TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a nonprofit that has gained global notoriety for its annual conferences in the United States and Europe focusing on what it calls “ideas worth spreading.”
Eric Berlow, director of UC Merced’s Yosemite Field Station, will get to take part in one of those conferences as one of an eclectic, international group of 23 TED Fellows for TEDGlobal 2010 at Oxford, England, July 12-16.
“I feel extremely privileged to attend TED as a fellow,” Berlow said. “TED is great because it rewards thinking big and thinking weird, so I’m going with a wide open mind ready to engage in new ideas. I’m very much hoping to be inspired by people who have successfully taken alternative paths in life and am hoping to make collaborative connections with creative people outside of academia.”
In addition to participating as full members of the TEDGlobal conference audience, each fellow will participate in a two-day pre-conference, where they will receive world-class communication training, deliver a short “TEDTalk” and collaborate with their peers. The fellows will also tell their stories on the TED Fellows blog and contribute to TEDx events in the year following the conference.
The TEDGlobal 2010 fellows hail from a variety of geographic locations, from Venezuela to Ghana to Brazil to Costa Rica to Sri Lanka to Yemen, and are pioneers breaking new ground in disciplines as diverse as technology, engineering, programming, biology, genetics, environmental science, filmmaking, photojournalism, architecture, music, poetry, entrepreneurship and activism.
Berlow was chosen after an extensive application and interview process in which he impressed organizers with his ideas on the interconnectedness of nature. As an ecological networks scientist, Berlow tries to take a big-picture view that embraces the complexity of nature to find new, simple patterns and solutions that would not otherwise have been discovered had the parts been studied in isolation.
For example, Berlow is currently working with other scientists to help protect the Yosemite toad from extinction by analyzing the park’s breeding meadows as a distribution network, identifying key meadows that may serve as population hubs.
“Every species is connected to every other species in an ecosystem due to things like feeding and other interactions,” Berlow said. “Those interactions can be studied like a network, like one might study the structure of the Internet or of social interactions.”
In addition to his work for UC Merced, Berlow is co-owner of a green business in Oakland. His other projects include creating a small creative incubator retreat in the eastern Sierra and working on a sustainable, “positive-impact” ecotourism project in the Arctic.
4 years ago