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Science Speakers

Lavin’s science speakers illuminate our understanding of the world—without their groundbreaking work, our view of the planet, and of ourselves, is diminished. These speakers connect their discoveries to our everyday lives.

 
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Danielle Wood

Director of MIT’s Space Enabled Research Lab | Assistant Prof. of Media Arts and Sciences

Danielle Wood is taking on the imperative task of using space technology to save Earth. Director of MIT’s cutting-edge Space Enabled Research Lab, Wood uses tools that typically orbit us to advance social good on our home planet. In her talks, Wood shows us how to harness the most complex, cosmic technologies to address the here and now. 
Dan Riskin

Evolutionary Biologist | Former Co-Host of Daily Planet

To evolutionary biologist, TV host, and bestselling author Dan Riskin, picking his scientific focus was easy. “I had a crush on bats,” he says. “I thought they were cute!” Maybe you don’t share the sentiment, but there’s a strong chance that you feel passionate about something, and that passion can motivate you to expertise: in the sciences, education, or the action items of your 9-to-5.
 
Susan Hockfield

President Emerita of MIT | Author of The Age of Living Machines (Forthcoming)

We’re entering the Age of Living Machines, where biology and engineering converge to create revolutionary technologies that will transform our world. Susan Hockfield is the preeminent speaker on this new “convergence.” These next-generation technologies, she persuasively argues, hold the promise to address some of the greatest humanitarian, medical, business, and environmental challenges we face.
 
Lera Boroditsky

Cognitive Scientist | Expert in the Fields of Language and Cognition

Lera Boroditsky’s TED Talk—on how people view the world differently, based on their linguistic backgrounds—has been viewed nearly 8 million times. In her fascinating, playful, and richly detailed keynotes, Boroditsky examines the timely overlap of language, intelligence, and human behavior.
 
Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

Author of Everybody Lies | Former Google Data Scientist | New York Times Opinion Writer | Wharton Visiting Lecturer

In his New York Times bestseller Everybody Lies, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz explores how Google searches open an unprecedented window into human behavior, choice, and decision-making (after all, we offer up 8 trillion GBs of data every day). In talks, this former Google data scientist draws on his research to reveal what we really think.
 
Angela Duckworth

Author of Grit, the #1 New York Times Bestseller | Pioneering Researcher on Grit, Perseverance, and the Science of Success

In her landmark research, psychologist Angela Duckworth reveals the importance of character to success in life. Her pioneering work on grit and self-control—showcased in her instant New York Times bestseller and viral TED Talk—is in high demand among educators, athletes, and business leaders alike—anyone interested in learning what makes a top performer and what any of us can do to cultivate character in ourselves and those around us.
Britt Wray

Science Writer and Broadcaster | Author of Rise of the Necrofauna

Science storyteller, broadcaster, author—in total, Britt Wray’s work is about life and what we make of it: past, present, and future. Author of the astonishing book Rise of the Necrofauna, Wray’s talks show audiences what’s happening at the forefront of biotechnology, and how it affects us.
 
Ellen Ochoa

The first Hispanic Woman in Space | Dir. of NASA Johnson Space Center (2013-2018)

Ellen Ochoa is the first Hispanic woman ever to go to space. She’s also only the second female Director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center—where she led the human space flight enterprise for the nation from 2013 to 2018. As an in-demand speaker, she touches on resonant issues that have defined her historic career: What can we learn about change, innovation, and the culture of teams from her time at the upper reaches of NASA’s leadership? 
 
Charles Fishman

Author of The Big Thirst and One Giant Leap (Forthcoming June 2019)

If we want to achieve near-impossible outcomes, under tremendous pressure, we can. That’s the most important lesson, and the most important inspiration, from the race to the Moon in the 1960s. In his new book, One Giant Leap, #1 New York Times bestselling author Charles Fishman tells the story of the Moon landings as it has never been told before.
Alan Lightman

Theoretical Physicist and Novelist

Both a theoretical physicist and a novelist, Alan Lightman bridges the gap between the worlds of art, the humanities, and science, and is an internationally recognized thinker on the meaning of science for understanding ourselves. 
 
