Mason professors promote ideas at TED Talk

Written by Fourth Estate Online Lifestyle Reporter Darlene Alegrado

Some of the most innovated ideas hide in plain sight.

TED, or Technology, Entertainment and Design, is a global community that is committed to presenting “ideas worth spreading.” While there are numerous videos on YouTube of these “ideas,” Mason students were treated to a live presentation.

On April 12, TEDxGeorgeMasonU gathered together at the Hylton Center at the Prince William County campus with nine dynamic speakers that took the stage to share their simple but revitalizing ideas. Tickets ranged from $15 to $30 and sold out before the event began.

The official TED website states that people of all backgrounds, disciplines and cultures are welcomed to seek and share “a deeper understanding of the world.” Additionally, TED is, according to the website, a “community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other, both online and at TED and TEDx events around the world, all year long.”

These TEDx events—where the x stands for independently organized event—are local and self-organized with the mission of bringing people together for an event akin to a TED experience. This allows creativity to flow on a TED equivalent stage, as long as certain principles are followed.

Speakers for this year’s TEDxGeorgeMasonU included Daniel N. Cox, Mary Lechter, Karyn E. Mallett, Linda Apple Monson, Mamta Patel Nagaraja, Michael (Doc Nix) Nickens, Nathalia Peixoto, Padmanabhan Seshaiyer and Amie Woods.

Speaker and bioengineering professor, Nathalia Peixoto, describes each talk as containing “one punch line” with an idea that is “super simple” yet revolutionary. Each talk did indeed begin and ended with a simple idea for the audience to discuss and apply to their life.

Each short but powerful talk was delivered in less than 20 minutes.

A wide range of topics were addressed from that of science and math to identity and diversity to the power of theater and fears of stage fright.

In addition to the intellectual adrenaline rush from each idea, interactive components kept the audience on the edge of their seat. Doc Nick played the tuba, Professor Monson played the piano and Dr. Mallett hosted a mini-game of guess that voice.

“It was really tough [preparing a talk] because it is the simplest take home message to give that would still change somebody’s life,” Professor Peixoto said.

Her topic was titled “Dating and Engineering.” She believes that failure is not the end; in fact, it is the beginning. Things grow, develop and inevitably change; this is not unusual, in fact, it should be encouraged. Her lasting advice to the audience was “Don’t marry your first idea.”

TED has influenced over 130 countries with 1200 cities hosting a TEDx event. This was the third consecutive year for TEDxGeorgeMasonU.

While TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, it could be seen that the x could stand for each talk’s x-factor: a hard-to-define quality or influence, a special quality that lasts longer than the talk’s 20 minutes of fame.

TED is a nonprofit organization that aims to spread pivotal ideas, shared through short, powerful talks. Every talk strives to show how thinking in a creative and unique way can influence others to change their mundane attitudes, ordinary lives and, ultimately, influence the world.

(Photo courtesy of GameDesk)