Confirmed speakers

  • Michael Mosley

    Self-experimenter and BBC TV Presenter

    Dr Michael Mosley joined the BBC in 1985 as a trainee assistant producer and over the ensuing 25 years has made numerous science and history documentaries, including Medical Mavericks, Blood and Guts, Inside Michael Mosley, The Young Ones, Inside the Human Body, The Truth about Exercise and The Genius of Invention. Following the success of his series Eat, Fast & Live Longer, popularising the 5:2 intermittent fasting diet, Michael co-authored a book called The Fast Diet in 2013.

    He has won numerous awards, including being named Medical Journalist of the Year by the British Medical Association in 1995.

    At the World-Changing Ideas Summit, Dr Mosley will be leading a panel of speakers with fascinating perspectives on the future of food and diet. He'll also describe his unique experiences scrutinising the insights, the myths, and the science of health and exercise.

    Michael Mosley
  • Rachel Armstrong

    Professor of Experimental Architecture - Newcastle University, UK

    Prof Rachel Armstrong is a 2010 Senior TED Fellow exploring an alternative approach to sustainability which she calls ‘living architecture’. Her new book ‘Star Ark: A living self-sustaining spaceship’ examines the cultural conditions needed for the construction of a living habitat within a space ship.

    At the World-Changing Ideas Summit, Prof Armstrong will explain how ecology – i.e. the conditions necessary for life - needs to be foremost in our approach to exploring, understanding, and eventually settling on other planets.

    Rachel Armstrong
  • Andrew Thomas

    NASA Astronaut (retired)

    After obtaining a Ph.D in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Adelaide, followed by several years working in the US aerospace industry, Dr Andrew Thomas was selected to join the NASA Astronaut Corps in 1992.

    His first flight into space was a 10-day science mission on board the space shuttle Endeavour in 1996.  This was followed in 1997 with a year undertaking cosmonaut training at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Russia, leading to a 20-week mission on the Mir space station in 1998.
    His third flight came in 2001, the first crew rotation mission to the International Space Station, and included a 6-hour space walk assembling components on the outside of the space station.

    Dr Thomas flew his fourth space flight, also to the space station, on the shuttle Discovery in 2005, the first return of the shuttle to flight following the tragic loss of the shuttle Columbia two years previously.

    As a professional astronaut he has logged more than 177 days in space. 

    At the World-Changing Ideas Summit, Dr Thomas will talk about these experiences and the future of human space flight.  

    Andrew Thomas
  • Yalda Hakim

    Anchor and Correspondent BBC World News

    Yalda Hakim is an award winning foreign correspondent and presenter of the flagship programme, Impact with Yalda Hakim on BBC World News. She joined BBC World News in December 2012 as an anchor and correspondent. She has also anchored the BBC’s flagship current affairs program ‘Newsnight’.
    Before joining BBC World News Hakim was the presenter of SBS Dateline in Australia. From a headline-making investigation in Afghanistan's Kandahar province to her reporting from Libya during the Arab Spring, Hakim has built up a wealth of journalistic experience around the world.

    Yalda Hakim
  • Kevin Corti

    Behavioural Scientist - Uber, San Francisco, USA

    Dr Kevin Corti is a scientist whose work has explored how humans converse with artificial intelligence. He completed a PhD in social psychology at the London School of Economics, where he partnered with Dr Alex Gillespie to investigate the consequences of human interaction with forms of artificial intelligence given actual human bodies through which to communicate. He is currently a researcher at Uber Technologies in San Francisco, California. At Uber, he and his team conduct research aimed at understanding user experience in every corner of the globe, and leverage big data to build features designed to enhance the safety of users and the cities in which they travel. 

    At the World-Changing Ideas Summit, Dr Corti will be talking about how A.I. will change us, as well as Uber's research work.

    Kevin Corti
  • Helen Christensen

    Director & Chief Scientist - Black Dog Institute, UNSW

    Prof Helen Christensen is Director & Chief Scientist of the Black Dog Institute at the University of New South Wales. Globally recognised for her work, and a vocal advocate for evidence informed policy to improve universal access to quality mental health care, she is exploring new ways technology can be used to detect mental health issues and to deliver therapies.

    At the World-Changing Ideas Summit, Prof Christensen will be discussing her current research, which focuses on how websites, apps, sensors, social media and Smartphone tools can be used as large-scale prevention and intervention programs for anxiety, depression and suicide.

    Helen Christensen
  • Jen Copestake

    Reporter and Senior Producer BBC Click

    Jen Copestake is a reporter and senior producer for Click, the BBC's technology news programme broadcast to millions of viewers around the world on BBC World News and on BBC 1's weekend breakfast show.
    Copestake has reported on a wide variety of stories for Click including: the tech helping Syrian refugees in Jordan; cryptocurrency developers work from a cyber-squat in Spain; travelling to the West Bank city of Hebron to meet a White Hat hacker who compromised Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook page; going on patrol with the sheriffs in Harris County Texas to see the latest policing tech and covered a White House sponsored conference on robots helping to contain the Ebola virus. She has produced and reported BBC Click specials from South Korea, Israel, Las Vegas, Barcelona & San Francisco.
    Copestake writes features for the BBC News website on technology and has appeared on Radio 5 Live, the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4, the BBC World Service and BBC Newsround.

