Last week, the editors of Time magazine published a list of 30 people under 30 who are changing the world, with the help of a panel of millennials. On the list: six teenagers and twenty-somethings with TED connections.
We at TED have had youth on the brain recently. TED2013 was themed “The Young. The Wise. The Undiscovered.” and we’re still riding the emotional high of the TEDYouth conference in New Orleans last month. At the same time, we’re working on an ongoing “Young Voices” series that profiles take-charge young people. So we were very excited to see several familiar faces among Time’s picks.
In order of age, these 30-under-30 champs are much-adored members of the TED community:
Jack Andraka, 16
Andraka makes a good case for paying attention in high school biology class – that’s what he was doing when he got the idea for his simple, low-cost early detection method for pancreatic cancer. Though his initial work was dismissed by 99 percent of the labs he submitted it to, Andraka — who Time has dubbed “the researcher” — caught a break at Johns Hopkins, and made his test a reality, as he shares in his talk at TED2013.
Taylor Wilson, 19
Wilson, who Time calls “the next Einstein,” has spoken twice on the TED mainstage – first on nuclear fusion reactors (he built one in his parents’ garage when he was 14), and next on his vision for small nuclear fission reactors. Now a Thiel Fellow, Wilson is working on radiation detection for counterterrorism and thinking about the role of nuclear power in our energy future.
Brittany Wenger, 19
In her 2012 TEDxWomen talk, Wenger, presented groundbreaking work in breast cancer detection: artificial neural networks that make the least invasive test for breast cancer incredibly accurate. “The diagnostician” is now a student at Duke University, and is using her technology, Cloud4Cancer, to diagnose other cancers as well.
Ludwick Marishane, 23
The irrepressible Marishane spoke in Johannesburg in 2012 as part of TED’s global talent search. He shared the lighthearted but heavy-hitting story of how he invented DryBath, a no-water gel bath substitute for the parts of his native South Africa where clean water is hard to come by. “The protector” currently helms Headboy Industries.
William Kamkwamba, 26
Two-time speaker and TED Fellow Kamkwamba is a Malawian inventor who built a windmill from scrap metal to provide his village with electricity … at the age of 14. Named “The connector,” Kamkwamba continues his journey with an autobiography, a documentary and the Moving Windmills Project.
Alexander McLean, 28
Dubbed “the transformer” by Time, TED Fellow McLean is the founder of the African Prisons Project, an initiative to bring better infrastructure and more humane living conditions to correctional facilities in Uganda, Kenya, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.
We’re proud to be a launching pad for such incredible minds, and we know there is more to come. From the work going on thanks to young people in the TEDx community to the student volunteers who helped run TEDYouth, we’re seeing plenty of Time-worthy talent on the horizon too.