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5 questions for physicist James Gillies

CERN James Gillies video

James Gillies is an expert science communicator. If you want to learn more about dark matter, or find out if antimatter falls up, or explore how cosmic rays help us understand the universe, you can — he and his fellow physicists at CERN have created TED-Ed lessons to help you do just that.

TED-Ed spoke with Gillies recently about the Large Hadron Collider, what Nobel Prize-winning physicists do for lunch — and how to spark scientific inquiry in schools around the globe. Below, read an edited transcript of our conversation.

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Celebrate the Chinese New Year, TED-Ed style


Welcome to the Year of the Goat! February 19th, 2015 marks the first day of Chinese year 4713. At a loss for how to celebrate this Lunar New Year? Check out this playlist of TED-Ed Lessons to cover all the essentials of this traditional holiday.

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How to use TED-Ed Clubs in a foreign language classroom


In the year since the launch of TED-Ed Clubs, we’ve had a few international schools use their club experience as a tool to help students learn to speak better English. Co-facilitators Angela Mitchell and Conway Brackett from The Lovett School in Atlanta, Georgia, flipped this idea on its head when they decided to use TED-Ed Clubs in their high school Spanish VI Honors class to help strengthen their students’ Spanish language skills.

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What we know (and don’t know) about cancer


Every year on February 4, World Cancer Day is observed in an effort to deepen awareness and understanding of the deadly disease. Watch these four TED-Ed Lessons to get more informed about cancerous cells, how they spread and some methods people are using to fight the disease head on.

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5 TED-Ed Lessons to watch on a snow day

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In the Northeastern United States, there is only one thing on the mind today: Snowmageddon. If you’re at a loss for things to do (after stocking up on bread and milk, of course), we’ve compiled 5 TED-Ed Lessons to help you get in the spirit of all things frigid and frozen.

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Unlocking fractals: An exercise in pure mathematics

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“This shape here just came out of an exercise in pure mathematics. Bottomless wonders spring from simple rules, which are repeated without end.’

This poetic definition of fractal geometry is the closing note of Benoit Mandelbrot’s 2010 TED Talk ‘Fractals and the art of roughness.’ And while this definition touches on the extraordinary nature of these incredibly complex and infinite patterns, there is no better way to understand fractals than by seeing them. In this TED Talk and TED-Ed Lesson pairing, we will take a closer look at the unbelievably beautiful world of fractal geometry.

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TED-Ed Club Facilitator in the field: Catlin Tucker


As we round out the first year of TED-Ed Clubs, we wanted to know the answer to one big question: how are they going? So the TED-Ed Blog invited facilitators to share their experiences in this column, “TED-Ed Club Facilitators in the Field.” Below, thoughts from Catlin Tucker, a teacher at Windsor High School in Windsor, California. 

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Designing Einstein: 2 animators use minimalist style to illustrate history


When Oxbow Creative, the animation team behind our recent lesson on Einstein’s miracle year, turned in their final animation to TED-Ed, our production team was shocked to see that the file was under 1 GB. Normally, an animation of this length will range anywhere in size from 2 – 5 GB, but rarely will we see one under 2 GB, much less 1. Any fears that this small package wouldn’t pack a huge punch, however, were squashed when we saw the final product: the lesson is clever, swift and striking, using a beautiful, minimalist style to communicate the history of Einstein’s highly successful 1905. We caught up with Oxbow Creative’s Evan Deutsch and Jon Portman to talk Einstein, minimalism and capturing the relative speed of planetary orbits.

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12 reasons to start a TED-Ed Club in 2015


Just one year ago, TED-Ed launched TED-Ed Clubs – a flexible, school-based program that supports students in discussing, pursuing and presenting their big ideas in the form of short TED-style talks. Over the course of the year, nearly 1,000 TED-Ed Clubs have formed across the globe. To celebrate the one year anniversary, we’ve compiled a list of quotes from TED-Ed Club Members and Facilitators that may inspire you to start your own club in 2015!

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10 TED-Ed Lessons to inspire your New Year’s resolutions


With the exhilarating (and exhausting) holiday season behind us, January offers a month of new beginnings and boundless optimism. In the first few weeks of the new year, millions of people around the world will set pen to paper and hammer out a list of goals for the year ahead. If you haven’t made your New Year’s resolutions yet, check out this collection of TED-Ed Lessons for a little inspiration. Whether you’re hoping to cut down on sweets, improve your writing skills or brush up on some advanced quantum mechanics, we’ve got you covered.

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