October 31, 2015

The Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts

What is TEDx?

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxUM, where x = independently organized TED event. At our TEDxUM event, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized.

The TEDxUM Theme

The theme: “In Plain Sight.” Throughout the day many items affect us yet they are too small to be seen or noticed. Yet, without them our days and our lives are completely different. Each of our speakers has found a way to illuminate what is in plain sight all around us, whether we realize it or not.

Chris McCurdy tells us about new ways to diagnose and treat pain through synthetic products, which are in plain sight, but previously underutilized. Randy Wadkins talks about the powerful potential of nanotechnology to transform scientific research. In the opposite direction, while the world is covered in water Cathy Janasie explores the real problem of water scarcity all across the country, not just in the drought-prone areas in the western United States. Speaking of water, Marc Slattery discusses the very real scenario of the loss of biodiversity as coral reefs struggle to remain vibrant centers of the ocean’s ecosystem.

From different perspectives, Laura Johnson and Mitch Robinson both tackle diversity. In our multicultural society, Laura Johnson explores how we can connect better with people from different societies and backgrounds. Mitch Robinson draws parallels between the natural environment and human interactions in telling us how we can better connect with the world around us. Michèle Alexandre investigates the depth at which language, everyday language, affects people in ways unrealized by most of us.

People who have been impacted by dynamic teachers know how powerful the effects can be. In David Rock’s talk, he discusses the ingredients of a quality education. Greogy Heyworth explains some of the work of The Lazarus Project, which aims to restore ancient texts through the process of digital recovery. It is hope that the recovery of these scripts can add to everyone’s education.

Our day concludes with Matthew Wilson with what we believe is an appropriate talk on the role of humor to bring people together, across cultures and generations. Humor is all around us, but often its strength is hidden in plain sight.