Petar Todorov | Lab Notes
Published: Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 07:10
It’s a common sight that I’ve grown accustomed to at Tufts as I walk through the Campus Center or pass through Tisch: students taking a break from their work to watch a brief TED Talk.
Hardly a day goes by without a talk appearing on my social media feed. These eclectic videos are intellectually stimulating, and we naturally want to share their messages with our friends. After all, TED is a place to see and hear “ideas worth spreading.” As someone who follows science and technology closely, I yearn for the chance to attend TED someday.
But of course, YouTube is as close as most students can get to the global conference: The audience is selected by application, and those who make the cut have the opportunity to buy tickets, starting at $7,500. As of late, TED has started to work with individuals and grant licenses to host events modeled after the intellectual exchange, which happen at the esteemed gathering.
TEDxBeaconStreet is a free local event on Nov. 16 and 17 in Brookline, offering an opportunity to experience a range of speakers in an intellectually charged environment.
Over the weekend, I spoke with John Werner, the event’s founder and executive director, who offered additional insight. Mr. Werner took the name for the event from the fact that there are 490 Beacon Streets connecting towns in Massachusetts. In addition, Boston’s Beacon Street is the longest thoroughfare in the city, linking it to the surrounding towns, their people and their history.
Indeed, this TEDx conference taps directly into the rich diversity of the greater Boston area for its content. A small cross section of those who will take the stage offers a look at the wide gamut of speakers, including Nikolai Begg, an engineer of safer medical devices for surgeons; Susan Colantuono, the CEO and founder of Leading Women, a premier consulting firm working to close the gender gap in the workplace; Adam Medros, vice president of global product development for TripAdvisor; Juan Enriquez, a leading scholar on the intersection of life sciences and their economic impact; Rick Smolan, a photographer whose works have been featured on the covers of TIME Magazine and Fortune Magazine; Harvard theoretical physicist and author Lisa Randall and artist Kate Riegle-van West, who has explored the use of poi as a method of therapy.
It should also be noted that although the conference is local, it brings in 100 organizers who have hosted TEDx events around the world, making it a truly global gathering.
TEDxBeaconStreet differentiates itself from other TEDx events in multiple ways, thus offering a unique experience. It is the first TEDx to partner with Google Solve For X, featuring talk segments about Moonshot ideas and using breakthrough technologies to tackle challenging problems.
TEDxBeaconStreet also aims to engage the whole family in order to build an audience spanning all ages: The first morning of the conference is dedicated to youth. Mr. Werner indicated that TEDxBeaconStreet is novel in its aim to put “Ideas in Action,” as well as disseminating “Ideas worth spreading” like the global TED conference.
Furthermore, unlike other TEDx events, BeaconStreet continues beyond Nov. 17, as some speakers act to catalyze community involvement by organizing Adventures, which last until the following spring. Past examples include learning physics while sailing on the Charles River or playing with Google’s Glass heads-up display.
So, how can you sign up? Registration on the TEDxBeaconStreet website is free and only requires that attendees give their contact information, state a fun fact about themselves and nominate a few friends. The event will also be simulcast at Google Boston, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab and on the Internet for those who want to attend but cannot be present at the Lincoln School in Brookline.
I hope I see some of you there!
Petar Todorov is a senior majoring in chemistry. He can be reached at Petar.Todorov@tufts.edu.