Saturday, November 11, 2-6 pm

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[Panoptic] adjective | pan-op-tic | \pa-'näp-tik\.
  1. 1. Being or presenting a comprehensive or panoramic view.

The theme of TEDxPrincetonU 2017 is PANOPTIC. From social entrepreneurship to theoretical astrophysics, PANOPTIC vision encapsulates integration and progress. Join us on November 11th as we explore how a PANOPTIC view might foster learning, inspiration and wonder – and provoke conversations that matter.


“Beyond Big Data”

Matthew J. Salganik
Professor of Sociology at Princeton University and author of Bit by Bit: Social Research in the Digital Age

I’ll describe the tension between readymade data (big data) and custom-made data (with which social scientists usually work). I’ll illustrate this with an analogy to art: comparing Duchamp (Fountain) and Michelangelo (David). Then, I’ll provide an example of hybrid study that uses both. Finally, I’ll conclude with the main point which is that the future of social research in the digital age is part readymade and part custom-made. The defining image is David with a urinal on his head.

“The False Dichotomy of Legalization And Criminalization”

Kevin A. Sabet
Drug policy advisor to three US presidential administrations

Harnessing more than two decades of policy experience across three different presidential administrations, Dr. Sabet, 38, combines humor with science, wit with clarity, and pragmatism as he asks: Is marijuana the next Big Tobacco? Dr. Sabet will go through the latest developments over the battle to legalize marijuana, and will review the latest science about the drug – highlighting why science and policy are often disconnected. Dr. Sabet makes the claim that our greatest concern about the recent wave of marijuana legalization should be the inevitable rise of a second Big Tobacco industry. His presentation concludes with an overview of our policy options, describing a smarter, science-based approach to marijuana policy that neither legalizes marijuana nor demonizes its users. You will hear more about marijuana, and more about marijuana policy, the health effects of the drug, and the current political landscape in this presentation than you likely ever have.

“What Slay and Swagger Reveal About the World of Athletics”

Melana Hammel
A student-athlete majoring in computer science

What does the language we use to describe an athlete’s attitude tell us about how we perceive them? In this talk, Hammel examines how the phrases “slay” and “swagger” give us new insight into the nuances of female empowerment, hypermasculinity, and gender expression in athletics.

“You Are What You Watch”

Anhar Karim
Senior at Princeton University in the Religion Department

Anhar Karim loves watching movies and tv shows. In fact he could have probably picked up a minor in it if such a thing existed. But beyond looking to be entertained for an hour or two, he opens his eyes to a critical reading of everything he sees. In particular, Anhar has researched and studied the depiction of Muslim characters on screen. Muslims on screen or quite plentiful, but they are also all sociopaths, murderers, and terrorists. But that doesn't really change people's minds right? Everyone knows the fact that the vast majority of Muslims are not terrorists and an hour of Homeland won't change a thing. Anhar presents you with his argument for why that might not necessarily be true, and urges you to become a responsible consumer of fiction entertainment.

“Are we hearing the best ideas at the table?”

Simon Cullen
Posdoctoral Research Fellow at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute

To participate in classroom discussions, most the world’s 1.3 billion students must raise their hands and hope to be called on. This requires students to move their hands through a distance that, collectively, would stretch almost all the way to the sun -- roughly 75 million miles -- every single year. However, despite the interplanetary effort involved, all this hand-raising does little to promote equitable and productive discussions. Simon Cullen and his collaborators hope to radically transform how students and others experience group discussions worldwide. In this TEDxPrinceton talk, he will explain how.

“The Ethics of Traveling”

Christoph Winter
Graduate Student at the Faculty of Law at Humboldt- University to Berlin

Tourism contributes to 9% of the global GDP and accounts for one in eleven jobs worldwide. It affects the people living in the regions we explore as backpackers, more conventional tourists or exchange students. Travelling also has a significant impact on us as we are facing issues and opportunities we wouldn’t experience at home. Yet, while the United Nations World Tourism Organization is already pushing for a “universal right to tourism”, we rarely engage in the ethics of travelling. We may ask ourselves, whether we should stay in some local guesthouse rather than in a Western hotel chain and whether we should really be celebrating when our bargaining skills finally get us the 50% discount. However, a much more important question seems to be entirely neglected: where we ought to travel to in the first place?

“The Degree is Dead”

Sergio Marrero
Serial Entrepreneur, Facilitator and Researcher

In his presentation Sergio Marrero talks about the latest trends in higher education, the impact of education debt on our society, and their startup's journey to increase access to learning for all. On their journey they uncovered trends revealing the degradation of the degree and identified technologies that are beginning to redefine our learning systems. Sharing their story, Sergio shares how empowering early stage entrepreneurs hold the potential for increasing access to learning and opportunity for all.

