University College Dublin (UCD) held its fifth annual TEDx event in the UCD Dramsoc Theatre in the UCD Student Centre.

The 12 speakers who took part in TEDxUCD 2017 were members of the UCD community of researchers, students, alumni and friends who are speaking on a wide range of ideas worth spreading on the overall theme of ‘inspiration’.

Among the speakers were Prof Mary Horgan, President of the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland. Speaking after her TEDxUCD 2017 talk, Prof Horgan, whose talk was entitled ‘HIV: the virus that made me a better doctor’, said “I was delighted to take part in this year’s TEDxUCD event to share my experiences working with HIV patients in the 1980s and 1990’s.”

“In 1981 the world was shaken by a so called “gay plague” that was sweeping through America. This was in fact HIV, the virus that causes AIDS and at the time it not only killed most of those infected with it, but would also isolate and stigmatise them which added greatly to their suffering. It was the most feared infectious disease of the 1980s and 1990s, much like Ebola was more recently. Today HIV/AIDS is treatable thanks to the enormous efforts of scientific researchers and the patient advocates who supported them. I have had the privilege of caring for people with this disease from these awful early days to the present day when people with HIV can have a normal life expectancy with treatment”.

“It has been a challenging and fascinating experience as a doctor; it has taught me great compassion, the need to show respect to all patients in all circumstances and gives me hope that even the worst diseases can, through investment and patient advocacy, be treated in a humane way to reduce suffering and allow people to live their lives without stigma.”

Speaking after his TEDxUCD 2017 talk Stephen Cluskey, CEO and co-founder Mobility Mojo, whose talk was entitled ‘An accessible world is an inclusive world’, said, “Accessibility will impact on all of us at some stage in our lives. Think about an older person with a bad hip or dodgy knee, a parent pushing a buggy, tourists dragging a heavy suitcase behind them, a deliveryman trying to get his hand trolley in and out of a place, and yes of course, people with disabilities. 1 in every 2 people over the age of 65 have some form of disability and with an ageing population, this is an issue which is only going to become more prevalent”.

“As I outlined in my TED talk, the principle of universal design is a philosophy based on designing to be fully inclusive of everyone and these principles need to be ingrained in every part of government planning and decision-making to create a society in which everyone can thrive”.

Speaking after his TEDxUCD 2017 talk entitled ‘A cosmic gold rush’, Dr Antonio Martin-Carrillo said, “We are living a unique moment in the history of astronomy. With the discovery of the first gravitational wave in 2015 we opened the window to a whole new type of astronomy that uses gravity instead of light to study the universe.

And now, with the discovery of the first neutron star merger through gravitational waves and light we have witnessed the birth of the new multi-messenger era of astronomy where information is carried out by both light and gravity, obtaining a much more complete picture of how the process happened. This is crucial to understand how heavy elements such as gold or silver formed in the universe”.

As I outlined in my TEDxUCD 2017 talk, every time the astronomical community has opened a new window, new and exciting sources have been discovered. Pulsars, gamma-ray bursts… we are just at the beginning of this new era and we can only imagine what the future has prepared for us.”

TEDxUCD 2017 was organised by volunteers from the UCD Research and Innovation team based at NovaUCD.

At TEDxUCD 2017 a combination of live speakers and a selection of TED Talks videos will be combined to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group of 100 attendees. The TED conference provides general guidance for the TEDx programme, but individual TEDx events, including TEDxUCD, are self-organised.

Opening this year’s event, Tom Flanagan, Director, Enterprise & Commercialisation, UCD said “Following the success of our previous TEDxUCD events I am delighted that we are hosting our fifth annual TEDx event at University College Dublin. To date we have welcomed more than 50 members of the UCD community to the TEDxUCD stage and the videos have had in excess of 400,000 views. Organising and running TEDxUCD is an excellent example of how we engage with the general public, not only in Ireland but across the world, to share the ideas, knowledge and expertise emanating from members of the UCD community.”

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