TED wields creative magic in NTU

Rachel Loi

— May 2nd, 2011, 10.21pm

TED wields creative magic in NTU

Dr. George Barbastathis talked about his "invisibility cloak" at TEDxNTU, a locally hosted event in NTU and modeled after the annual TED held in the US, on 26th March. Photo: TEDxNTU

Dr. George Barbastathis is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT and Faculty Resident with the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) Centre. Photo: TEDxNTU

If you thought the invisibility cloak existed only in the fictional world of Hogwarts, then as of last year, you were wrong.

Voted top 10 breakthroughs in Physics of the year 2010, the “invisibility cloak” was invented by Dr George Barbastathis and his team at the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) Centre.

Dr Barbastathis, and many other leaders in Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) spoke at TEDxNTU, a locally hosted event modeled after the annual TED held in the United States, on 26th March.

TED is an annual event that started in 1984, where speakers come together from various fields to share their ideas and expertise, and inspire the next generation. The event is broadcasted online via a live stream, so viewers from all over the world can tune in, no matter where they are from.

This global phenomenon has sparked over 750 events held in over 60 countries in 2010 alone.

TEDxNTU Founder and Curator, Mr Shankar Krishnamurthy, organised such an event right here in Nanyang Technological University (NTU). The speakers for TEDxNTU come from all sorts of professions, such as green technology, history, earthquakes, entrepreneurship, etc.

When asked about his selection process, Founder Mr Krishnamurthy, 23, said he used Google to find experts from different disciplines, who have dare to do what others have not. He also selected speakers who were not too well known, as he wanted to open up the podium for more people to share their ideas.

He hopes the wide selection of speakers can appeal to NTU’s mix of students from the numerous fields of study.

While Dr Barbastathis comes from the field of Physics, Mr Mark Cheng, co- founder one of the largest non-profit environmental charities in Singapore, Avelife foundation, is a young and successful entrepreneur. Also speaking at TEDxNTU is Dr Foo Check Teck, one of the world’s leading experts on the Sun Tzu Art of War strategy.

When asked about his selection process, Founder Mr Krishnamurthy, a postgraduate student at NTU, said he used Google to find experts from different disciplines, who have dare to do what others have not. He also selected speakers who were not too well known, as he wanted to open up the podium for more people to share their ideas.

He was inspired to hold a similar event in NTU after watching past TED videos online. “I was fascinated by global leaders sharing ideas on that forum,” he said, “It surprised me that the ideas were being spread for free.”

After approaching NTU with the idea last August, he was finally given the green light in January 2011. Then, the actual work started. He sent out application forms, and eventually formed a diverse team of undergraduates, postgraduates and alumni from different clubs and interest groups.

Despite a busy schedule, Mr Krishnamurthy is an activist with an long list of hosted campaigns under his belt. “I don’t need the CCA points, I’m a Masters student,” he told The Enquirer, “ I do this purely out of passion.”


About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 25 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives.

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.

TEDxNTU, a locally hosted event modeled after the annual TED held in the United States, on 26th March. You can read up more about their speakers here.


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