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TED2012 program guide whets our appetite for upcoming lecture series; Philippe Petit, Reggie Watts, Bill Nye among presenters

TED2012 program guide whets our appetite for upcoming lecture series; Philippe Petit, Reggie Watts, Bill Nye among presenters

At the end of February, TED will present TED2012 Full Spectrum, a four-day series of lectures and events. The latest of TED’s acclaimed conferences will feature over 50 speakers, presenting on topics from space archaeology to beatboxing, secret-keeping to ethnobotany; each will have 18 minutes of stage time to discuss their topic, explaining what they’ve learned in their field and what listeners can take away from their experiences.

TED2012 will run from Tuesday, Feb. 28 to Friday, March 2, with lectures taking place in Long Beach and streaming online for international viewers.

The conference is broken into 12 “sessions,” each with a theme uniting talks from various and eclectic presenters. In true TED form, guests from vastly different backgrounds are slated to speak together, giving unexpected and fresh takes on topics; for example, a session on the theme “The Courtroom” includes a lawyer, a marketer, a cultural analyst, a cognitive neuroscientist and… a clawhammer banjo player? You’ll have to tune in to find out how they all fit together.

Here’s an overview of the modules:

Session 1: The Observatory

Paul Gilding (writer); Peter Diamandis (futurist); Sarah Parcak (space archaeologist); Brian Greene (physicist); Susan Cain (author, Quiet Revolutionary)

Session 2: The Library

Michael Tilson Thomas (musician, conductor); Andrew Stanton (filmmaker); Reuben Margolin (kinetic sculptor); Billy Collins (poet); Quixotic (performance ensemble)

Session 3: The Dinner Party

Rebecca Newberger Goldstein + Steven Pinker (philosopher, novelist & linguist); Jonathan Haidt (social psychologist); Atul Gawande (surgeon, journalist); Janelle Monáe (performer, songwriter)

Session 4: The Lab

Henrik Schärfe (roboticist); Regina Dugan (director of DARPA); Jack Choi (technologist); Marco Tempest (techno-illusionist); Donald Sadoway (materials engineer)

Session 5: The Earth

Karen Bass (natural history filmmaker); Sharon Beals (photographer); Wade Davis (anthropologist, ethnobotanist); James Hansen (climatologist); T. Boone Pickens (entrepreneur, energy theorist); Civilians Investigative Theatre (theater company)

Session 6: The Crowd

Reid Hoffman (social entrepreneur); Lior Zoref (crowdsourcing advocate); Reggie Watts (vocalist, beatboxer, comedian); Frank Warren (secret keeper); Cameron Carpenter (organist)

Session 7: TED Prize… The City 2.0

(presenters TBA)

Session 8: The Courtroom

Jim Stengel (marketer); Sherry Turkle (cultural psychoanalyst); Tali Sharot (cognitive neuroscientist); Abigail Washburn (clawhammer banjo player); Bryan Stevenson (public interest lawyer)

Session 9: The Design Studio

Chip Kidd (graphic designer); Andrew Bolton (curator); David Kelley (designer, educator)

Session 10: The Campfire

Jared Ficklin (visualizer); Sebastian Wernicke (statistics whiz); Joshua Foer (writer); Philippe Petit (high-wire artist); Jon Ronson (writer, filmmaker)

Session 11: The Classroom

Bill Nye (science guy); Ainissa Ramirez (science evangelist); Aaron Reedy (teacher); John Bohannon + Black Label Movement (science writer, dance troupe); Al Vernacchio (sexuality educator, teacher); Kate Messner (author, educator, speaker); Angie Miller (language arts teacher); Awele Makeba (storyteller, teaching artist); Rafe Esquith (educator)

Session 12: The Moment

Julie Burstein (writer and radio producer); Cesar Kuriyama (video maker); Leymah Gbowee (peace activist, Nobelist); Brené Brown (vulnerability researcher)


Catch up on past TED talks; there are hundreds available online. (Reddit users have also put together this spreadsheet of every TED talk, each with a comprehensive popularity index.)

Austin Photo Set: News_sam_tedx_jan 2012_alan slaid
Courtesy of TED
Austin Photo Set: News_sam_tedx_jan 2012_phillipe petit
Philippe Petit -high-wire artist
Bill Nye
Bill Nye - science guy Photo courtesy of Bill Nye
Austin Photo Set: News_sam_tedx_jan 2012_reggie watts
Reggie Watts -vocalist, beatboxer, comedian