TEDxUCSB Presents ‘Unveiling the New: In Pursuit of the Next’


Gwendolyn Wu
Staff Writer

Embarcadero Hall, the setting of Friday night Improvability and Saturday night Laughology, will be home to a different set of faces on Apr. 11. The Regents and Chancellor’s Scholars Association is hosting a series of TEDxUCSB talks, delivered by UCSB professors on topics in their field of study. This year’s theme is “Unveiling the New: In Pursuit of the Next.”

From 3-7 PM on Apr. 11, 100 audience members will get to hear five 18-minute presentations, accompanied by a complementary dinner. The speakers at the TEDx conference are Dr. Frank Doyle, chair of the chemical engineering department; Dr. Jason Raley, a professor with the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education; Dr. Diana Franklin, a professor in the computer science department; Dr. Thomas Scheff, a professor in the sociology department; and Dr. Victor Rios, also a professor in the sociology department. The event also featured Dr. Tamsin German, an associate professor in the psychology department, but due to a conflict, German will no longer be speaking.

For Doyle, the TEDx Talk he’s presenting dives into some of his own research, which spans biosystems and biomedical control in drug delivery. “I am going to speak about the work my group has been doing with engineering and clinical testing of the artificial pancreases for individuals with type 1 diabetes,” he said.

Similarly for Franklin, whose own work studies new memory technology and education/diversity in computer science, her TEDx Talk will concern her own research and analysis of how computer science should be introduced to primary school students. The talk, titled “Computing Education Research: Pushing the Borders of Computing Today to Educate the Innovators of Tomorrow,” focuses on three key areas: learning environments, big data research methods, and fundamental learning questions.

“Computing Education is fast becoming a critical societal need and a core research area within computer science,” said Franklin. “Efforts by the White House and code.org have raised awareness that computer science will be an essential component of most disciplines and occupations. Yet high school or college may be too late to develop the depth of skills across the breadth of students who need CS to innovate in the next generation. To understand how CS can be introduced earlier, we require basic research in how students of various ages learn computer science concepts.”

Previously, the TEDxUCSB organizing committee has hosted two TEDx conferences, in 2012 and 2014. The committee plans to host TEDxUCSB again in spring 2016.

According to the TED website, “TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). The TEDx Program is designed to help communities, organizations and individuals to spark conversation and connection through local TED-like experiences.”

TEDxUCSB gives members of the UCSB community a chance to gain more in-depth knowledge on these disciplines by allowing them to listen to lectures from and interact with distinguished faculty. For the lecturers, it gives them the opportunity to share their thoughts and work with the public in a dynamic setting, intriguing audiences who may not have been initially interested in the subject. While only 100 people will be in attendance at TEDxUCSB, following TED Talk tradition, all of the talks will be available on YouTube after the event.

“I find the venue of TEDxUCSB to be a very exciting one to talk about this work,” said Doyle. “The UCSB undergraduates are an incredibly talented group, and it will be great to share our latest work.”

Gwendolyn Wu is a third year double majoring in history and sociology, and is the 2016-2017 Executive Content Editor of The Bottom Line. She grew up in the San Fernando Valley and attended Cleveland High School, and is interested in pursuing journalism as a career. When not poring over history books, she's watching Cutthroat Kitchen and mentoring first year students.