TED Radio Hour

TED Radio Hour draws from the vast archive of TED Talks and weaves in new interviews to tackle a central theme or question. It’s a journey through fascinating ideas, astonishing inventions, and new ways to think and create.

Recent Episodes

Transformation

Are we simply the sum of our experiences? Or can we choose our own path? In this hour, TED speakers share stories of undergoing remarkable transformations despite extraordinary challenges.  Zak Ebrahim tells the story of being raised to hate, as the son of terrorist El-Sayyid Nosair, and how he chose a different path. Fashion model Geena Rocero talks about being born a boy, and becoming who she was meant to be. MIT professor Hugh Herr describes how he lost both legs in a climbing accident 30 years ago, and how he’s now building the next generation of bionic limbs. Writer Shaka Senghor recounts his long journey from crime to prison to redemption.

From Curiosity to Discovery

Why do some people spend years trying to answer a single question; or even risk their lives to discover something new? In this hour, TED speakers explore how curiosity leads to unexpected places. Director James Cameron's blockbuster films create unreal worlds. He reveals his childhood fascinations and how they fueled the passion behind his movies. Designer Thomas Thwaites explains what compelled him to build a toaster, literally from the ground up. Geneticist Wendy Chung describes what it’s like to chip away at the mysteries of autism, and the excitement of uncovering tiny but critical clues.  Biologist Nathan Wolfe says the unseeable world of microbes is fertile ground for new discoveries.  Mythbusters co-host Adam Savage talks about three people who inspired him to be curious: his dad, a former Earth Science teacher, and physicist Richard Feynman.

Animals and Us

In this hour, TED speakers explore the complex relationships we have with animals. Writer Jon Mooallem tells the story of the teddy bear and considers how the tales we tell about wild animals have real consequences for a species' chance of survival — and the natural world at large. Animal trainer Ian Dunbar says we need to see the world through the eyes of our dogs if we want them to behave better. Poet Billy Collins imagines the inner life of a former canine companion. Science historian Laurel Braitman explores why some animals get anxious, depressed, and stressed out. Biologist Frans de Waal studies how primates display other human traits, such as empathy, cooperation, and fairness. 

Unstoppable Learning (R)

Learning is an integral part of human nature. But why do we — as adults — assume learning must be taught, tested and reinforced? Why do we put so much effort in making kids think and act like us? In this hour, TED speakers explore the different ways babies and children learn on their own — from the womb, to the playground, to the web. Education researcher Sugata Mitra explains how he brought self-supervised access to the web for children in India’s slums and villages — with results that have made him rethink teaching. Science writer Annie Murphy Paul discusses how fetuses begin taking cues from the outside world while still in the womb. Developmental psychologist Alison Gopnik argues that like scientists, babies and young children follow a sophisticated systematic process of exploration when they play. Veteran teacher Rita Pierson says children need relationships and human connection in order to be inspired to learn. Sugata Mitra returns later in the episode to talk about his vision to build a school in a cloud where children drive a new kind of self-organized classroom.