Eric Berlow

Data Ecologist and Complexity Scientist

Businesses are investing heavily in algorithms and engineers, creating entire departments in order to automate processes. But the data we use is the bloodline that feeds these algorithms. In his clear and timely talks, data ecologist Eric Berlow shares the complexity of the data/AI supply chain, and how you can nourish your data ecosystem.  
Naomi Klein

Author of The Battle for Paradise, No Is Not Enough, This Changes Everything, The Shock Doctrine, & No Logo

Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, columnist, and the #1 international bestselling author of seminal books The Shock Doctrine and No Logo. In her book This Changes Everything, and in powerful new talks, she exposes the myths of the climate debate.  
David Eagleman

One of the World's Most Foremost Neuroscientists

How can we harness the brain for maximum creativity—at work, and school? In The Runaway Species, David Eagleman—“the hottest thing in neuroscience” (The Times)—reveals how any organization can adopt a...

Edward Burtynsky

World-Renowned Photographer, Winner of the TED Prize

World-renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky creates stunning photos—“reflecting pools of our time. On stage, he talks about the connection between art and social transformation, human nature and consumption, and industry and environment. 
 
Jared Diamond

Pulitzer Prize Winning Author of Guns, Germs, and Steel, Collapse, and Upheaval (May 2019)

Jared Diamond is the epitome of a celebrity scientist—a Pulitzer Prize Winner, a #1 New York Times bestselling author, and one of the world’s Top 10 Public Intellectuals (Foreign Policy). He also uniq...

Susan Fowler

Time Magazine Person of the Year 2017 | #MeToo and STEM speaker

Susan Fowler is a central figure in the #MeToo movement. Named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year as one of the silence breakers, Fowler is the former Uber engineer whose viral blog post ignited an on...

Edward O. Wilson

One of the World’s Most Distinguished Biologists

E.O. Wilson has made a tremendous contribution to our understanding of biodiversity, while his insights on social and group behavior have changed our perception of ourselves. The stirring keynotes fro...

David Kong

Director of MIT Media Lab’s Community Biotechnology Initiative

At the MIT Media Lab, David Kong is a passionate, brilliant exponent of biotechnology: the next major scientific innovation to transform life as we know it. But to start the revolution—and for human c...

Chia-Jung Tsay

Expert in Decision-Making and the Psychology of Negotiations | Associate Professor in the UCL School of Management

Are we ever really aware of why we choose the things we do? For example, do certain visual cues sway us? Do we prefer natural talents to hard work when it comes to job applicants? Psychologist Chia-Jung Tsay studies judgment biases: the non-conscious beliefs influencing our decisions.
 
Dr. Alex Russell

Author of Drop the Worry Ball

Dr. Alex Russell is a clinical psychologist who helps children develop resilience and their own personal relationship with school and achievement. At the heart of his message—and his book, Drop the Worry Ball—is that children learn by experiencing non-catastrophic, painful failure, and it is through the process of these failures that they mature into resilient, resourceful and emotionally balanced individuals. 
 
John Maeda

Global Head, Computational Design and Inclusion at Automattic

John Maeda is a world-renowned artist, graphic designer, computer scientist, educator, and investor whose career reflects his philosophy of humanizing technology. In his books and on stage, Maeda champions the necessary role that artists and designers play in the new creative economy. 
 
Scott Barry Kaufman

Professor of Psychology at Columbia University | Author of Wired to Create

Scott Barry Kaufman is a groundbreaking psychologist expanding our definitions of creativity, self-actualization, wellness, and intelligence: “a force of nature,” says Angela Duckworth (Grit). “He’s t...

