PopTech 2010 schedule


  • Adrian Owen: Search for Consciousness

    by Adrian Owen

    What if you were completely conscious but couldn’t move or speak? Neuroscientist Adrian Owen and his team have been using brain-imaging techniques to determine levels of consciousness in vegetative patients. By giving simple commands and then measuring brain activity, Owen has learned some patients are completely aware despite being entirely unable to communicate or move their limbs.

  • Amishi Jha: Building Attention

    by Amishi Jha

    Amishi Jha is a brain scientist who is working on ways to train brains to pay better attention. How can mindfulness training help people in high-stress situations - from medical staff to soldiers - better navigate their challenging environments?

  • Ben Goldacre talks Bad Science

    by Ben Goldacre

    Author of the Guardian’s weekly ”Bad Science” column and Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks, British physician Ben Goldacre dismantles the questionable science behind an assortment of drug trials, court cases, and events of our time.

  • Colin Rich's Near Space Images

    by Colin Rich

    Colin Rich captures fantastic images of the world from 24 miles in space. He creates his amazing videos and still photographs with simple system that includes high-altitude weather balloons, hacked video cameras and a GPS system to track the cameras wherever they land.

  • David Eagleman on Possibilianism

    by David Eagleman

    Neuroscientist and best-selling author David Eagleman introduces the concept of Possibilianism, a new philosophy that simultaneously embraces a scientific toolbox while exploring new, unconsidered uncertainties about the world around us.

    Coverage video

  • Deborah Kenny's fixing education

    by Deborah Kenny

    Deborah Kenny wants to scale the effective programs her organization, Harlem Village Academies, has produced. By avoiding previous, well-intentioned, failures and by providing teachers and students with empowering tools, she wants to get what’s working for her schools in every US school—and she encourages all of us to get involved.

  • Elizabeth Dunn: Happiness and Money

    by Elizabeth Dunn

    Elizabeth Dunn conducts experimental research on self-knowledge and happiness with a focus on how people can more effectively use their money to increase well-being. Dunn determined that by rethinking how we spend our money, we can “change the world, increase our happiness, or win a game of dodgeball.”

  • Gale McCullough Citizen Scientist

    by Gale McCullough

    Gale McCullough was looking at photos of whales on Flickr and spotted markings of one she recognized from a photo taken three years and 6,000 miles apart. She confirmed the match through marine laboratory Allied Whale’s database, earning the moniker “citizen scientist” for her discovery that these whales travel enormous distances in their lifetimes.

    Coverage video

  • Gidon Eshel: The Impact of Food

    by Gidon Eshel

    Gidon Eshel is a statistician who grew up working on a dairy farm on an Israeli Kibbutz, a combination that’s led to a deep knowledge of how what we eat affects our planet. His finding: a meat-based diet far exceeds the carbon emissions of a plant-based diet – meaning that most people’s usual way of eating – the Mean American Diet – is truly “MAD.”

    Coverage video

  • Heather Knight's Robot Theater

    by Heather Knight

    Heather Knight knows robots. A PhD student at Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute and co-founder of Syyn Labs, Knight staged a live robot theater performance for the PopTech audience.

  • Justin Gallivan: Custom Bacteria

    by Justin Gallivan

    2010 Science and Public Leadership Fellow Justin Gallivan is amazed by bacteria. You can get them to do almost anything. For instance, e. coli bacteria can be programmed to eat atrazine, a widely used herbicide that contaminates ground water. The key? Being able to program them to solve pressing eco-challenges.

    Coverage video

  • Kathryn Schulz: Being Wrong

    by Kathryn Schulz

    Kathryn Schulz is an expert on being wrong. The journalist and author of “Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margins of Error,” says we make mistakes all the time. The trouble is that often times being wrong feels like being right. What’s more, we’re usually wrong about what it even means to make mistakes—and how it can lead to better ideas.

  • Kevin Starr: Lasting Impact

    by Kevin Starr

    Kevin Starr, Mulago Foundation director, looks for the best solutions to the biggest problems in the poorest countries. He thinks all projects need to answer four questions: Is it needed? Does it work? Will it get to those who need it? Will they use it correctly when they get it? Too many bad ideas are using up our limited resources and that needs to change.

  • Matthew Berg: Mobiles for Health

    by Matt Berg

    Matt Berg helped create and pilot ChildCount+, a mobile-phone-based health platform that empowers communities in Africa to improve child and maternal health. Matt also trains local programmers at the Rural Technology Lab, with a goal to advance the health of millions while decentralizing the software development process.

    Coverage video

  • Orlagh O'Brien: Illustrating How You Feel

    by Orlagh O’Brien

    Designer Orlagh O’Brien gave a simple emotion-specific quiz to a group of 250 people. Asking respondents to describe five emotions – anger, joy, fear, sadness, and love – in drawings, colors, and words, O’Brien ended up with a set of media she used to create Emotionally}Vague, an online graphic interpretation of the project’s results.

  • Patrick Meier & Josh Nesbit: The Haiti 4636 Story

    by Josh Nesbit and Patrick Meier

    The PopTech 2010 talk from Patrick Meier, director of crisis mapping at Ushahidi, and Josh Nesbit, executive director of Medic Mobile (formerly FrontlineSMS: Medic). They describe their organizations’ collaborative response to the Haiti earthquake using text messaging, mobile mapping, and a cadre of dedicated volunteers.

  • Pieter Hoff's Groasis waterboxx

    by Pieter Hoff

    Dutch bulb grower, Pieter Hoff has an idea about how to make deserts bloom: capture the humidity in the air, store it in a box, and use that condensation to water plants. He calls this box the Groasis waterboxx and he thinks it can change how we feed the world and reduce greenhouse gases.

    Coverage video

  • Raj Panjabi: Post-Conflict Health

    by Raj Panjabi

    After surviving Liberia's civil conflict, Raj Panjabi co-founded Tiyatien Health to tackle the triple threat facing health care in post-war countries: a battered public sector, workforce shortages and rampant poverty. Pioneering a community-based health system, TH serves as a scalable, public sector model for achieving equity in health.

  • Riley Crane: Crowdsource win

    by Riley Crane

    Riley Crane, a postdoctoral fellow at the MIT Media Lab, found out about the DARPA Red Balloon Challenge four days before it started (find ten balloons placed in ten different locations around the country). Four days, eight hours, and 52 minutes later his team had won the competition. Watch him talk about how they did it and the challenges they encountered in the process.

  • Simon Hauger and Azeem Hill on building bad-ass hybrids

    by Azeem Hill and Simon Hauger

    The West Philly Hybrid XTeam came this close (thumb and forefinger ever so narrowly spaced) to winning the Progressive Automotive XPRIZE’s $10 million prize this year. Simon Hauger, who came to teaching from a career in engineering, started the team as an afterschool project for students who wanted a hands-on science experience. Hauger and team co-captain Azeem Hill, a senior at West Philly, share their XTeam story.

    Coverage video

  • Sound and science with Jad Abumrad

    by Jad Abumrad

    From crayfish hairs to monkey neurons, Radiolab host and producer Jad Abumrad shares examples of how sound has been used to make scientific strides. Along the way, he explains how audio can convey failure or express error.

    Coverage video

  • Stephanie Coontz: On Marriage

    by Stephanie Coontz

    What makes an ideal marriage? Stephanie Coontz, a professor of history and family studies and author of “Marriage, A History: How Love Conquered Marriage,” says that marrying for love is a radical idea. Ironically, as marriage is becoming a more emotionally satisfying relationship, it is also becoming less stable as an institution.