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08/31/2012 07:00:00

"X" Marks the Spot

Mark your calendars: The next TEDxCaltech will take place on Friday, January 18, 2013.

The daylong event, titled TEDxCaltech: The Brain, will be held at Beckman Auditorium. Speakers, performers, and special guests will share their research, discoveries, and ideas—all having to do with the brain. Keeping with the spirit of the original TED talks, the presenters will each give the “talk of their lifetime” in 15 minutes or less as part of a fast-paced day that promises to be jam-packed with information.

“Themes of the day will range from how the brain is organized and what we know of its inner workings to how we learn, emote, and dream,” says Michael Roukes, the Robert M. Abbey Professor of Physics, Applied Physics, and Bioengineering, codirector of the Kavli Nanoscience Institute, and the event’s co-organizer. “We’ll also look into how brain-machine interfaces are giving new hope to the afflicted and how they might ultimately alter how we evolve as a species.”

In addition to these visionary talks, TEDxCaltech will feature artistic, musical, and comedic interludes, as well as opportunities throughout the day for the audience to mingle.

More than 1,000 local attendees—scientists, innovators, entrepreneurs, and civic leaders, along with Caltech faculty, students, alumni, staff, and community members participated in the first TEDxCaltech event in 2011. To date, the talks have received more than 1.6 million hits across all media. 

The inaugural event paid homage to Caltech’s own Richard Feynman, a trailblazing researcher and educator, and one of the most original thinkers of the 20th century. The day included presentations on quantum computing and the development of nanodevices, as well as performances by a Tuvan throat singer and an 11-time Grammy Award–winning jazz musician.

Details for this coming year’s event—including the schedule, presenters, and tickets—will be available shortly. For anyone interested in getting involved, TEDxCaltech organizers are looking for volunteers as well as applications from students and postdocs wishing to give a short talk.

“TEDxCaltech is a fantastic event for campus, and a great way to get involved with the Caltech community. There are many volunteer opportunities available, and we hope that everyone will consider participating,” says Mary Sikora, associate director of business operations for the Kavli Nanoscience Institute and the event’s co-organizer.

To find out more about TEDxCaltech: The Brain, visit

Written by Andrew Allan