TEDx at Cooper Union

April 24, 2012

Photo: Rocco Cetera (CE'99)

Photo: Rocco Cetera (CE'99)

On Tuesday, April 24, Cooper Union will host its first TEDx conference, where engineering senior and student commencement speaker Benjamin Strauss will present a talk on his experiences studying at Cooper and working as an New Jersey emergency medical technician (EMT). These are experiences that Mr. Strauss says have deeply shaped his views and professional ambitions.

Strauss, whose studies at Cooper focus on biomedical engineering, says his work as an EMT has inspired him to develop products that allow less intrusive and more attentive care to ambulance patients. After learning of a potentially dangerous yet common misdiagnosis of a heart attack on the job, Strauss set out to create a device that would help medical professionals detect and diagnose silent heart attacks with greater accuracy. He submitted his creation for patent earlier this year while continuing his studies at Cooper Union as well as his night shifts as an EMT.

Mr. Strauss’ is just one of the many speakers doing innovative and interdisciplinary work that will give talks tonight during Found in Translation, Cooper Union’s first TEDx conference. Drawn from both within and outside the Cooper community, tonight's program of students, professionals, and academics typify the confluence of art and science that is foundational to Cooper Union's intellectual heritage. General admissions (video stream) tickets are still available, while the main conference tickets have sold out. Visitors who can’t make it to campus can still enjoy a live video webcast on TEDx Cooper Union webpage.

The organizers of the conference have been updating a TEDx flickr stream which showcases the tremendous work preparing 41 Cooper Square for the event. This includes a social space and lounge area designed by alumnus and architect James Hamilton working with artist and staff member Tommy Coleman. It also includes an extensive media setup by alumnus and filmmaker Noemi Charlotte Thieves that will document tonight's talks for a multi-part web series later this year. The conference has been organized and managed by alumna, TED fellow, and electrical and biomedical engineer Nina Tandon with Ivana Gadjanski, architect and professor David Turnbull, and engineering professor Toby Cumberbatch.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.