TEDxBrownUniversity 2011

TEDxBrownUniversity was inaugurated in 2011, featuring five Brown University professors in a series of short talks and videos dedicated to the spirit of Brown University's open curriculum: passion, variety, and self-directed inquiry.





TEDxBrownUniversity was designed to reflect the unique spirit of academic excellence and diversity at Brown. Through several unique presentations, these annual events will demonstrate the truth that has united Brown's students, faculty, and administration as a liberal-arts educational institution since its founding in 1764: there are many degrees in excellence. Influenced by TED's motto, "ideas worth spreading," we have brought this forum to College Hill to showcase Brown's most remarkable talents in a unique, public setting outside the classroom.

See the Videos

Speakers: Kenneth Miller | Willoughby Britton | Deak Nabers | Tricia Rose

Kenneth Miller

Kenneth R. Miller is Professor of Biology at Brown University. He did his undergraduate work at Brown, and earned a Ph.D. in 1974 at the University of Colorado. He spent six years as Assistant Professor at Harvard University before returning to Brown in 1980. His research work on cell membrane structure and function has produced more than 60 scientific papers and reviews in leading journals, including CELL, Nature, and Scientific American. Miller is coauthor, with Joseph S. Levine, of four different high school and college biology textbooks, which are used by millions of students nationwide. He has received 6 major teaching awards at Brown, the Presidential Citation of the American Institute for Biological Science (2005), and the Public Service Award of the American Society for Cell Biology (2006). in 2009 he was honored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science for Advancing the Public Understanding of Science. He also received the Gregor Mendal Medal from Villanova University. Professor Miller is the author of Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground between God and Evolution, and Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul. He has been published in various newspapers, including the Boston Globe and Philadelphia Inquirer and has appeared on television as a guest on Comedy Central's The Colbert Report and as a debater on C-SPAN. (Video)

Willoughby Britton

Willoughby Britton received a B. A. in Neuroscience from Colgate University in 1996 and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Arizona in 2007. Broadly speaking, she is interested in the role of variations in conscious states in the intersection between affective neuroscience, clinical science, and religion. She studied the effects of cocaine as a Research Associate at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and was trained in sleep and electroencephalography (EEG) at Harvard Medical School. She has also studied meditative practices in Asia and elsewhere since 1995. She received MBSR instructor certification training at the Center for Mindfulness at UMASS Medical School and has taught meditation to prison inmates, to the terminally ill, to drug-abusing adolescents, to medical outpatients and as a therapist in 2 federally funded studies. She has lectured internationally to psychologists, physicians, and medical students on the physiological effects of meditation and its application in medicine. Some of her earlier research investigated the neural correlates of religious experiences in the context of trauma and was published in Psychological Science and featured in the New York Times in 2004. More recently, she was the PI on a trial sponsored by the NIH and Mind and Life Institute that investigated the neurophysiological effects of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy in recurrent depression. She is currently a member of the Brown University Contemplative Studies Steering Committee and conducting research on the relationship between sleep EEG markers, depression, mindfulness, and affect regulation at Brown Medical School. (Video)

Deak Nabers

Deak Nabers is an Associate Professor of English at Brown. He is the author of the book Victory of Law: The Civil War, the Fourteenth Amendment, and American Literature 1852-1866 as well as other miscellaneous scholarly articles. Professor Nabers is also a founding member of Post•45, a scolarly association devoted to American literature and culture after World War II, and editor of Post•45's journals and book series (with Stanford University Press)'; a recent contributor to the Risk comedy series (now available as an iTunes podcast!); and a husband and father of one (family living in Brooklyn). He is the son of the man who replaced Roy Moore on the Alabama Supreme Court (after Moore, now a candidate for president, was removed from office for erecting a giant monument to the Ten Commandments at the state supreme court building). Before coming to Brown, he taught English and Law at Vanderbilt University for five years. He earned doctorates from Oxford and Johns Hopkins and an undergraduate degree from Princeton. He's slightly embarrassed to say it, but was a Rhodes Scholar in the early 1990s (with Brown's very own Bobby Jindal, currently governor of LA, no less). (Video)

Tricia Rose

Tricia Rose graduated from Yale University, where she received a B.A. in Sociology and then received her Ph.D. from Brown University in American Studies. She has taught at NYU and UC Santa Cruz and is now Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University. Her book, Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America, is considered a foundational text for the study of hip hop, one that has defined what is now an entire field of study. Professor Rose lectures and presents seminars and worshops to scholarly and general audiences on a wide range of issues relating to race in America, popular culture, gender and sexuality, and art and social justice. Rose has also been featured on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and other national and local media outlets. (Video)