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Beau Lotto at TED Global June 2012

Beau Lotto gave his second talk at a TED conference in Edinburgh in June, 2012. (His first, entitled 'Optical illusions show how we see', was at TEDGlobal in Oxford in 2009). The title of this year's talk was 'Science is Play'. Beau set out his idea that Science and Play share much in common since they both: celebrate uncertainty – adapt to change – are open to possibility – are innately cooperative – and are intrinsically motivated. 

And if Science = Play, then it follows that science cannot ONLY be done by a few experts. In support of this idea, Beau introduced Amy O'Toole, the youngest speaker ever invited to speak at a TED conference. She is also, along with her friends at Blackawton Primary School in Devon, the youngest published scientist in the world, having collaborated with Beau Lotto on the now-famous Blackawton Bees paper, published in December 2010. Amy described how the schoolchildren came up with a game (ie experiment) to answer the question 'Do bees solve complex problems in the same way that humans do?' and how it led to not only new scientific discoveries but a new view of science.

For a more detailed description of the talk, go to the TED Blog. A video of the talk should be available to watch some time in October. For more on the Blackawton Bees, click here.