TED Talks That Would Make Great Teen Café Topics

We have put together a list of TED Talks that would make great Teen Science Cafés.

TED Talks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more.

Science of Baseball

Ricardo Valerdi explains how baseball can bring science, technology, engineering, and math to life for K-12 students.

Ricardo Valerdi is the Founder of the Science of Sport, a non-profit dedicated to making math and science more fun for kids through hands-on learning. He developed the Science of Baseball program for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and San Diego Padres; and the Science of Soccer for the Los Angeles Galaxy. He is an Associate Professor of Systems and Industrial Engineering at the University of Arizona and a Distinguished Visiting Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in the UK. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California.

Smelfies, and other experiments in synthetic biology

What if you could take a smell selfie, a smelfie? What if you had a lipstick that caused plants to grow where you kiss? Ani Liu explores the intersection of technology and sensory perception, and her work is wedged somewhere between science, design and art. In this swift, smart talk, she shares dreams, wonderings and experiments, asking: What happens when science fiction becomes science fact?


The Next Big Scientific Breakthrough

Throughout history, speculation has spurred beautiful, revolutionary science — opening our eyes to entirely new universes. “I’m not talking about science that takes baby steps,” says Eric Haseltine. “I’m talking about science that takes enormous leaps.” In this talk, Haseltine passionately takes us to the edges of intellectual pursuit with two ideas — one that’s already made history, and the other that’s digging into one of humanity’s biggest questions with admirable ambition (and a healthy dose of skepticism from many).


STEM Literacy

Do you need to be a scientist to be STEM literate? STEM education is critical in the modern world. Emily Calandrelli talks about the importance of STEM literacy, and recognizing the negative impacts of pseudoscience.

Emily is the producer and host of FOX’s Xploration Outer Space, new to television September 2014. She works to promote scientific literacy and women in STEM, and is passionate about technology policy, entrepreneurship, open innovation, and space exploration. Emily is a previous employee at NASA, and earned her Master’s degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Hands-On STEM Education

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Gordon Bourns is worried about the future of his company. He doesn’t think there will be enough qualified workers in the science, technology, engineering and math fields to fill positions. He is not alone, but he does have a solution; hands-on STEM education. In this inventive and interactive talk, Gordon shares some of these solutions.

Gordon Bourns is the son of Marlan and Rosemary Bourns, co-founders of Bourns, Inc. They started their company in their Pasadena, California garage in 1947. Mr. Bourns joined the family business in 1973. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board and CEO. Bourns, Inc. is a worldwide electronics corporation which produces more than 10,000 different products.

Mr. Bourns is Chairman of the Dean’s Council of Advisors for the University of California, Riverside and the Marlan and Rosemary Bourns College of Engineering. He is also a member and past Chairman of the Board of Visitors for California Baptist University, where he was awarded
an Honorary Doctorate Degree in International Commerce from the Robert Jabs School of Business. Mr. Bourns is the past President and CFO of the Woodcrest Christian School System, and Chairman of the Riverside Police Department Foundation. He also serves as a member of numerous Advisory and Director Boards around Riverside.

Mr. Bourns holds a B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the University of California, Irvine and an MBA in finance/marketing from the University of California, Los Angeles.


Brent Bushnell and Eric Gradman, co-founders of LA-based Two Bit Circus, energize their audience with the STEAM Carnival, a way to make entertainment more enriching and education more fun. Armed with the knowledge that the U.S. may be short as many as three million high-skills workers by 2018, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math need to get more interesting in order to attract students to those fields of study. Bushnell and Gradman share their stories about how the need for art and creativity drove them from their “real jobs” to a job they can’t get enough of.


No More M in STEM

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. In his talk, David Brown will introduce you to a friend of his, a regal and inspiring being whose tutelage has given him more chances to improve than all the self-help books in any bookstore—math. Math is misunderstood, and the root of this misunderstanding is unfortunately as deep as a dandelion’s and its effects are as insidious as racism or ignorance when they are given the power to adjudicate or direct policy. Dave will deliver a message that, if heeded, will change the shape of things to come in every facet of human life from culture to education.

David Brown earned his PhD in Applied Mathematics from the University of Colorado Denver. Before the path to a doctorate in math, David majored in both Math and Philosophy and was a competitive bodybuilder who earned several titles in his teens and early twenties. Now, David has aspirations of becoming a mathematician with skills sharp enough to contend with his colleagues here at USU and from afar, and to cut through the reservations, fears, doubts, and misconceptions his students have about math and their talents for it.


Your Personality and Neuroscience

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. We all have a unique personality, but we also show up to others in ways we don’t know. Understanding how our brains become consciously aware of ourselves, and in turn, everyone else teaches how we can connect, adapt and ultimately influence others. It all starts with knowing when we are truly self-aware, and when we aren’t, how to get there quickly and easily.

Scott Schwefel built and sold Minnesota’s largest technology training company. To get there he used personality assessments to help his people understand each other and understand clients and customers. His study of personality led to an awareness of brain science and how our brains enable us to communicate with each other. Scott has taught these principles of brain science and communications techniques throughout North America, Europe and Asia, and to over 1300 CEOs globally.