DNA isn't the only builder in the biological world -- there's also a mysterious bioelectric layer directing cells to work together to grow organs, systems and bodies, says biologist Michael Levin. Sharing unforgettable and groundbreaking footage of two-headed worms, he introduces us to xenobots -- the world's first living robots, created in his lab by cracking the electrical code of cells -- and discusses what this discovery may mean for the future of medicine, the environment and even life itself. (This conversation, hosted by TED's Chris Anderson, was recorded June 2020.)
Your teeth carry secrets: centuries of history about your ancestors, from where they lived to what they ate and where they traveled. Bioarchaeologist Carolyn Freiwald traces the story of human migration across the Americas -- from Mayan royalty and Belizean buccaneers to rural Appalachian farmers -- to illustrate what ancient teeth can reveal about you.
What if tiny microparticles could help us solve the world's biggest problems in a matter of minutes? That's the promise -- and magic -- of quantum computers, says Matt Langione. Speaking next to an actual IBM quantum computer, he explains how these machines solve complex challenges like developing vaccines and calculating financial risk in an entirely new way that's exponentially faster than the best supercomputers -- and shares why industries should prepare now for this new leap in computing.
Astronomers once gazed upon the night sky and counted every star in the galaxy by hand. The process has evolved since then, but the thirst for celestial knowledge remains the same. Join astrophysicist Emily Levesque for an anecdote-rich jaunt through the technological history of photographing the cosmos and learn about the one constant that makes it all work: human curiosity.
Dec 4, 2020
In April 2020, epidemiologist-in-training Sophie Rose volunteered to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. As a young, healthy adult, she's offering to take part in a human challenge trial, a study where participants are intentionally exposed to SARS-CoV-2 to test vaccines and gather critical data. Explaining how challenge trials could speed up the development of effective vaccines, Rose shares why volunteering was the right decision for her.
Nov 20, 2020
Take a mind-blowing trip to the lab as TED Senior Fellow Andrew Pelling shares his research on how we could use fruits, vegetables and plants to regenerate damaged human tissues -- and develop a potentially groundbreaking way to repair complex spinal cord injuries with asparagus.
Nov 20, 2020
Venom can kill ... or it can cure. In this fascinating talk, marine chemical biologist Mandë Holford shares her research into animal venom, from killer sea snails to platypuses and slow lorises -- and explores its potential to one day treat human diseases like cancer. The mechanism behind this powerful substance is still mysterious, Holford says, but: "Someday, snail venom might just save your life."
Oct 29, 2020
Concrete is the second most-used substance on Earth (behind water), and it's responsible for eight percent of the world's carbon footprint. Cement researcher Karen Scrivener shares the research behind a pioneering new kind of cement known as LC3, which could slash carbon emissions from this crucial building material by 40 percent, if adopted at scale.
Oct 10, 2020
In the US, Black women are nearly 300 percent more likely to die as a result of childbirth than white women. Sharing appalling statistics on maternal mortality as well as her own tragic story of loss, Wanda Irving explains how racism and bias in health care minimizes and dismisses Black women's pain -- and makes a personal plea for leaders in the medical community to take steps toward reform.
Aug 27, 2020
Far-UVC light is a type of ultraviolet light that kills microbes and viruses and, crucially, seems to be safe to use around humans. Radiation scientist David Brenner describes how we could use this light to stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, in hospitals, nursing homes, trains and other public indoor spaces -- paving the way for a potentially game-changing tool in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. (This virtual conversation, hosted by TED science curator David Biello, was recorded July 7, 2020.)
Jul 24, 2020