Shalini Kantayya

Award-Winning Filmmaker | Eco-Activist | TED Fellow

Clean tech has to start locally. And it has to happen now. Filmmaker and eco-activist Shalini Kantayya shows us that sustainable energy isn’t just right for the environment, but also promises untold economic opportunities. In her film Catching the Sun, she tells a modern story of innovation—one that’s disrupting outmoded industries and putting power into the hands of those who need it most. 
Daniel Lerner

Positive Psychologist | Instructor of NYU’S “The Science of Happiness”

Can success and happiness coexist? According to positive psychologist Daniel Lerner, we can all accomplish our career goals and live well. Lerner’s talks teach us to achieve greatness through rediscovering our core strengths and finding meaning in our work.
Jordan Ellenberg

Author of How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking

How early should you get to the airport? Why do tall parents have shorter children? What’s the best way to get rich playing the lottery? In his “refreshingly lucid” (The New York Times) bestseller How...

Jessica Green

CEO of Phylagen, Inc. | TED Senior Fellow

How can we create sustainable cities and healthier buildings—including classrooms, hospitals, offices, and homes—by studying microbes? TED Senior Fellow Jessica Green explains how in visually rich tal...

Mitchell Joachim

TED Fellow and Urban Designer

Architect and designer Mitchell Joachim tackles the urban issues redefining our built environments and cities: his work boldly reassesses the way humans live together in the 21st Century. In mind-bending talks, shares the ground-breaking work and disruptive ideas that will make that future a reality. 
 
Kavita Shukla

Founder & CEO of The FRESHGLOW Co.

Kavita Shukla is the groundbreaking social entrepreneur behind FreshPaper, a biodegradable paper that creates a brilliant solution to the global issue of food waste. Shukla’s ingenuity makes her an inspiration for young entrepreneurs, women in business, and social innovators alike.  
Bill McKibben

Author of The End of Nature | Leading Environmental Speaker and Founder of 350.org

Of all the challenges the planet faces, none is as large as its fast-heating climate—and no one has worked longer or harder than Bill McKibben both to document and fight that ever-growing crisis. 
 
Dr. Jennifer Gardy

Deputy Director of Surveillance, Data & Epidemiology for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation | Guest Host of The Nature of Things

Dr. Jennifer Gardy is the charismatic champion of science that we need today. Called “the Next Suzuki” by the Globe and Mail, Gardy unveils a fundamental truth that has resonated with audiences in eve...

Steven Pinker

Author of Enlightenment Now and The Better Angels of Our Nature

Steven Pinker asks the big questions about human progress—and sets out, in public, to answer them. In 2018’s Enlightenment Now, Pinker argues that, despite the headlines, the world is getting better, ...

Tarah Wheeler

Cybersecurity Expert | Author of Women in Tech

Cybersecurity attacks are doubling every year. Phishing scams are at an all-time high. These days, it isn’t an IT flunky answering for security breaches, it’s CEOs and business owners, non-tech professionals who need clear, actionable guides and information on how to secure themselves and protect their customer’s data. Enter Tarah Wheeler: one of America’s leading cybersecurity experts.
 
Greg Gage

TED Speaker | Neuroscientist | Cofounder and CEO of Backyard Brains

Greg Gage is starting a neuro-revolution—or “neuroscience for the 99%.” That means affordable, DIY labs in classrooms around the world. From his live experiments on the TED stage (now with over 8 mill...

Vijay Gupta

Founder of Street Symphony | 2018 MacArthur Fellow | TED Senior Fellow

Vijay Gupta is a violinist and educator whose efforts to merge music with mental health are changing the world, note by note. Named a 2018 MacArthur Fellow for “providing musical enrichment and valuab...

Janna Levin

Author of Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space

Janna Levin is changing the way we understand the cosmos. She brings originality, lucidity—and even poetry—to one of humanity’s oldest sciences. And in her book Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from O...

Maria Konnikova

Contributing Writer for The New Yorker | New York Times Bestselling Author

A New Yorker science writer who rocketed to poker stardom, Maria Konnikova is a brilliant decoder of why we make decisions—and how we can make better ones. And with a PhD in the psychology of risk per...

