Speakers

Speakers, performers and contributors to the TEDxCERN series

Andrew Nemr is a tap dance artist who directed Cats Paying Dues, co-founded the Tap Legacy Foundation, Inc. and worked with Nat Adderley Jr. He is also a TED Fellow and Artist-in-Residence for Quarterly Arts Soiree at Webster Hall. A recipient of an NEA Masterpieces: Dance Initiative Grant to reconstruct the works of classic tap dance soloists, Nemr won critical and popular acclaim for his presentation of Echoes in Time.

Arthur Zang, a 26-year-old Cameroonian engineer, invented the life-saving Cardiopad. This touch screen medical tablet enables heart examinations such as ECG to be performed in remote locations. The results are transferred wirelessly to specialists so that patients living in rural areas do not have to travel to urban centres for medical examination.

Brian Cox OBE, professor at University of Manchester and member of the ATLAS experiment at CERN, began his career not as a physicist but as a rock star. While in the band D’Ream, Brian finished a PhD in particle physics at the German Electron Synchrotron lab, DESY in Hamburg. In 2005, Brian was granted a Royal Society University Research Fellowship and has since received many awards for his work promoting science, including an OBE in 2010. On television Brian’s programmes include Wonders of the Universe, Wonders of the Solar System and Wonders of Life for the BBC.

Cofounder and chief scientist of LightSail Energy, Danielle Fong was featured in Forbes’ 30 under 30 list of people who aren’t waiting to reinvent the world in 2012. Fong dropped out of junior high school at age 12 to attend Dalhousie University, then dropped out of Princeton University’s Plasma Physics Department to start LightSail Energy. The company develops a form of compressed air energy storage, called ‘regenerative air energy storage’, which may be the missing link in the plan to make the world’s electrical grid green.

One of the first female members of Saudi Arabia’s Consultative Assembly, Hayat Sindi is founder and CEO of i2, Institute for Imagination, an NGO creating an ecosystem of entrepreneurship and social innovation for scientists, technologists and engineers. She co-founded Diagnostics For All, which offers cost-effective point-of-care diagnostic tools. The first woman from the Persian Gulf’s Arabian States to complete a PhD in biotechnology, she is a member of the UN Secretary-General's Scientific Advisory Board and a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for science education in the Middle East, especially for girls.

At 13 years old, Jamie Edwards attempted to become the youngest person ever to achieve nuclear fusion by colliding two hydrogen atoms via inertial electrostatic confinement in his school lab. When Jamie told his headmaster about his plan to build the nuclear reactor and asked for funding, the reply was “Will it blow up the school?” Jamie got the funding, and rest assured, the school still stands. For his next project, Jamie – who wants to be a nuclear engineer or work in theoretical physics – has his sights on building a miniature hadron collider. He’s now 14 years old.

John Mighton is a mathematician and playwright and is the founder of JUMP Math, a charity that is working to improve the teaching math. He appeared in Good Will Hunting, and contributed a monologue to the film based on the argument he makes in his book The End of Ignorance that most people never get a chance to succeed in math because they are not taught according to their true potential. Mighton received an Ashoka Fellowship for his work as a social entrepreneur. His plays have received a number of national awards and have been performed around the world.

Julia Greer researches lightweight, 3-dimensional nano-architectures and designs experiments to assess their properties and deformation mechanisms. These ‘nano-metamaterials’ have multiple applications, which provide a rich ‘playground’ for fundamental scientific pursuits. Greer, professor of Materials Science at CalTech, has a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Stanford University. She was recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2014. She is also an accomplished concert pianist.

Julien Lesgourgues, cosmologist, explores questions like where did the universe come from, what triggered its evolution, does it contain hints of physical laws or species that we are not yet aware of? A member of the Planck satellite team which published the map of the cosmic microwave background in 2013, he specialises in modelling the evolution of cosmological perturbations, starting from a stage in the early universe called inflation. He authored CLASS, a code used by cosmologists to simulate the universe and watch it evolve on a computer. He is passionate about the arts and also sings operas.

Marcia Barbosa has a PhD in physics from Brazil’s Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, where she is now the director of its Physics Institute. She studies the complex structure of the water molecule, and has developed a series of models of its properties which may contribute to our understanding of how earthquakes occur, how proteins fold, and could play an important role in generating cleaner energy and treating diseases. She is actively involved in promoting Women in Physics and was named the 2013 L’Oreal-UNESCO for Women in Science Awards Laureate for Latin America.

Nina Fedoroff’s research interests range from the biochemistry of microRNA processing and transposition to the design of greenhouses for hot, humid environments, although she is best known for her pioneering work on plant transposons. A PhD from Rockefeller University, she is an Evan Pugh Professor at Pennsylvania State University. A 2006 National Medal of Science laureate, she served as Science and Technology Adviser to the US Secretary of State and to USAID's administrator.

Nitin Sawhney's career spans decades of solo albums, film scoring, video game soundtracks, work for dance & theatre, commissions for leading orchestras, dj sets, tv soundtracks, radio broadcasting and live performances around the world with his band. Sawhney has received many awards including a MOBO, New York Bessie and two BBC Radio 3 Music Awards and nominations for the Ivor Novello, Mercury prize and BAFTA. Sawhney holds 6 honorary doctorates from British universities and is a fellow of LIPA and Southbank University. He turned down an OBE in 2007 for ethical reasons.

Robert P. Crease uses laboratory history to examine key issues in philosophy of science, science studies, and ethics. A professor at Stony Brook University, he has written, translated and edited numerous books on the history and philosophy of science. He writes a monthly column called 'Critical Point' for Physics World, and is the co-editor-in-chief of Physics in Perspective. He recently co-authored The Quantum Moment: How Planck, Bohr, Einstein, and Heisenberg Taught Us to Love Uncertainty, and edited Science Policy Up Close, a collection of writing by John Marburger, former science adviser to the US president.

Sonia Trigueros’s research focuses on the design of novel nanostructures to target DNA biomolecular motors and DNA conformational states in dividing cells, specifically cancer cells. She is developing nanomedicines to tackle bacterial antibiotic resistance. A PhD in molecular biology from IBMB-CSIC and Universidad de Barcelona, Trigueros was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard and Oxford, and a research visitor to many academic institutions including NIH-Washington and Havana University. She co-directs the Oxford Martin Institute of Nanoscience for Medicine at University of Oxford.

Srikumar Banerjee, nuclear scientist and metallurgical engineer, is the Indian Department of Atomic Energy’s Chair Professor at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre. Homi J. Bhabha, after whom the Centre is named, started India’s three-stage nuclear power programme in the 50s. It is one of the best-known efforts to develop thorium-based nuclear power, thorium having greater safety benefits, absence of non-fertile isotopes and higher occurrence and availability. Banerjee’s work provides the basis for analysing the microstructural evolution and radiation stability of structural materials in nuclear reactors.

In 2012, Topher White founded Rainforest Connection, a start-up which converts recycled cell-phones into solar-powered listening devices to monitor and protect remote forests in real-time. Now an established NGO, Rainforest Connection has helped stop illegal logging and poaching operations in Sumatra. The system is being expanded to three more rainforest reserves in Indonesia, the Amazon and Africa. White holds a BA in Physics and has worked as web chief of ITER and was co-founder of Enthuse, which built a first-of-its-kind sports engagement and mobile rewards platform.

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