The theme of this year’s TEDxLiverpool was “together we face the future” and all the speakers are definitely ready for whatever the future has in store for them.
We are in awe of all the innovative speakers at yet another great TEDxLiverpool event, but in this case we wanted to showcase the trailblazing women of TEDxLiverpool.
Dr Anita Sengupta – Senior Vice President of Virgin Hyperloop One
A few days before TEDxLiverpool kicked off, we were lucky enough to spend some time with the incredible Dr Anita Sengupta and her mother, a Liverpool native. We were equally as blown away by Anita’s inspiring story and her groundbreaking work each time that we heard from her.
After working for NASA in their Jet Propulsion Laboratory for over 15 years, Anita is now leading the team at Virgin to bring about the next transport revolution with the Hyperloop One. The Hyperloop is a sealed tube in which a pod can travel free of friction and air-resistance, essentially bringing spacecraft travel to the ground. Anita stated that the Hyperloop will “take the concepts of science-fiction and turn them into a reality.” The team has built the first operational Hyperloop in Las Vegas and Anita is now leading them through the next phases, leading up to global implementation. We can’t wait for travelling via the Hyperloop to become the norm, saving us time and making our travel more efficient.
ChauKei Ngai – Yogini
After being born two months premature, ChauKei’s lungs were not fully developed and she has had persistent difficulty breathing throughout her life, that is, until she found yoga. ChauKei stated that “yoga gave me my breath back” enabling her to overcome her fear of breathlessness. As well as finding her breath, ChauKei also found her life’s passion. The way that ChauKei uses her passion to combat her fears is incredibly inspiring.
ChauKei is not only a fierce Yogini, she regularly competes in yoga competitions. In 2013, she came first in the world’s largest yoga competition, the International Yoga Sports Federation Championship and is the first mother to become the World Yoga Champion. ChauKei moved back to Hong Kong to teach yoga at her studios in Discovery Bay.
Maxine Mackintosh – Data Evangelist
When clickbait horror stories surrounding our data are everywhere, it’s hard to recognise when your data is being used for good. Maxine Makintosh stressed that we must remember that in some instances, like regarding the NHS, sharing our data comes with a common good.
In her work Maxine predicts health outcomes using the data that you share about your healthcare. Maxine aptly refers to this as “the biggest clinical trials of our lives.” In sharing our data with the NHS we can potentially save the lives of others. Maxine empahises that not all data scientists are bad, “we’re not all Mark Zuckerberg’s twin” she emphasised. Most data scientists are merely looking for the story within the data to ensure that you get the best possible service. We are in awe of Maxine, the work that she does and her efforts to dispel the fears around data and data sharing.
Dr Jenny Zhang – Energy Wizard
Dr Jenny Zhang is currently researching a very unique way of solving the current energy crisis, using artificial photosynthesis. Zhang wants to find out whether we can capture the energy of the sun in a permanent way by re-inventing photosynthesis on our own terms, out-performing nature.
Zhang highlighted that currently “80% of energy in the UK comes from fossil fuels” and something seriously needs to be done about it, fast! She believes that we have the potential to “combine some of the best bits of nature”, i.e. photosynthesis, with artificial research to produce a reliable green energy source. We were blown away by Zhang’s innovative research and approach to the energy crisis. We hope that she manages to capture the power of photosynthesis to solve the growing energy crisis.
Professor Anne Cleary – The Memory Hunter
Anne Cleary is a Professor of Cognitive Science at Colorado State University who is trying to solve one of life’s biggest mysteries, deja vu.
We often associate this feeling of familiarity with the paranormal, yet Anne likes to explain things in scientific terms. Anne shared with the audience that she has built a deja vu generator using virtual reality (VR). Anne stated that this is what led her and her students to discover a link between deja vu and the feeling of being able to predict what is going to happen next. We were inspired by the way Anne and her students used technology to discover something new about the mystery that is deja vu.
We were blown away by these powerful, intelligent women who are breaking the mould, whether that be in science, tech or yoga. It was an honour to hear their stories and we hope to hear from them again in the future.
Untill next time… TEDxLiverpool