TEDxASU event to showcase 'Innovation Worth Sharing'

By

Emma Greguska

Electricity, cellphones and the internet are just a few examples of tools we use every day that have become indispensable to modern life. None of them would have been possible without the sharing of knowledge and revolutionary ideas that make innovation possible.

Arizona State University students and faculty who have made a meaningful impact on the world will speak to a crowd of more than 600 guests about their contributions at the second annual TEDxASU event from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, March 22, at the Tempe Center for the Arts. (A research and entrepreneurship symposium begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by the first block of talks at 6:30.)

The theme this year is “Innovation Worth Sharing,” and speakers will present on a wide range of topics, including art, science, technology and education.

“Innovation is a mechanism through which we as a species accomplish new things, make ourselves better and create a better future,” aerospace engineering undergraduate Jaime Sanchez de la Vega said.

He will be speaking about his work with an ASU cubesat mission, for which he is building a satellite that will help scientists study urban heat islands by taking thermal images of various U.S. cities from space.

The independently produced event, operated under a license from TED, was organized by ASU students and is aimed at sparking dialogue and providing members of the university community a platform to share their passion, ideas and innovation with the world.

"You don’t have to be a genius to make the world a better place through innovation."
— Jaime Sanchez de la Vega, ASU aerospace engineering undergraduate

“It’s always a moment of pride when we see our students taking on innovative projects and bringing them to life,” said Sethuraman Panchanathan, executive vice president of Knowledge Enterprise Development and chief research and innovation officer at ASU.

“TEDxASU has been envisioned and implemented successfully by ASU students, which demonstrates their enterprising spirit. It aligns with ASU’s focus on empowering students to accomplish great things that benefit our communities.”

With a nod to the popularity of the internationally recognized TED Talks, ASU recently launched its own KEDtalks in the same vein, which feature ASU experts discussing things like the nature of risk, the plausibility of a weekend on the moon and the future of information security.

Knowledge Enterprise Development calls the talks a “bridge between your curiosity and what ASU researchers are exploring and discovering.”

Separate from that, TEDxASU was born out of TEDx, a program that supports independent organizers who want to create a TED-like event in their own community.

At Wednesday night’s event, topics to be discussed include autonomous decision-making systems; Arctic ice preservation and carbon dioxide emission; the future of multidisciplinary education; the next revolution in physics through biology; and the future of space exploration.

The venue will welcome more than 600 guests, compared with the 100 seats offered last year, marking significant growth.

“I hope it’s inspiring, especially for students like me,” de la Vega said. “I hope to demonstrate to them that even though I’m just an undergrad, my work can still make a meaningful impact on the world. You don’t have to be a genius to make the world a better place through innovation.”

The full roster of ASU speakers at TEDxASU 2017 include:

  • Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, executive vice president and chief innovation and research officer, ASU Knowledge Enterprise Development
  • Nancy Gray, professor, W. P. Carey School of Business, and founder, GrayMatter Creative
  • Klaus Lackner, director, Center for Negative Carbon Emissions, and professor, School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment
  • Danielle McNamara, senior research scientist, Learning Sciences Institute, and professor, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Sara Imari Walker, assistant professor, School of Earth and Space Exploration
  • Theodore Pavlic, assistant professor, School of Computing, Informatics and Decision Systems Engineering
  • Jessica Rajko, assistant professor, School of Film, Dance and Theatre
  • Meenakshi Wadhwa, director, Center for Meteorite Studies, and professor, School of Earth and Space Exploration
  • Steve Desch, professor, School of Earth and Space Exploration
  • Ariel Anbar, President’s Professor, ASU, and distinguished sustainability scholar, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability
  • Pat Pataranutaporn, undergraduate student, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Jaime Sanchez de la Vega, undergraduate student, aerospace engineering