Announcements and reports of events

TED Talk Online Friday!

TED Global 2012 Edinburgh

TED Global 2012 Edinburgh

I’m excited to announce that the video of the talk I gave at the TED Global conference in Edinburgh in June will be available for viewing on the TED website starting Friday morning, at 11 am ET.  I’ll post a link here when the video goes online!

My TED experience on St. John’s Website

St. John’s University has posted a story—featuring some quotes from an interview with me—about my TED experience on the school’s website.

Photos from TED Global 2012


Here are some photos of me in action on the TED main stage at TED Global!

TED Global 2012 Edinburgh

TED Global 2012 Edinburgh

TED Global 2012 Edinburgh

TED Global 2012 Edinburgh

TED Bookstore

The eight guest curators at the TED Bookstore

The eight guest curators at the TED Bookstore

The folks at TED invited me to be a “guest curator” of the bookstore onsite during the TED Global meeting next week. The bookstore stocks books by the speakers as well as those selected by a few guest curators. I put together a thematically connected list of ten books (fiction and non-fiction) and wrote up small blurbs about each one, as well as a brief “curation philosophy.” I decided to go for a fun list that reflected what I’ve been reading lately and a few old favorites, rather than something more scholarly and mundane. I’ll post the full list and the connection between them next week during the conference. As a taste, here’s the first book on my list:

1. Waterland, Graham Swift
Takes place in the Fen country of East Anglia, in bleak marshlands wrested from the sea—a sea that wants the land back. Spanning 240 years, the book weaves a tale of empire-building, sluice-minding, eel reproduction, brewing, incest and madness, adding up to a thoughtful reflection of the nature of history and memory. Both history and memory, like the sea, are fluid and ever-changing. A magical book.

I’ve also been asked to do a book-signing for The Philosophical Breakfast Club in the bookstore the morning after my talk. The TED bookstore will be seeing a lot of me!

Talk at Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum

I so enjoyed my visit to Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum. Although I lived in the Boston area for a number of years, I had never been, and it is lovely. I was thrilled to have a special tour of the grounds with landscape preservationist Maggie Redfern, who filled me in on the history of the grounds. The rain stopped just in time!

The azaleas were in full bloom!

The azaleas were in full bloom!

I also enjoyed my visit to the lovely library of the Arboretum—it was real a treat to see documents relating to E.H. Wilson’s plant expeditions in eastern Asia between 1907 and 1922. And my tour of the new Weld Research Center of the Arboretum was terrific—my interest was especially captured by their new, state-of-the-art 3-D microscope!

My talk on Wednesday night was well-attended and the Q & A was lively. Thanks to Ned Friedman, director of the Arboretum, and Pam Thompson, Manager of Adult Education, for the invitation and the hospitality!

Thursday I was thrilled to meet Sara Schechner, the Curator of the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments at Harvard. We had a great talk about early microscopes and telescopes. I’ll be going back to Harvard soon for some work with microscopes old and new with Sara and Ned.

The Philosophical Breakfast Club at TED Global This June!!!

I am incredibly excited to announce that I will be giving one of the famous 14-minute TED talks at the TED Global meeting in Edinburgh this June.

The theme of the TED Global meeting this year is “Radical Openness,” and the program reflects the eclecticism of that idea. I will be leading off Session 10, titled “Reframing,” which also features an artist (and President of the Rhode Island School of Design), a “computational architect,” a “femtophotographer” (photographs light), a musician, and a behavioral economist!

See the complete program here.

The organizers have put together a fabulous group—I am eager to learn from each and every speaker, and am thrilled to be able to share with the 900 attendees my story about the men who helped invent the modern scientist.

I’ll have more to say about TED Global and my preparations for it in the coming weeks.

Photos from Cambridge in America Event



I had such a fun time at the “Food for Thought” lunch at the Century Club on Thursday! The group of Cambridge alumni and their guests were so receptive to my story about another group of Cambridge alumni. The book seller at the event even ran out of copies of The Philosophical Breakfast Club!

Below are some photos from the event.





Coming this week….

. . . photos from my Cambridge in America event at the Century Club, possibly the video as well, and a really, really exciting announcement!

Tomorrow: The Philosophical Breakfast Club at the Century Association, New York City

Century Association

Century Association

I am looking forward to tomorrow’s “Food For Thought” luncheon and talk at the Century Association in New York City, sponsored by Cambridge in America. There is still time for Cambridge University alumni and guests to register at! For more information, and to register, see here.

Photos from Writing Biography Luncheon

I had a fabulous time yesterday at the Writing Biography Luncheon held on the campus of St. John’s University. The crowd was large and lively, the food was good, and I signed lots of copies of The Philosophical Breakfast Club!

Signing books before the presentation

Speaking about the trials and tribulations of writing biography

More books to sign afterwards!