"Stardust: Making The Fame Economy Work For You”

Zack O'Malley Greenburg
Senior Editor of Media & Entertainment at Forbes Magazine

What do Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Alba and Dr. Dre have in common? They’re all experts at monetizing their celebrity status. And in the talk, "Stardust: How To Make The Fame Economy Work For You," Greenburg will take what he's learned as the media & entertainment editor at Forbes—and writing books about Jay-Z and Michael Jackson—into actionable information that real people can use in their careers. He'll follow the evolution of celebrity income from the early days of Hollywood to the first major endorsement deals to today's trend of Kutcher and others leveraging their fame to invest in the startups reshaping the global economy. He hopes to have listeners leave his talk with a few pointers on how to improve their careers—and perhaps even make the world a better place—like a superstar.

“Self Worth Theory: The hidden key to understanding and overcoming procrastination”

Nic Voge
Senior Associate Director of Princeton University’s McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning, and author of “Life Beyond Grades”

Nearly 80% of college students report that procrastination is a significant issue for them. Procrastination is not a matter of mere “laziness” and the solution is not simply “better time management”. Could it be that procrastination is actually a highly effective strategy for self-protection and that’s why we continue to do it? In this talk, Nic unravels the surprising and perplexing motivational dynamics underlying our procrastination that lead so often to disengagement and burnout. Illustrated with examples drawn from two decades of coaching students, he introduces self-worth theory of motivation, a powerful research-based conceptual framework for understanding and overcoming procrastination, avoidance, and over-commitment.


“Internet Voting? Really?”

Andrew Appel

In this heated election year, Dr. Appel explores the history of voting and voting fraud as we have transitioned from paper ballots to mechanical voting machines. What does the future of voting and voting security look like in the United States?

“The Inspiration Paradox”

Nusrat Ahmed

Why does Tumblr see an influx of love poems between 11pm and 2am? Why do we have major breakthroughs in the shower? Why did Sam Smith attribute his four Grammy wins to his previous heartbreak? Nusrat explores the different birthplaces of creativity, from mindfulness to sadness, and how we can apply our creativity to do good in the world.

“Sustaining Life with Genes & Proteins Designed ‘From Scratch’”

Michael Hecht

Proteins are molecular machines that catalyze the essential processes of life. Thanks to recent advances in synthetic biology, it is now possible to design entirely novel proteins encoded by fully synthetic genes. Some of these novel proteins provide life-sustaining activities in vivo. These findings suggest that (i) the molecular toolkit for life need not be limited to genes and proteins that already exist in nature, and (ii) novel life forms sustained by artificial genomes and proteomes may soon be possible.

“Virtual Reality Storytelling”

Kate Gardner

How is virtual reality (VR) changing the future of storytelling? Kate explores how viewers are drawn into an immersive story and why virtual reality will change the way future generations conceive of and produce stories.

“Education Through Football”

Bob Surace

Controlling the controllables to best handle adversity, emphasizing attitude to best improve the culture of our team, and creating an obsessive competitive environment that puts the focus on personal best.

“Why Art Should Still Engage the Inner Life”

Hyeseung Marriage-Song

Art can be evidence of what is universal between humans—what brings us together across different cultures, language and even time. My art may engage the intellect, but it is first and foremost designed to enrich the inner, emotional life of those who see it. And what a controversial proposition in this day and age.

“Taming Alcohol’s Dark Side”

Brooks Powell

Have you ever considered the ethics surrounding humankind's relationship with matter? Attempting to use matter for our own advantage, how does the opposite sometimes occur? Using alcohol as a case study, Brooks investigates the interesting relationship between humankind and matter by exploring the various control-based relationships one can have with alcohol.


What is TEDxPrincetonU?

At its heart, TEDx is about storytelling. TEDxPrincetonU provides a platform for the Princeton University community to share their ideas worth spreading. Filled with inspiration, innovative ideas, and passion, TEDxPrincetonU aims to bring a unique TED-like experience to Princeton’s campus. We strive to feature fascinating ideas to foster discussions, which we hope will spark new ideas and opportunities across a variety of disciplines.

Our work is supported by Princeton Social Innovation. Learn more about PSI here!

What is TEDx?

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxPrincetonU, where x = independently organized TED event. At TEDxPrincetonU, TEDTalks videos and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in our audience. TED provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized.

What is TED?

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 30 years ago, TED has grown to support its mission with multiple initiatives. The two annual TED Conferences invite the world's leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes or less. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sal Khan and Daniel Kahneman.

The annual TED Conference takes place each spring in Vancouver, British Columbia. TED's media initiatives include TED.com, where new TED Talks are posted daily; the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from volunteers worldwide; the educational initiative TED-Ed. TED has established the annual TED Prize, where exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world get help translating their wishes into action, TEDx, which supports individuals or groups in hosting local, self- organized TED-style events around the world, and the TED Fellows program, helping world-changing innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

Follow TED on Twitter, or on Facebook.


Contact the team @ TEDxPrincetonU

Or contact the co-directors directly @ Divyanshu Pachisia and Natalya Rahman