TEDx at Cooper Union

April 11, 2012

James Hamilton and Tommy Coleman work on the eleven-foot-tall TEDx sign for 41 Cooper Square

James Hamilton and Tommy Coleman work on the eleven-foot-tall TEDx sign for 41 Cooper Square

On April 24, Cooper Union hosts its first ever TEDx conference. Organized by alumna and engineering faculty Nina Tandon, the conference will take on the theme of “Found in Translation” and highlight some of the most interesting members of Cooper Union's community as they present projects in the celebrated eighteen-minute TED talk format.

Besides its vernacular meaning of transposing writing or speech from one language to another, translation carries very different denotations in different contexts. In biology, for example, translation refers to a process of protein biosynthesis from messenger RNA, while in geometry it signifies a "rigid motion" and involves moving every point a constant distance in a specific direction. In sociology it is often used as a term associated with actor-network-theory, while in physics it involves changing the position of an object without rotating it.

Finding inspiration through the plurality of these meanings, Cooper’s Union’s TEDx has been shaped to highlight the institution’s foundational commitment to the dialogue between the disciplines of art, architecture and engineering. The conference will promote and employ lateral thinking to expose new connections and inspire innovation.

TEDx Cooper Union will take place in the Rose Auditorium of 41 Cooper Square. On the night of the event, alumnus and architect James Hamilton working with artist and staff member Tommy Coleman will transform 41 Cooper Square’s lobby into a lounge area to facilitate meetings and social interaction between talks.

The illustrious program includes presentation from environmentalist entrepreneur Ron Gonen, founder of RecycleBank and Healthy Planet, and Columbia professor and management guru Hitendra Wadhwa. Architecture alumnus Bradley Samuels, co-founding partner of Situ Studio, will speak with Princeton professor of geosciences Adam Maloof. Also presenting are Cooper engineering alumni like Pat McQuillan and Sangamithra Iyer with parallel creative professions—music in McQuillan’s case and nonfiction writing in Iyer’s. Arts alumni presenting who work in interdisciplinary ways include Kim Hollemen and Ryan and Trevor Oakes. Several current students will also give talks, including civil engineering senior Madeline Foster and interdisciplinary engineering senior Benji Strauss. Full biographies of speakers are available on the conference site.

Check back on Cooper Union's website for more news about the conference, and also visit the TEDx Cooper Union site.

Purchase tickets here: http://tedxcooperunion.eventbrite.com

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.