Ever wondered what it’s like to be the most talked about person in Australia? How to go about becoming a social media sensation? Or what women who work in scientific professions really feel about gender balance? These are just some of the things pondered by some of Australia’s leading minds, all of whom are appearing at TEDxSydney this month.
It’s hard not to fall in love with Magda Szubanski, whether it’s in the form of her outrageous and yet deeply truthful characters, or as the passionate campaigner for LGBTQI rights, who took a leading role in the most recent iteration of the Same-Sex Marriage debate.
For the latter, Magda became the “Most Talked about Person of 2017”, but it is her honest storytelling in her best-selling memoir, Reckoning, that sets her above most.
Relating the story of her father’s activities as an assassin in Nazi-occupied Poland, Szubanski’s story of intergenerational trauma, migration and coming-of-age as a young gay woman received rave reviews. Released late 2015, Reckoning won a slew of literary awards including winner of the 2016 ABIA Book of the Year, Biography of the Year, Booksellers Choice Award, NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, the Indie Award for Non-Fiction; Winner Victorian Community History Award and was shortlisted for several more awards including the National Biography Award.
Eddie Woo, Maths Teacher
Eddie Woo is a public high school teacher. He is also a bit of a rockstar. Eddie is the creator of Wootube, a Youtube channel which teaches maths through simple classroom-style lessons. Wootube has over 13 million views.
In 2018, Eddie was named Australia’s Local Hero and reached the top 10 of the Global Teacher Prize. He is driven by the conviction that mathematics really can be embraced, and even enjoyed, by absolutely everybody. But Eddie almost didn’t become a maths teacher. Thanks to a chance encounter at Sydney University, the trajectory of his life – and the lives of his 200,000 Youtube followers – changed forever.
Dr Suzie Sheehyis a respected scientist, public speaker and researcher who focuses on particle accelerators (like the Hadron Collider!) and their applications, ranging from medicine to energy. She is also active in trying to raise the profile of women in physics, which she does (in part) through talking openly about what it’s like to be an actual human being who does science.
Suzie was awarded the Brunel Fellowship from the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 where she extended her work into high intensity Hadron accelerators (2010-2013). In 2015 Suzie re-joined the University of Oxford in a joint appointment with the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory to lead a research group focusing on Intense Hadron Accelerators and teach graduate level accelerator physics. From 2017 Suzie holds a University Research Fellowship from the Royal Society which enables her to build her research group in Oxford and continue collaborations with researchers around the world focusing on the design, simulation and beam dynamics of novel high power proton accelerators.
Anjali Jaiprakesh wants to create a world in which robotics technology enables affordable medicine for all. Working at the intersection of medicine, engineering and design, Anjali is one of the world’s most promising innovators. In 2018, MIT Technology Review named Anjali as one of its Top 10 Innovators under 35.
Anjali is putting her incredible mind to use as an Advance QLD research fellow at the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision and Queensland University of Technology, where she is embracing novel technologies to solve global healthcare issues. Her current projects include the development of a vision-based robotic leg-manipulation system for knee arthroscopy, to improve patient outcomes and surgeon training, and a retinal diagnostic system for the early detection of blindness, to replace the expensive and complex cameras currently used.
Stephen Scheeler is the former Facebook CEO for Australia and New Zealand, where he helped guide Facebook’s unprecedented rise from quirky Silicon Valley success story to media and technology titan.
Working with Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg and Facebook’s Silicon Valley leaders, his time at Facebook saw the Australia and New Zealand business grow from mere start up into one of the most successful Facebook markets in the world.
Today – as founder of global advisory The Digital CEO, Senior Advisor to McKinsey & Company, and Executive-in-Residence at Asia-Pacific’s leading business school, the Australian Graduate School of Management – he partners with the CEOs and boards of some of the world’s leading companies to help them build world-beating digital strategies, capabilities, culture and leadership.
TEDxSydney 2018 will be held on Friday 15th June at ICC Sydney. A small number of tickets are still available. Click here to secure your place.