Speakers, performers and contributors to the TEDxCERN series

Edda Gschwendtner, physicist, is the project leader of CERN’s plasma wakefield acceleration experiment AWAKE. The need for ever-increasing particle energies to probe the fundamental building blocks of nature have led to machines of gigantic sizes. AWAKE pursues a novel technology that produces accelerating fields 1000 times higher than achieved with conventional techniques. This will allow us to push the energy frontier of future accelerators while significantly decreasing the size of the machines themselves.
Gihan S. Kamel is a lecturer at the Physics Department in the Faculty of Science at Helwan University, Egypt, and an Infrared Microspectroscopy Beamline Scientist at SESAME, where she is also part of the User’s Executive Committee. SESAME: Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East is an association that illuminates the Middle East through scientific excellence and collaboration turning peace into reality.
Linda Liukas is a programmer, storyteller and illustrator. Her children's book, Hello Ruby, raised a total of $ 380,000 on Kickstarter. She founded Rails Girls, and its workshops organised by volunteers in over 230 cities, have taught the basics of programming to more than 10,000 women. Linda worked at Codeacademy, which she left to write stories that teach children about software and programming. She won the 2013 Ruby Hero prize and was named the Digital Champion of Finland by the EU Commissioner for Digital Agenda.
Madeline Lancaster, developmental, stem cell and neurobiologist, grows mini­brains and has a lab at University of Cambridge’s Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology. Her work utilizes a completely new approach called cerebral organoids that uses human stem cells to generate brain tissue clumps in a dish. These mini­brains are the first 3D model of a developing human brain. Lancaster’s group hope to use this system to uncover the secrets of what makes our brain unique.
Michael Bodekaer is the founder of Labster which teaches life sciences through gamified education in immersive 3D virtual worlds and laboratories. Proven to significantly enhance student’s motivation, these approaches are pioneering teaching tools that are bringing a revolution in world­class learning. He also founded Learn Technologies, a Swiss company focused on leveraging immersive Virtual Reality for learning and training simulations.
Neil Gershenfeld is the director of MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms, a lab that breaks down boundaries between digital and physical worlds, from creating molecular quantum computers to virtuosic musical instruments. He started Fab Lab, a global network that allows people access to prototype tools for personal fabrication. He also directs Fab Academy, an associated programme for distributed research and education in digital fabrication.
Rachel Armstrong, professor of Experimental Architecture at Newcastle University, innovates and designs sustainable solutions for the built environment using advanced new technologies such as synthetic biology and smart chemistry. Rachel Armstrong’s new science thesis and book, Vibrant Architecture (Matter as CoDesigner of Living Structures), explores prospects for transformations of matter into habitable structures, which prompts a reevaluation of how we think about sustainability in our homes and cities.
S. Matthew Liao is the Director of the Bioethics Program at New York University. He is the editor-­in-chief of Journal of Moral Philosophy, a peer­-reviewed international journal of moral, political and legal philosophy and has written on philosophy, morality, bioethics and human rights. Liao has contributed challenging ideas such as whether we should use drugs and technology to erase traumatic memories and employ human engineering as a possible, partial solution to climate change.
Sean Follmer is an Assistant Professor at Stanford University in the Mechanical Engineering Design Group, researching how we can apply shape­-changing and deformable interfaces to interact with each other when using devices. He creates tangible interfaces whose form adapts to the functions and ways users want to interact. He is also trying to integrate physical objects into the digital design process seamlessly and to look into new interfaces for rapid prototyping that could increase possibilities for users.
Tim Dixon is the Managing Director of Purpose Europe, based in London. Purpose is a public benefit corporation that is a home for building 21st century movements and creating ventures, tools and technology that use the power of participation to change the world. More than 50 million people around the world have been mobilised to action through movements that Purpose and its team have founded or co-founded. Tim is the co-­founder of The Syria Campaign, former Australian Prime Ministers’ chief speechwriter and economic adviser, former lawyer and co-­author of the leading economics textbook in Australia. Tim brings his multidisciplinary background to projects for positive social change.
Vikki Stone is a British comedian and composer, best known for her comedy songs. She has appeared in many TV and Radio shows as an actress and comedian, and has written original music for many TV shows. Vikki's most recent commission is a comedy choral piece for 750 singers that will receive its premiere at the Royal Albert Hall in 2016. In 2015 Vikki was made Associate of The Royal Academy of Music for her work in music and comedy.

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