    Jen Copestake
  • Richard Fisher

    Editor of BBC Future

    Richard Fisher is the Editor of BBC Future, which covers in-depth science, technology and health stories. He is an award-winning former feature and news editor at New Scientist magazine, with experience at the top levels of science and tech journalism spanning more than a decade. Fisher co-curated the editorial programme for the World-Changing Ideas Summit.

    Richard Fisher
  • Ron Garan

    Chief Pilot for World View Enterprises - Former NASA Astronaut

    Ron Garan is the Chief Pilot for World View Enterprises, a company that is providing a new perspective of our planet and is revolutionising access to space for communications technology, sensors and people. 

    Garan is a highly decorated pilot, explorer, entrepreneur, author, artist and humanitarian. As a NASA astronaut he travelled 71,075,867 miles in 2,842 orbits of our planet over 178 days. He flew on both the US Space Shuttle and Russian Soyuz spacecraft and logged over 27 hours in the vacuum of space during four spacewalks. He is also an aquanaut and participated in a record-setting exploration research mission held in Aquarius, the world’s only undersea laboratory. Garan is the author of the critically acclaimed book titled 'The Orbital Perspective'.

    Garan is also a serial entrepreneur and founded multiple business enterprises/social-impact focused start-ups including Manna Energy, which was created to leverage the $120bn/year Carbon Market to finance humanitarian projects.

    At the World-Changing Ideas Summit, Garan will share his thoughts on how space travel has the power to change humanity for the better. 

    Ron Garan
  • Alex Gillespie

    Associate Professor of Social Psychology - London School of Economics, UK

    Dr Alex Gillespie is Deputy Head of Department in the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science, Editor of Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, and a Director of LSE Enterprise. He is an expert on communication, divergences of perspective, misunderstandings, trust and listening. He is particularly interested in what people can learn from listening to each other and why people often fail to understand, or actively ignore, points of view that are different or challenging.

    At the World-Changing Ideas Summit, Prof Gillespie will explore what artificial intelligence means for us - particularly how we interact with machines. And to make his point, Gillespie will demonstrate what happens when an AI takes control of a human being.

    Alex Gillespie
  • Claudia Hammond

    Broadcaster, Writer and Psychology Lecturer BBC & Boston University London Programme

    Claudia Hammond is an award-winning broadcaster, writer and psychology lecturer. She is the presenter of All in the Mind & Mind Changers on BBC Radio 4 and Health Check on BBC World Service Radio and BBC World News TV.

    Claudia Hammond
  • Jeffrey Rosenfeld

    Neurosurgeon and Director of Monash Institute of Medical Engineering

    Professor Rosenfeld’s main research interests are traumatic brain injury and bionic vision. He is one of Australia’s leading academic neurosurgeons and senior military surgeons, and is internationally recognised.

    At the World-Changing Ideas Summit, he will discuss his work on neural implants and direct-to-brain bionic vision for the blind.

    Jeffrey Rosenfeld
  • Heather Hendrickson

    Senior Lecturer in Molecular Biosciences - Massey University, Auckland, NZ

    Dr Heather Hendrickson is a Senior Lecturer in Molecular Biosciences at Massey University in Auckland who currently explores a radical and counter-intuitive solution to the 'antibiotic apocalypse': one of the greatest threats to our future health, meaning that drugs will no longer work due to bacterial resistance.

    Dr Hendrickson completed her PhD work studying Bacterial Evolution at the University of Pittsburgh and was then awarded a prestigious Human Frontier of Science Program Long Term Fellowship to work with Professor David Sherratt at Oxford University. Today, her group works on how bacteria evolve with an eye towards understanding what innovations we can expect from them in the future.

    At the World-Changing Ideas Summit, Dr Hendrickson will discuss her radical and counter-intuitive solution to the 'antibiotic apocalypse': infecting patients with special viruses that could save people's lives.

    Heather Hendrickson
  • Richard Hollingham

    Science Journalist, Writer and Broadcaster

    Richard Hollingham is a science journalist, writer and broadcaster. A science presenter and producer for BBC radio, he is also space correspondent for BBC Future. Hollingham is author of Blood and Guts – a history of surgery, co-author of How to Clone the Perfect Blonde and editor of space:uk magazine.
    Hollingham has broadcast live for most BBC radio outlets and BBC TV news. He has reported on science and the environment from more than 40 countries. These include reports from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Russia, Libya, Antarctica, Vietnam, and from an ice floe in the Arctic. A former Senior Producer for the BBC’s flagship news programme, Today, he was also its first science producer.
    Hollingham is a producer/presenter for the award-winning Space Boffins Podcast. He also anchors live TV broadcasts for the European Space Agency and has written for New Scientist, Discover and most national UK newspapers.

