TED Prize

Announcing the 2009 TED Prize winners: oceanographer Sylvia Earle, SETI's Jill Tarter, maestro José Antonio Abreu

TED and the TED Prize are proud to unveil the three remarkable winners of the 2009 TED Prize: deep-ocean explorer Sylvia Earle, astronomer Jill Tarter, and Maestro José Antonio Abreu. Each of them is a leader in his/her chosen field of work, with an unconventional viewpoint and a vision to transform the world.

Their lives and their words are inspiring.

Sylvia Earle, called “Her Deepness” by the New Yorker and the New York Times, “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress, and “Hero for the Planet” by Time, is an oceanographer, explorer, author, and lecturer with a deep commitment to research through personal exploration.

“We’ve got to somehow stabilize our connection to nature so that in 50 years from now, 500 years, 5,000 years from now there will still be a wild system and respect for what it takes to sustain us.”

Jill Tarter, director of the SETI Institute’s Center for SETI Research and holder of the Bernard M. Oliver Chair for SETI. She has devoted her career to hunting for signs of sentient beings elsewhere, and almost all aspects of this field have been affected by her work.

” ‘Are we alone?’ Humans have been asking [this question] forever. The probability of success is difficult to estimate but if we never search the chance of success is zero.”

José Abreu, a retired economist, trained musician, and social reformer founded El Sistema (“the system”) in 1975 based on the conviction that what poor Venezuelan kids needed was classical music. After 30 years and 10 different political administrations, El Sistema is now a nationwide organization of 102 youth orchestras, 55 children’s orchestras and 270 music centers.

“Music has to be recognized as an … agent of social development in the highest sense, because it transmits the highest values — solidarity, harmony, mutual compassion. And it has the ability to unite an entire community and to express sublime feelings.”

Learn more about them here.

Each wins $100,000 plus “One Wish to Change the World.” Their wishes will be unveiled at TED2009 on February 5, 2009.

We can’t wait!