TED Fellows and Senior Fellows have just opened TED2015 with a bang in the beautiful Kay Meek theatre in Vancouver. In the first session, discover: how bacteria can be programmed to detect and treat cancer, a yellow legal pad that smuggles transgressive data into the halls of power, what makes non-state armed groups tick, hyperactive supermassive black holes — and much more.
East African singer Somi sets the mood for the TED2015 Fellows talks with Abbey Lincoln’s “Should Have Been,” accompanied on double bass by Jodi Proznick. (Read more about Somi and her album The Lagos Music Salon on the TED Blog.
There are more bacteria in our bodies than stars in our galaxy, says bioengineer Tal Danino, and they are an integral part of our health. But did you know that we can program bacteria as though they were computers? Danino first engineered bacteria to produce fluorescent proteins in a rhythmic fashion, and generated a molecule that allows bacteria to communicate and synchronize. Danino next turned his attention to using programmable bacteria to detect and treat diseases like cancer. He programmed a bacteria to alert to the presence of liver cancer by producing a molecule that changes the color of urine in cancer’s presence. Another bacteria can be programmed to produce molecules that cause tumors to shrink. Danino also produces beautiful works of art using bacteria engineered to form complex patterns; he shows an image of a colorful and intricate mandala, a symbol of the universe, that speaks to the power and beauty of the invisible.
Some people are moved by sunsets, weddings, a child’s birth. But for artist Sarah Sandman, marching band parades make the tears flow. Why? It’s the magical togetherness of people moving in sync that pulls her heartstrings, she says. An artist who designs ways to bring people together, Sandman cares less about personal expression than about creating human connection, “extracting a collective voice.” Her projects have included designing black hand-shaped protest signs with her HOSTOS South Bronx students to join the Hands Up, Don’t Shoot movement, Human Scrabble games where total strangers race to form words together, and Gift Cycle — in which she and her collaborator rode 75 miles a day from community to community all the way across the United States, carrying local art from one location to exchange with artists in the next community. A narrative of togetherness emerged, unexpected acts of kindness, fun, and generosity — building social capital through the sweat of altruism.
To read the full recap, visit the TED Blog >>>