Just like every year since 2015, the TEDx Saclay community gets together to “help inspiring ideas blossom and create connections”. The topics vary from design to science or personal development. This year, the event took place at the Palais des Congrès Paris-Saclay and the chosen theme was “Cercles et Libertés” (circles and liberties).
"I got so many ideas while watching these talks"
I love TED talks and I often watch them on Youtube. I'd always dreamt of going to a live TED talk. So when the opportunity came up, I jumped at the chance of going.
The event was divided into two parts, first the Innovation Village and then the TEDx talks. In the village, there were presentations of the latest cutting-edge innovation in various sectors: medical, security, recycling and nutrition. There were so many incredible ideas in the village, all about making progress in the world, on an individual scale. I wandered around until it was time for the beginning of the talks. We took a seat in the big amphitheatre for a few hours, which flew by!
The American TED (Technology-Entertainment-Design) talk was created 30 years ago. Every year, talented people from all over the world come to talk about their passion.
TEDx is the wider community of TED. The 'x' means that the events are organised independently but still respect the core values of TED.
I won't give you the details of each talk, you can watch them on the TEDx Saclay website. I will just tell you about a couple of them that I was particularly impressed by.
First of all, the talk from Hervé Dole, astrophysicist and professor at the Université Paris-Saclay. His talk was called 'Dark matter, dark energy, the Universe and pizza!'. He arrived on stage dressed as a magician with a blue cape and pointed hat covered in planets and aliens. "I am going to prove to you that the Earth does not rotate, beware it'll be quick!" He jumped on the spot. He stayed on the carpet, QED. The audience burst into laughter. He then took on a more serious tone, and took off his cape and hat to tell us about the history of the Universe. Three of his students came onto the stage with a calendar that they unravelled as he gave his very funny explanations. After the Big Bang there were several 'months' where nothing in particular happened, until humans finally made an appearance on 31 December, at the end of the evening. Hervé Dole's explanations were superb and he managed to give a simple and funny presentation of a highly complex topic. I highly recommend this talk!
I'd also like to mention the talk from Adama Niang, coach in letting go through dance and movement. Her talk was a combination of dance, song and a speech that resembled a poem or fairytale. She told us about her childhood, about traumatic events and struggles. She illustrated her story with graceful movements and song lyrics. She sang with a deep and enchanting voice. The power of her performance was breathtaking. I thoroughly enjoyed this incredible performance. I absolutely recommend watching the video.
If you're looking for motivation, go and watch the talk from Alexandra Recchia, lawyer and four-times world karate champion. She really knows what she's talking about when it comes to pushing limits. If you want to see mathematics from a different angle, take 15 minutes to listen to Hugo Duminil-Copin, winner of the Fields award for 2022. He spoke about maths with a poem, almost a declaration of love. My last recommendation is for Pierre Citon's talk. He told us the story about getting his raclette machine repaired. I learnt a lot about repairing objects and the circular economy.
Whatever the topic, I think it's great to listen to someone talking about their favourite topic so passionately. That's what I love about the TEDx talks.
At the end of each talk, we eagerly awaited Eric Grelet's cartoon. He drew live, in front of the audience and his drawing captured an extract from the talk. I found his caricature of Hugo Duminil-Copin particularly funny, “There are three basic rules in mathematics, and the most important one is the fourth!”
Between two talks, the Innovation Village award was handed out. The winner was Happlyz Médical, who developed Lorio. A smart recorder that works like a video game. It is used to help recovery for people with respiratory disorders (asthma, mucoviscidose, etc.). Franck Rougeau, deputy mayor of Massy, in charge of economic development and innovation, came to announce the winner and was welcomed to a round of applause.
There was a surprise appearance from Grégoire Blanc, engineer from Arts et Métiers who played us the 'Thérémine'. This musical instrument looks like it has come straight out of a science fiction film and uses electronic signals to create sound. He took a while to set it up, but that's what a live event is all about. As soon as the music started, time stood still, nobody spoke. These extraordinary sounds almost resembled a voice. It was a fantastic experience.
The evening ended with a very moving speech from the presenter and organiser of the event, Assya Van Gysel. There was even an improvised karaoke session to Tina Turner's We Don't Need Another Hero. Everyone involved in the event and the TEDx Saclay team were all on stage for this wonderful moment.
She also announced the next TEDx Saclay events, one of which will be a women's only event. I can't wait!
I enjoyed this interesting and especially inspiring evening. I left the Palais des Congrès with plenty of ideas in my head for the future.
To see all the talks from this event: