TED Trivia: The 30th anniversary edition

Posted by: Tedstaff

TEDTrivia_BlogHeaderNext month, TED turns 30 years old. And to celebrate, we’ve put together a lightning round of trivia to test your TED Talk and speaker knowledge. For kicks, post your answers in the comments section below. We’ll post the official answer sheet today, February 13, at 1pm.

  1. Ken Robinson, who gave the most-watched talk in TED history, was deeply inspired by this meteorological phenomenon occurring in California’s Death Valley.
  2. This classic TED speaker isn’t the only one to have used a brain as a prop on stage—she’s just the only one to have used a real one.
  3. The “D” in TED stands for this field, which has spawned its own specific type of “thinking.”
  4. Kees Moeliker won which scientific award for his research on homosexual necrophiliac ducks?
  5. Poet Rives dubbed this time of night “the most surreal of hours.”
  6. Neil Harbisson isn’t just a loud dresser — he created a device that allows him to hear colors, because he was born fully color blind. What is his medical condition called?
  7. Christopher McDougall highlights some differences between the running ability of men and women. In which gender did he note that the longer the race, the better they perform?
  8. This speaker, who has the most talks on, is not only an accomplished sword-swallower but one of the cofounders of Doctors Without Borders Sweden.
  9. In his TED Talk, Colin Powell shares his weakness for this New York City street treat.
  10. Book lover Lisa Bu has read some of the world’s most esteemed literature. What much-beloved book does she call “interesting but strange?”
  11. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie warns us not to listen to a single story about life in other parts of the world. She discovers her own single story impressions when she travels to which country?
  12. This TED speaker, who shares a name with an insect, dedicates a full minute of her talk to the story of a woman who had an orgasm every time she brushed her teeth.
  13. Soft-speaker Susan Cain landed in hot water at summer camp as a child for doing this not-so-dangerous activity.
  14. The first TED was held in 1984. The second was held in this year, also known as the year that Tim Berners-Lee created the first web server.
  15. Paola Antonelli found herself at the center of a controversy after daring to add this genre to the Museum of Modern Art’s collection.
  16. Stefan Sagmeister thinks we’d all be more productive if we sprinkled some of our retirement years throughout our working ones. How often does he take a year off?
  17. In Stewart Brand’s most recent talk, he explains that scientists are trying to “de-extinct” this North American bird that once lived in flocks 400 miles long.
  18. What are the “M&M”’s that Jason Fried blames for holding back progress in the workplace?
  19. In his talk, Terry Moore shares that many of smart people are tying their shoes incorrectly. What does he say is the secret?
  20. This TED Prize-winning artist had his first gallery exhibition at age 17—on a sidewalk.
  21. Originally created in 1941 by an American psychologist, this comic book character was the fitting inspiration for one of social psychologist Amy Cuddy’s ‘power poses.’
  22. Out of 1600+ TED Talks, how many clock in under 3 minutes? Is it 13, 27, 71, or 203?

Answer away! We can’t wait to see which questions are easy … and which stump you.

Note: These questions were written by Kate Torgovnick, Morton Bast and Dan Powell.

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Comments (16)

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  • Kate Torgovnick May commented on Feb 13 2014

    And here, the official answer key:

    1. Rain
    2. Jill Bolte Taylor
    3. Design
    4. The Ig Nobel Prize
    5. 4am
    6. Achromatopsia
    7. Women
    8. Hans Rosling
    9. Hot Dogs
    10. The Bible
    11. Mexico
    12. Mary Roach
    13. Reading
    14. 1990
    15. Video games
    16. Every seven years
    17. The passenger pigeon
    18. Managers and meetings
    19. Loop in the opposite direction
    20. JR
    21. Wonder Woman
    22. 71

  • Javier Yunes commented on Feb 13 2014

    1. rain and flowers
    2. jill b taylor
    3. design
    4. ig nobel
    5. 4 am
    6. monochromacy
    7. mmm women
    8. hans roslin
    9. mmm vapors coming from manholes?
    10. bible
    11. US
    12. roach
    13. reading
    14. 1990
    15. video games
    16. mmm 5
    17. passenger pigeon
    18. mmm haven’t watch it… Money & Millennials?
    19. a stronger version of the knot
    20. mmm JR
    21. wonder woman
    22. 13

    • Kate Torgovnick May commented on Feb 13 2014

      Nice, Javier. You have 13 questions right!

      • Javier Yunes commented on Feb 13 2014

        I only see that 6, 9, 11, 16 and 18 are wrong
        19. is debatable as a correct answer
        22. actually 71 are “near” 3 minutes long… 13 are under!

        that’s 7… 22-7= 15

        I’m missing 2 wrong answers! which ones?

  • Kat Haber commented on Feb 13 2014

    1. Sliding rock tracks
    2. Jill Bolt Taylor
    3. Design
    4. Make Love Not Porn Prize
    5. 4 am
    6. Color Hearditis
    7. Marathon man
    8. King Arthur
    9. Roasted chestnuts
    10. Bible
    11. Biafra
    12. Super Fly
    13. Reading
    14. 1989
    15. Video games
    16. Annually
    17. Captain America-though it could also be Barbie
    18. Managers & meetings
    19. Closing your eyes
    20. JR wearing sunglasses from the age of 12
    21. Passenger pigeon
    22. Not enough

    • Kate Torgovnick May commented on Feb 13 2014

      Go Kat! I love that you took a guess at each question. You have 8 answers right. Nice!

  • Herbert Kisara commented on Feb 13 2014

    3. Design
    4. Ig Nobel Prize
    20. JR

  • Dim NC commented on Feb 13 2014

    Among all the questions, I’d like to answer to the fourth one:
    Kees Moeliker won the Ig Nobel Prize, research that makes people laugh and then think.
    Watch his talk, it is truly funny :)

  • commented on Feb 13 2014

    Reblogged this on yalcin'in aklindakiler.

  • commented on Feb 12 2014

    1. The downpour resurrected plant life in the desert.
    3. Design!
    14. 1989?
    19. To loop the knot the opposite direction.
    22. 27?

    -Erik Slader (

    • Kate Torgovnick May commented on Feb 13 2014

      Nice, Erik! I can tell you that three of your answers are correct. Not bad! Stay tuned for the answer sheet at 1pm.

  • commented on Feb 12 2014

    Reblogged this on Curiosidades na internet.