TED Prize 2009

By February 06, 2009

Good news and something I don’t get ! All the big conferences have to have their prizes (Nobel Prize and so on). The Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) conference gives three prizes every year, and asks each recipient to make a wish. "Wishes big enough to save the world," proclaims TED. Ambitious. You will discover here (www.tedprize.org) the prizes of this year, their wishes, and the prizes of the previous years. The prize session has been very emotional this year. And a bit disappointing, at least to me, for one of the winners. Jill Tarter, from the Seti Institute, who has been doing research on extra terrestrial signs of life for a while now, received the first prize. And honestly, I do not really see how this is going to save the planet! Her speech was very inspired - almost ideological. I do not see the science there, and all this is not hot news. Yes, we have to consider ourselves as the resident of a Small Planet in a corner of the Milky Way, as she puts it. This could change our perspective. Is it enough to spend millions to look for other signs of life out there, while we are killing our own planet? Honestly, I do not buy it. But I may be wrong. What do you think?

I do not think I am the only one who did not buy it. Sylvia Earle, the fantastic oceanographer, who also received one of the three prizes, said in her very inspired speech to save the ocean that she hopes that there is some intelligence out there - among human beings - to save our planet from what we are doing to it.

But the most emotional prize went to Jose Antonio Abreu, the great Maestro from Venezuela, for his music school devoted to poor children: El Sistema. His speech was really inspiring for all the attendees and, to be honest, we were all crying after the short concert of his students. They were conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, a former student who is now very successfully leading the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. Even though they all were in Caracas, broadcasted live, the emotion was so intense… Education, in order to save the planet, definitely seems the number one solution, and the work of Maestro Abreu is really a masterpiece. Olé!

Credit photo: TED/Asa Mahat

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