Lucianne Walkowicz

Astrophysicist | TED Fellow | Blumberg Chair in Astrobiology

Lucianne Walkowicz is an astrophysicist and multimedia artist. Her work delves into a question both scientific, and fundamentally human: what is the nature of life in the universe? In passionate and e...

George Kourounis

Host of Angry Planet | Royal Canadian Geographical Society Explorer-in-Residence

Royal Canadian Geographical Society Explorer-in-Residence George Kourounis travels to the most remote and inhospitable places on Earth to document extremes of nature and climate. Best known for his international TV smash, Angry Planet, Kourounis is a fantastic speaker and a vivid storyteller. 
 
Gina Kolata

New York Times Reporter for Science and Medicine; Author of Mercies in Disguise, Rethinking Thin, Ultimate Fitness, and Flu

Gina Kolata demystifies the science of personal health. The author of six books, including Mercies in Disguise, Kolata’s acclaimed writing and front page New York Times stories—on stem cell research, ...

Carl Schoonover

Neuroscientist and Author of Portraits of the Mind

Carl Schoonover became a neuroscientist because, simply put, he is fascinated by how the brain works. And he wants to share that enthusiasm (and his findings) with as large of an audience as possible....

Eric Klinenberg

Author of Palaces for the People and Going Solo

The future of cities and democratic societies rests not simply on shared values but on social infrastructure: the libraries, parks, schools, and civic organizations where crucial, sometimes life-savin...

Peter H. Diamandis

Chairman and CEO of the XPRIZE Foundation, Innovation Speaker

It’s very likely that the future of space exploration lies in the hands of Dr. Peter Diamandis. As co-founder of the XPRIZE Foundation, he oversaw the creation of the $10 million Ansari XPRIZE for com...

Heather Payne

Founder of Ladies Learning Code and HackerYou

Heather Payne is the founder of Ladies Learning Code, a national not-for-profit organization that runs popular workshops for women and girls, a traditionally underrepresented demographic in the programming world. Named one of Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network, she is revolutionizing our approach to technology, education, and entrepreneurship.  
Susan Pinker

Psychologist and Author of The Village Effect and The Sexual Paradox

Psychologist and award-winning author Susan Pinker is a seasoned observer of modern communication and social contact. Whether writing on gender differences, as in The Sexual Paradox, or on why face-to...

Margot Lee Shetterly

Author of Hidden Figures: the #1 New York Times bestseller, and inspiration for the #1 movie.

Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures—a #1 NYT bestseller and inspiration for a #1 movie in America—is the true story of the black women mathematicians at NASA who helped fuel some of America’s greate...

Laurence C. Smith

UCLA Climate Scientist and Author of The World in 2050

How will the combination of a booming global population, global warming, and rising sea levels transform the world? To Dr. Laurence C. Smith, one of the world’s leading climate scientists and author o...

Nina Tandon

CEO and Co-Founder of EpiBone, TED Senior Fellow

Nina Tandon is at the cutting edge of science where sci-fi meets reality. She works on growing artificial hearts and bones that can be put into the body, and studies the new frontier of biotech: homes...

John Elder Robison

Author of Look Me in the Eye and Switched On

John Elder Robison grew up with Asperger’s Syndrome, and was undiagnosed until the age of 40. He nevertheless lived an incredible life. A leading voice on autism, he implores audiences to find strengths where others see weaknesses.  
Nathan Wolfe

Expert on the spread of pandemics worldwide

The Indiana Jones of virus hunting, Nathan Wolfe travels the world to track, study, and eradicate the next pandemic before it strikes. One of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, this Vira...

Eyal Press

Author of Beautiful Souls: The Courage and Conscience of Ordinary People

A thoughtful young writer on issues of morality and politics, Eyal Press is the author of Beautiful Souls, a revelatory study of moral courage. On stage, he looks at the surprising factors that cause ordinary people to behave ethically—to stick to their conscience, to defy the sway of authority and convention—even when thrust into compromising situations.