    Richard Hollingham
  • Emma Johnston

    Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) - University of New South Wales

    Prof Emma Johnston is a marine ecologist and ecotoxicologist at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. She investigates the ways in which human activities impact coastal ecosystems, from the tropics to the poles. In 2014, she was awarded the Australian Academy of Sciences Inaugural Nancy Millis Medal for Women in Science, and in 2015 the Eureka Prize for the public communication of science. Prof Johnston is a television presenter for the BBC/Foxtel series 'Coast Australia', and a strong advocate for increasing the participation of women in science.

    At the World-Changing Ideas Summit, Prof Johnston will discuss how "blue-engineering" can help us build better in the world's increasingly urbanised marine environment.

    Emma Johnston
  • Susann Keohane

    Global Research Leader for Aging IBM in Austin (TX), USA

    Susann Keohane is an IBM Master Inventor and global research leader for the strategic initiative on aging. She is an expert in enabling human ability through accessible ICT with a strategic focus on aging-related research, cloud-based personalised access and adaptive interfaces. She is a prolific inventor with over 120 patents.

    At the World-Changing Ideas Summit, Keohane will explore how IBM’s ‘cognitive’ technology will help shape what our future looks like after retirement. Keohane believes that not only is there a great need to drive innovation to support our futures beyond retirement, but that technology will make a seismic shift away from just solving #youngpeopleproblems, to the unique needs of baby-boomers and the generations that follow. We’re all expecting increased life expectancy and Keohane isn’t waiting around to see what tomorrow looks like, instead making an investment now to drive the innovation needed to support her future.

    Susann  Keohane
  • Grace Leslie

    Electronic Musician - MIT Media Lab, USA

    Dr Grace Leslie, a postdoctoral fellow at MIT Media Lab, is a music cognition researcher seeking to better understand the link between music and emotion. Dr Leslie's improvised performance will be inspired by her live use of an EEG to measure her brain activity.  

    At the World-Changing Ideas Summit, Dr Leslie will be reflecting on the music of the mind.

    Grace Leslie
  • Veena Sahajwalla

    Director of the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) - University of New South Wales

    Scientia Prof Veena Sahajwalla is the director of the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) at the University of New South Wales.

    Prof Sahajwalla’s work completely changed how the properties of carbon-bearing materials are understood, including graphites, plastics and rubber tyres. Her most significant contribution is in the field of waste plastics, inventing an environmentally friendly technology for recycling rubber tyres in steelmaking, which is now being licensed across the world.

    At the World-Changing Ideas Summit, Prof Sahajwalla will talk about the next stage of her research: how ‘microfactories’ could transform how we recycle.

    Veena Sahajwalla
  • Michael Smart

    Chair of Hypersonics Propulsion - University of Queensland

    Prof Michael Smart is chair of hypersonic propulsion at the University of Queensland (UQ). Earlier, he spent 10 years as a research scientist at NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia. He is the chief investigator on a collaboration between UQ, the Queensland Government, Boeing, USAF and DSTO to conduct scramjet-related flight tests as part of the HiFIRE program. As head of UQ's HyShot Group, Prof Smart leads scramjet-related research within the Centre for Hypersonics. He received the 2012 International Congress for Aeronatics (ICAS) Von Karman Award for International Co-operation in Aeronautics.

    At the World-Changing Ideas Summit, Prof Smart will talk about hypersonic travel, and the technology’s potential for the nascent space industry.

    Michael Smart
  • Rosemary Stanton

    Nutritionist and Dietician

    Dr Rosemary Stanton OAM is one of Australia's best known nutritionists and was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for her services to community health. A Visiting Fellow in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of New South Wales, Rosemary has authored many scientific papers, 32 books on food and nutrition and over 3500 articles for magazines and newspapers. For 50 years, her independence has contributed to her public recognition as a source of reliable nutrition information.  Dr Stanton's aim is to encourage healthier food choices with more enjoyable foods that create minimal environmental damage.

    At the World-Changing Ideas Summit, she’ll be talking about the future of healthy eating, insights from the latest food science and the grand challenge of tackling the obesity epidemic. 

    Rosemary Stanton
  • Thomas Suddendorf

    Professor of Psychology, University of Queensland

    Prof Thomas Suddendorf is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Queensland, investigating the mental capacities in young children and in animals to answer fundamental questions about the nature and evolution of the human mind. What sets us apart from animals?

    At the World-Changing Ideas Summit, Prof Suddendorf will discuss the unique traits of human beings - from 'mental time travel' to our ability to connect with one another.

    Thomas Suddendorf
  • Pia Winberg

    Researcher - University of Wollongong, CEO & Founder of Venus Shell Systems

    Dr Pia Winberg is a Marine Ecologist and CEO at Venus Shell Systems. Her core interest is the development of seaweed in Australia and its value to human food, health, biotechnology, animal health and agriculture. Climate change is placing new pressures on traditional Western food sources. Dr Winberg believes that mass-production of eating seaweed and algae is part of the answer - it's a carbon sink, source of omega-3... and it's delicious.

    At the World-Changing Ideas Summit, she will be speaking with Michael Mosley about how we can and should incorporate seaweed into our diet.

    Pia Winberg

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15 November 2016 Dockside Pavilion
Darling Harbour

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World-Changing Ideas Summit 2016

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