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Coming to TEDxSantaCruz: Inspiring Jazz Vocalist & Scientist Visionary

EdReedEd Reed’s story is one that captures audiences with his very first words:

“I was a heroin addict for 40 years, in prison four times from 1951 to 1966 for forgery and heroin crime. I was in dozens of treatment programs and voluntary mental health institutions until 1986 when I got into recovery.”

After that, the music begins, as he released his first jazz vocal CD in 2007, followed with three more in the next seven years, including “I’m a Shy Guy,” which honors the music of the King Cole Trio. Last year, online jazz critics voted him the No. 1 rising star in the male vocalist category.

Oh, and yes. This once-lost soul is 86 years old and will be traveling to town to speak during the TEDxSantaCruz: Radical Collaboration conference on April 24.

Joining Reed will be more than two dozen other speakers at the all-day conference. Among them will be Dr. Bruce Damer, a research associate in the UC Santa Cruz Department of Biomolecular Engineering, who brings to audiences a blend of science and allegory to create a story of wonder and hope about our place, purpose, and future in the universe.

BruceDamerDamer will bring two radical collaborations to the TEDx stage.

“One is a new model for the origin of life developed with colleagues at UCSC,” he said. “The other is a new kind of spacecraft designed to capture and relocate small rocky and icy asteroids, opening a new pathway for science and sustainable spaceflight in the solar system. I hope to show you how these two radical collaborations synergize to open new horizons for life and a renewed purpose for the human enterprise.”

As TEDxSantaCruz co-organizer Nada Miljkovic explained it, Damer realized this radical new spacecraft would provide interplanetary “gas stations” that would radically lower the cost and risk of spaceflight and provide a way to take humans to Mars and beyond.

“Most radical of all,” she said, “this would enable a means for life, after 4 billion years of evolution, to grow beyond the womb of the Earth and to show us the way to a sustainable civilization.”

Reed and Damer join other confirmed speakers David Haussler, Barbara Rogoff, and Flora Lu, who have also been confirmed as speakers for this year’s TEDxSantaCruz.

Tickets for the all-day TEDxSantaCruz 2015: Radical Collaboration event are available online. The 2015 theme is Radical Collaboration, and this fourth-annual local conference will take place from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. April 24 at the Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz.