Diana Reiss’s research focuses on the cognition and communication of marine animals, with an emphasis on comparative animal cognition. Essentially, she studies the evolution of intelligence. Reiss pioneered the use of underwater keyboards with dolphins to investigate their communicative abilities and provide them with more degrees of choice and control. Reiss and her colleagues demonstrated that bottlenose dolphins and an Asian elephants possess the rare ability for mirror self-recognition previously thought to be restricted to humans and great apes. She wrote about this work in her recent book, The Dolphin in the Mirror.
Reiss' efforts also involve the rescue and rehabilitation of stranded marine mammals, including the successful rescue of Humphrey, the humpback whale, from San Francisco Bay waters. Her advocacy work in conservation and animal welfare includes the protection of dolphins in the tuna-fishing industry and efforts to bring an end to the killing of dolphins in the drive hunts in Japan.
Reiss is a cognitive psychologist and professor in the Department of Psychology at Hunter College and the Biopsychology and Behavioral Neuroscience subprogram at the Graduate Center, CUNY. She directs a dolphin cognitive research program at the National Aquarium in Baltimore and is a research associate at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in DC, where she investigates elephant cognition.
Peter Gabriel was a founding member of the extraordinarily successful progressive rock band Genesis. He left the band in 1975 to go solo and, in 1980, set up the international arts festival WOMAD (which stands for World of Music, Arts and Dance) and the record label Real World, both to champion music and artistic innovation from all over the world. Gabriel's stop motion video for "Sledgehammer" has been named the most-played music video in the history of MTV.
Gabriel is also very interested in human rights. In 1992, he co-founded WITNESS.org, an organization that helps human rights activists and citizen witnesses worldwide make change happen through the use of video. The organization not only distributes digital cameras to empower people to document human-rights abuses, but provides a platform for the spread of video that reveals what is really going on in places all over the globe.
In 2007, Gabriel also co-founded theElders.org with Richard Branson and Nelson Mandela, an independent group of global leaders working together for peace and human rights.
MIT's Neil Gershenfeld is redefining the boundaries between the digital and analog worlds. The digital revolution is over, Gershenfeld says. We won. What comes next? His Center for Bits and Atoms has developed quite a few answers, including Internet 0, a tiny web server that fits into lightbulbs and doorknobs, networking the physical world in previously unimaginable ways.
But Gershenfeld is best known as a pioneer in personal fabrication -- small-scale manufacturing enabled by digital technologies, which gives people the tools to build literally anything they can imagine. His famous Fab Lab is immensely popular among students at MIT, who crowd Gershenfeld's classes. But the concept is potentially life-altering in the developing world, where a Fab Lab with just $20,000 worth of laser cutters, milling machines and soldering irons can transform a community, helping people harness their creativity to build tools, replacement parts and essential products unavailable in the local market. Read more in Fab: The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop.
TCP/IP. You may not know what it stands for, but you probably use it every day -- it's the set of communications protocols that allows data to flow from computer to computer across the internet. More than 30 years ago, while working at DARPA, Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn developed TCP/IP, and in so doing, they gave rise to the modern Internet. In 2004, Cerf was the recipient of the ACM Alan M. Turing award (sometimes called the “Nobel Prize of Computer Science”), and in 2005 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Cerf is a vice president and chief Internet evangelist at Google, and chairman of the board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), an organization he helped form; he was also recently elected president of the ACM Council. He served as founding president of the Internet Society from 1992 to 1995. He's an advocate for a truly free internet, speaking out in the face of increasing government demands to limit free speech and connection.