2015 : Crossing the Rubicon

The idiom "Crossing the Rubicon" means to take an irrevocable step that commits one to a specific course. The etymology was based on Julius Caesar's crossing of the Rubicon River in 49 BC, which instigated the Great Roman Civil War.

The 2015 TEDxUniversityofGlasgow conference focused on celebrating and exploring the pivotal point of inspiring success stories, amazing experiences, and world-changing ideas that have transformed our lives. The conference assembled brilliant minds from Scotland, Europe, and abroad, in a single event of multi-topical and multi-disciplinary talks where our speakers shared their most amazing ideas in their areas of expertise.


Adrian Buzatu



A member of the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Colider at CERN, Adrian Buzatu is concerned with the bigger questions in life. He has done work on discovering the Higgs Boson and will be talking about the different ways the question "Where do we come from?" can be answered, starting from the psychological and biological, and ending with the fundamental ingredients of the Universe and what keeps them together.

Cameron MacKay



Cameron Mackay is a student concerned with how climate change impacts our lives and has travelled from the Indian Himalayas to Western Greenland documenting it. Having organized and embarked on several expeditions to remote areas, Cameron has used filmmaking, music, and talks to communicate his experiences and bring to light issues such as water shortages in the Himalayas and tourism influx in Greenland. He will share the stories he has gathered through his journeys and talk about how art can help engage the general public and trigger a global, unified response to climate change.

Chris Moore



Being the Director of Trick Creative, a Web and Digital Marketing company, Chris Moore is a world changed. He started the company while still living with his parents, having no experience, qualifications, contacts, or money, and has developed it to become one of Scotland's fastest growing agencies. With plans to open office in London and New York in the next few years, Chris's ambitions are just at the start. His talk will be on what it took to reach the heights he is at, and how to step out of your comfort zone to do it yourself.

David Code



David Code, a professor of Music at our university, is concerned with how music is used to great effect, both to mark real life moments and to given a deeper meaning to film and art. In his talk he will consider famous examples of how music is used in order to spark reflection on how the 'head' is occasionally emphasized over the humane value of the University's 'heart': the practice and study of Music.

Debara Kaynenibe



Debora Buba Feza Kayembe, a British lawyer, linguist, author, and Human Rights campaigner, is a true fighter for her beliefs. Having had to seek asylum in the UK after having a successful law career in the Democratic Republic of Congo, she has had a massive impact on the new community she found herself in through her skills as a linguist. In her speech she will talk about her long and difficult road that has seen her help so many other refugees, become a successful company owner and author, while emphasizing the value of taking risks and becoming comfortable in any situation.

James Duff



James Duff, the digital project officer of the Wheatley Group and a keen marathon runner, has been at the forefront of work with learning centres across Glasgow for his organisation. What he does has everything to do with \"Connecting the Unconnected,\" which is an initiative to bring an Internet connection to the 2 thirds of housing tenants who are yet to know its benefits. His talk will be focused on why and how the Wheatley group want to tackle this issue, and the life-changing effects they have so far witnessed.

James Schmidt



Having grown up in a multicultural environment and being ever-will ing to broaden his horizons, James is a person with wisdom beyond his years. When he isn't looking at the broader picture, he is concerned with the day to day doings and habits of each one of us. In his speech he will talk about the value of self-reflection and how to break our auto-pilot governed lives for a deeper understanding of life, and will outline 4 life principles he has picked up through hard-earned experience.

Julie Williamson



Dr. Julie Williamson, a member of Glasgow Interactive System Group, is a lecturer in Human Computer Interaction at The University of Glasgow. Her research focuses on how people use technology in public and the ways in which this can be used to change our urban landscape. In her speech she will talk about her ongoing work to re-appropriate public spaces through digital interactive art, and a recent project that has brought light, play, and interaction to a relatively derelict and empty space on campus.

Lindy Irving



Lindy Irving Barrett is a superwoman. Caught in the clutches of depression, stripped of her hopes and dreams, life seemed to be barren for her in her fight with depression. Yet, it is said we only learn the heights we can reach when we hit rock bottom, and that is what Lindy has done. Clawing her way back to life, she has fought tooth and nail to stand up tall again, and now she is driven to unveil the superhero hidden deep in all of us. In her talk, she will share her deeply moving stories and will help us see the way to discovering our most hidden powers.

Marie Damer



Mairi Damer, the founder of WORD UP Communications and former BBC Radio Scotland broadcast journalist and producer, is adamant that we all need to travel beyond the point of no return. Having spent 15 years in the radio industry, working with words is what she does best and helping others find their voice is what drives her. Throughout her life, she has crossed her own Rubicons, pushing herself past her limits and into the unknown. Despite fear and insecurity, she has done it time and again. Her talk will be about why she believes daring to risk in front of fear is the best way to finding ourselves, and how a walk in Govan symbolises all that matters to her in terms of self-development and stepping outside one's comfort zone.

Mirkeen Wilson



This is the story of how and why the University of Glasgow became the first in Europe to divest from the fossil fuel industry. As a student, Miriam Wilson spearheaded the campaign for the university to ditch its investments in coal, oil and gas. She will give an account of how she became involved in the campaign, and speak about the role Glasgow has played in the broader divestment movement. Miriam is a recent graduate from the University of Glasgow, and now works for People & Planet, coordinating the student-led Fossil Free campaign across the UK.

Peter McGinty



Peter McGinty, a project manager in the field of Asteroids and Space Debris, spends a lot of time dissecting the issues that lie beyond the limits of our planet. Two of the more pressing ones are that of impact with asteroids and the side-effects of space debris. His talk will be centred around how the ramifications of these issues can push our civilization beyond a point where recovery might well be impossible, and how, with timely preparation and a common effort, those situations can be averted.