TED 2015 Preview: 9 Speakers Not to Miss in Vancouver

Photo credit: Danny Robinson | Flickr

Photo credit: Danny Robinson | Flickr

TED is returning to Vancouver.

The annual conference – which features inspiring, 18-minute speeches from some of the planet’s most brilliant people – is back for the second year in Vancouver, March 16-March 20 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. And the lineup is packed with more legendary thinkers, inventors, designers and disruptors than ever.

The theme for TED2015 is Truth and Dare. According to organizers, speakers will take a look at hard truths about our environment, the state of our economy, the government and more.  And they’ll dare to propose bold answers, using the latest technology and innovations.

Alas, tickets to TED (which start at $8,500 a pop) sold out long ago.  But don’t despair. Speeches will be simulcast to multiple locations in and around the city for free. In the meantime, here are 10 speakers not to miss from the TED2015 lineup, with excerpts from their official TED bios:

Alan Eustace, Google Senior VP of Knowledge and space jumper: “On October 21, 2014, Google Senior Vice President of Knowledge Alan Eustace donned a custom-built, 400-pound spacesuit, was strapped to a weather balloon, and rose to a height of over 135,000 feet, where he dove to Earth at speeds exceeding 821 miles-per-hour — breaking both the sound barrier and previous records for high-altitude jumps.” Speaking March 17, between 2:15 p.m. and 4 p.m.  

Monica Lewinsky, White House intern turned social activist: “After becoming the focus of the history-changing federal investigation into her private life, Monica Lewinsky found herself, at 24-years-old, one of the first targets of a “culture of humiliation”: a now-familiar cycle of media, political and personal harassment – particularly online … Lewinsky survived to reclaim her personal narrative.” Speaking March 19, between 10:30 a.m. and noon.  

Siddhartha Mukherjee, doctor and cancer biographer: “While discussing a diagnosis with a patient, Siddhartha Mukherjee realized that there were no easy answers to the question, “What is cancer?” Faced with his hesitation, Mukherjee decided to do something about it. Over the next six years, Mukherjee wrote the influential, Pulitzer-winning The Emperor of All Maladies, a 4,000-year “biography” of cancer.” Speaking March 18, between 8:30 a.m. and 10:15 p.m.  

Photo credit: Steve Jurvetson | Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: Steve Jurvetson | Wikimedia Commons

Stephen Petranek, technology forecaster and closet optimist: “Writer and technologist Stephen Petranek became a reluctant doomsayer when his earliest TED Talk (“10 ways the world could end”) racked up 1.5 million views. But … within a century, he predicts that humans will have established a city of 80,000  on Mars: and that not only is that plausible, but it’s also inevitable.” Speaking March 17, between 2:15 p.m. and 4 p.m. 

Stephen Pyne, author and historian of fire: “Pyne’s books trace not only the natural history of fire — they show how fire is an agent of change in every aspect of human culture, examine the institutions different countries have devised to control it, and explore how fossil fuel burning has disrupted our planet’s natural fire cycle.” Speaking March 19, between 2:15 p.m. and 4 p.m.  

Martine Rothblatt, transhumanist and Renaissance woman: “After creating satellite radio with a startup that went on to become Sirius XM, Martine Rothblatt was on the verge of retirement. But her daughter’s rare lung disease inspired her to start United Therapeutics and develop an oral medication that changed the lives of thousands of patients. Now with the Terasem Foundation, she’s researching the digital preservation of personality as a means to enable the contents of our minds to outlast our bodies.” Speaking March 17, between 5 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. 

Photo credit: Pierre Omidyar | Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: Pierre Omidyar | Wikimedia Commons

Sara Seager, astronomer and exoplanet expert: “Sara Seager’s research led to the first discovery of an atmosphere on a planet outside our solar system. Now she’s on the hunt for a twin Earth.” Speaking March 17, between 2:15 p.m. and 4 p.m. 

Jim Simons, mathematician turned billionaire hedge fund owner: “As a mathematician who cracked codes for the National Security Agency on the side, Jim Simons had already revolutionized geometry — and incidentally laid the foundation for string theory — when he began to get restless. Along with a few hand-picked colleagues he started the investment firm that went on to become Renaissance, a hedge fund working with hitherto untapped algorithms, and became a billionaire in the process.” Speaking March 17, between 11 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. 

Steven Wise, animal rights lawyer: “By challenging long-held legal notions of “personhood”, Steven Wise seeks to grant cognitively advanced animals access to a full spectrum of fundamental rights … While the high-profile New York lawsuits Wise has initiated on behalf of captive chimpanzees have yet to bear fruit, they’re only the first stage of a strategy that is changing the conversation about animal rights.” Speaking March 18, between 8:30 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. 

For the full lineup of speakers and descriptions, visit the TED2015 website.

Tagged: , , ,

Comments are closed for this post

Comments are closed.