Playlist: Blow My Mind

It goes without saying that TEDxSydney talks are engaging, thought-provoking, and enlightening on many levels. Here we bring together the talks that went one step further, and completely blew our minds. Ranging from quantum physics to the trainability of bees, from teens wise beyond their years to a genius performer with a well-kept secret, we think these talks are worth sharing for their sheer unexpectedness.

Mandyam Srinivasan: Vision, Robotics & Bees

Who knew that bees could be trained? Who knew that anyone would try? Mandyam Srinivasan’s TEDxSydney 2012 talk had the audience wide-eyed with delight at the very idea that these busy Anthophilae were quite so smart – but what clinched it was the speaker’s unbridled enthusiasm for (and deep knowledge of) his topic.

Michelle Simmons: Quantum Computation

We all know that science has come along leaps and bounds in a few short decades – but Michelle Simmons managed to get quite a few jaws to drop even among the well-read TEDxSydney 2012 audience with her extraordinary talk on next-gen computational physics. She managed to make most of us feel simutaneously brilliant (with her eloquent explanation of an incredibily complex topic) and thick as two short planks (when faced with the scope of her research team’s achievements). Most of all, she made us want the future to arrive faster. It’s going to be a cracker.

Marita Cheng: We need to teach our kids to be makers

Ah, Marita. Somehow she managed, in her less-than-5-minute TEDxSydney 2013 talk, to make us laugh, gasp, and nod along enthusiastically as she described her vision for getting more girls interested in engineering. And it was Marita who shared the classic (and since much-used) phrase from a participant of one of her RoboGals programs: Mind=Blown. Slide of the day.

Jake Coppinger: How I learned to improve technology

If Jake and his ilk represent the new generation of thinker and doers, we’re in good hands. When he had an idea to improve how we use computers, he turned to the internet and taught himself enough to create and build a prototype of the ‘Swirlesque’, a device which can control electrical devices with the flick of the wrist. Oh, and he was still in Year 10 when he presented his TEDxSydney 2014 talk.

Megan Washington: The thing is, I stutter

It was the end of a long day. We were expecting a bit of piano, a bit of a song. Then Megan Washington started talking. And what she had to say was so unexpected – and revealed so poetically, so eloquently – that you could hear a proverbial pin drop as she spoke. An extraordinary highlight of TEDxSydney 2014.

Curated by: Dominique Antarakis

Image of Mandyam Srinivasan by David Clare, First Light Photography

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