By Sean Carroll | December 16, 2010 12:02 pm

Everyone knows about the TED talks — the great, and mercifully short, presentations whose videos are among the most-shared on the web. Even clicking on a completely random talk, you’re likely to be rewarded with something interesting. Part of that is the extraordinary level of quality control — not only in choosing speakers, but in working with speakers ahead of time to fine-tune their presentations. And holding them to a time limit.

Besides the big TED conferences, there are also independently-organized events known as TEDx. Caltech is going to host such an event for the first time, TEDxCaltech, on January 14. The theme is “Feynman’s Vision: The Next 50 Years.” In practice that means three groups of talks: Conceptualization and Visualization in Science, Frontiers of Physics, and Nanoscience and Future Biology. Check out the list of speakers. If it weren’t for the fact that I am on it myself, I’d emphasize what a great program this is — any event that includes both Scott Aaronson and Lyle Mays shows quite a bit of promise. Throw in Leonard Susskind and Craig Venter, and it might be worth a special trip.

All are welcome to come! The flip side of the fact that so much work goes into making the talks successful is that a corresponding level of commitment is asked of the audience — so you don’t simply buy a ticket, you apply, and it does cost money. But who can put a price on inspiration?


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Cosmic Variance

Random samplings from a universe of ideas.

About Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. His research interests include theoretical aspects of cosmology, field theory, and gravitation. His most recent book is The Particle at the End of the Universe, about the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs boson. Here are some of his favorite blog posts, home page, and email: carroll [at] cosmicvariance.com .


See More

Collapse bottom bar