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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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David Fajgenbaum

Author of Chasing My Cure | Co-founder and Executive Director of the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network

How do you deal with a pressing challenge when the clock is running out? For DR. DAVID FAJGENBAUM, that challenge was his own incredibly rare condition with no known cure—top experts had no answers and he was read his last rites—but then, he tried to cure it himself. In his fascinating, one-of-a-kind memoir Chasing My Cure, Fajgenbaum shares the urgency of his unparalleled perseverance in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. His remarkable story shows what can happen when chance, love and resilience collide. 
Danielle Wood

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

Science speaker 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. 
Susan Hockfield

President Emerita of MIT | Author of The Age of Living Machines

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 science 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.
 
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, science speaker David Eagleman—“the hottest thing in neuroscience” (The Times)—reveals how any organization can adopt a more innovative mindset by decoding how the mind actually works. In talks, he helps us embrace risk and failure, empower our employees, and build truly creative companies.
 
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, science speaker Boroditsky examines the timely overlap of language, intelligence, and human behavior.
 
Dan Riskin

Evolutionary Biologist | Former Co-Host of Daily Planet

To evolutionary biologist, TV host, science speaker, 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.
 
Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

Author of Everybody Lies | New York Times Op-Ed Writer | Former Google Data Scientist

In his New York Times bestseller Everybody Lies, science speaker 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.
 
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 science 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? 
 
Scott Barry Kaufman

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

Scott Barry Kaufman is a groundbreaking psychologist and science speaker expanding our definitions of creativity, self-actualization, wellness, and intelligence: “a force of nature,” says Angela Duckworth (Grit). A Professor of Psychology at Columbia University’s Barnard College and the author of Wired to Create, Kaufman helps all kinds of minds lead creative, fulfilling, meaningful lives.
 
Heather Berlin

Cognitive Neuroscientist | Host of Startalk All-Stars with Neil DeGrasse Tyson

A cognitive neuroscientist and host of StarTalk All-Stars with Neil DeGrasse Tyson, science speaker Dr. Heather Berlin shows that by understanding the inner workings of our brains—what they’re good (and bad) at—we can discover solutions to some of our most common professional, creative, and social challenges, making us more productive, innovative, and in-control.  
Jared Diamond

Pulitzer Prize Winning Author of Guns, Germs, and Steel, Collapse, and Upheaval

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). Now, this leading science speaker reveals a brilliant new theory of how and why some nations recover from traumatic crisis and others don’t—and how we as individuals can learn from this.
 
Edward O. Wilson

One of the World’s Most Distinguished Biologists

Science speaker 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 from this legendary Harvard biologist are both majestic overtures to all life on earth as well as eloquent pleas to government, corporate, and religious leaders to address the damage we have done to our planet. 
Alan Lightman

Theoretical Physicist and Novelist

Both a theoretical physicist and a novelist, science speaker 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. 
 
Bill McKibben

Author of New York Times Bestselling Falter and 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 environmentalist and science speaker Bill McKibben both to document and fight that ever-growing crisis. 
 
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 optimistic keynotes, full of sharp wit, common sense, and dazzling argumentation, science speaker Pinker makes the case for reason, science, and humanism. These Enlightenment ideals, in the face of tribalism, authoritarianism, and other modern dangers to democracy, are worth celebrating—and protecting.
 
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 and science speaker Jessica Green explains how in visually rich talks that chart the frontier of bio-inspired design.  
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 science speaker that we need today. Called “the Next Suzuki” by The Globe and Mail, Gardy unveils a fundamental truth that has resonated with audiences in every field: science is the invisible playbook that guides human progress—from new technologies to workplace issues to the hyper-competitive world of business.  
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 and science speakers.
 
David Kong

Director of MIT Media Lab’s Community Biotechnology Initiative

At the MIT Media Lab, science speaker 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 creativity to flourish—we need STEM to be inclusive: fusing tech with art, granting all people access to advanced science, and re-visioning what labs, classrooms, and companies look like.
 
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 Outer Space, she offers the authoritative story of the detection of gravitational waves: one of the most significant scientific discoveries of a generation. 
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. Author of the NYT-bestselling books The Confidence Game and Mastermind, Konnikova’s talks offer a fascinating lesson in how our performance at work can be improved by a deeper understanding of logical choices.  
Lucianne Walkowicz

Astrophysicist | TED Fellow | Blumberg Chair in Astrobiology

Lucianne Walkowicz is an astrophysicist and multimedia artist. In passionate and electrifying talks, Walkowicz sheds light on how the thousands of newly-discovered planetary systems might lead to the discovery of life beyond planet Earth, and how the future of our home world depends on our personal connection to science. 
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 greatest achievements in space. In talks, Shetterly celebrates these unsung heroes, teasing out issues of race, gender, science, and innovation against the backdrop of WWII and the Civil Rights Era.

 

 
Beau Lotto

Director of The Lab of Misfits

Why do we see the world the way we do? Professor, neuroscientist, and author Beau Lotto shows us that only by understanding our perception biases will we be able to create powerful change. A three-time mainstage TED speaker with over 7 million views, Lotto’s insights reveal how we can overcome our brains’ biases—and drive true adaptability, creativity, and innovation in the process.  
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, textiles, and videogames made of cells. Named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business, Tandon speaks on the future of healthcare and technology.  
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.  
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 million views!) to his appearances on CNN and Netflix, Gage is a brilliant scientist instilling a love for the brain in kids everywhere: a generation poised to cure neurological disorders and spearhead bio-infused design. 
 
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, new cancer treatments, exercise, cloning, and more—have influenced public policy and upended conventional wisdom. In talks, she relates it all to the bigger picture: what it means for you and your future.
 
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.  
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. Drawing on his new book, Palaces for the People, renowned sociologist and bestselling author Eric Klinenberg shows that when social infrastructure is robust, people are more likely to build ties with friends and neighbors and to invest in their communities. 
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.
 
John Maeda

Chief Experience Officer at Publicis Sapient | Author of How to Speak Machine (2019)

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. 
 
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. A TED Fellow mapping the line between art and science, he’s also the co-founder of NeuWrite, a collaboration between writers and neuroscientists.  
Nathan Wolfe

Expert on the spread of global pandemics | Founder of Metabiota Risk Management

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 Viral Storm author draws on his break-through discoveries to tell us where viruses come from, why they spread, and how to stop them. 
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 commercial spaceflight. An entrepreneur on the leading edge of science and technology, he speaks on disruptive innovation, motivation, and how to drive exponential growth.  
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-face contact should be a priority, as in The Village Effect, Pinker’s evidence-based insights help us improve the ways we work, play, and relate to each other.  
Laurence C. Smith

Brown University 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 of the award-winning book The World in 2050, the North is set for major gains. In sweeping talks covering demographics, climate science, and economics, Smith outlines the changes our world will face in both the distant and immediate future.  
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.