Friday, February 19, 2010

The TED Talks

The previous posts have focused on science communication and its importance to combating the anti-science backlash. I wanted at this point to provide some inspiration to younger scientists and science students about becoming effective science communicators. If you have not heard of the TED conference and talks, I highly recommend them to you ( TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, a non-profit devoted to “ideas worth spreading”. The conference highlight is a series of talks by the world’s leading thinkers and doers, many of them scientists. All of these talks are archived and viewable online at the TED website where they are conveniently catalogued by topic, speaker, etc.

I frequently recommend this site to students to learn how to develop and deliver outstanding presentations. The videos of these talks are certainly worthwhile for gaining tips on improving your “style”, but they are also some of the most fascinating talks I’ve ever heard. Here is a sprinkling of example topics:

“Medicine Without Borders” (43 talks)
“Numbers at Play” (17 talks)
“Tales of Invention” (132 talks)
“Design Like You Give a Damn” (54 talks)
“How the Mind Works” (73 talks)
“Evolution’s Genius” (57 talks)
“How We Learn” (51 talks)

Some of the scientists who have given TED talks will be familiar to you, but most will not. If you ever doubted that scientists could be fascinating speakers, however, this site will change your mind.

Warning: These talks are so entertaining, it’s easy to spend a great deal of time watching them.

No comments: