the invisible numbers that marry all symmetrical objects.
Advice to young scientists
“The world needs you, badly,” begins celebrated biologist E.O. Wilson in his letter to a young scientist. Previewing his upcoming book, he gives advice collected from a lifetime of experience -- reminding us that wonder and creativity are the center of the scientific life. (Filmed at TEDMED.)
Sean Gourley on the mathematics of war
By analyzing raw data on violent incidents in the Iraq war and others, Sean Gourley and his team claim to have found a surprisingly strong mathematical relationship linking the fatality and frequency of attacks.
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita predicts Iran's future
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita uses mathematical analysis to predict (very often correctly) such messy human events as war, political power shifts, Intifada ... After a crisp explanation of how he does it, he offers three predictions on the future of Iran.
The fractals at the heart of African designs
'I am a mathematician, and I would like to stand on your roof.' That is how Ron Eglash greeted many African families he met while researching the fractal patterns he’d noticed in villages across the continent.
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 mathematics of history
What can mathematics say about history? According to TED Fellow Jean-Baptiste Michel, quite a lot. From changes to language to the deadliness of wars, he shows how digitized history is just starting to reveal deep underlying patterns.
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.
4 pillars of college success in science
At age 12, Freeman Hrabowski marched with Martin Luther King. Now he's president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), where he works to create an environment that helps under-represented students -- specifically African-American, Latino and low-income learners -- get degrees in math and science. He shares the four pillars of UMBC's approach.
Neil Turok makes his TED Prize wish
Accepting his 2008 TED Prize, physicist Neil Turok speaks out for talented young Africans starved of opportunity: by unlocking and nurturing the continent's creative potential, we can create a change in Africa's future.
A test for Parkinson’s with a phone call
Parkinson’s disease affects 6.3 million people worldwide, causing weakness and tremors, but there's no objective way to detect it early on. Yet. Applied mathematician and TED Fellow Max Little is testing a simple, cheap tool that in trials is able to detect Parkinson's with 99 percent accuracy -- in a 30-second phone call.
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.
Scott Kim takes apart the art of puzzles
At the 2008 EG conference, famed puzzle designer Scott Kim takes us inside the puzzle-maker's frame of mind. Sampling his career's work, he introduces a few of the most popular types, and shares the fascinations that inspired some of his best.
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.
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.
Fractals and the art of roughness
At TED2010, mathematics legend Benoit Mandelbrot develops a theme he first discussed at TED in 1984 -- the extreme complexity of roughness, and the way that fractal math can find order within patterns that seem unknowably complicated.
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.