Featured Game Changers


Andrea Alu

Air Date: November 2, 2014

Associate Professor Andrea Alu in the Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin gives insights into his interdisciplinary work with meta-materials, light, and even an "invisibility cloak."



Air Date: April 16, 2014
Autism and Developmental Disabilities

Researchers in the College of Education at UT Austin are making an impact in the field of Autism and Developmental Disabilities through an integrated model that includes three elements:
Teaching, Research & Scholarship and Clinical Work.


Kids Running

Air Date: April 1, 2014
Kids and Physical Activity

Researchers in the Kinesiology and Health Education department at UT Austin are studying children's physical activity and its effects on cognitive health, brain health, behavior and academic performance.


Karl Gebhardt

Air Date: February 4, 2014
Karl Gebhardt on Black Holes and Dark Energy

UT Austin astrophysics professor Karl Gebhardt addresses some big issues in his work. Big, as in galactic.

Most of his career has focused on understanding the role that black holes play in the formation of a galaxy. Now he is helping lead a new scientific revolution: the quest to understand dark energy, a mysterious force that makes up 70 percent of the matter and energy in the universe.


Zachary Elkins

Air Date: December 10, 2013
Zachary Elkins and The Constitute Project

With a grant from Google Ideas to the University of Texas, Zach Elkins and his colleagues Tom Ginsburg (University of Chicago) and James Melton (University College London) created Constitute, a free online resource that offers a growing set of constitutional texts that users can compare systematically across a broad set of topics.

Dr. Janet Walkow

Air Date: November 3, 2013
Dr. Janet Walkow on Drug Development

On this episode of UT Game Changers, Dr. Janet Walkow digs into the dynamic field of drug development, where innovation and entrepreneurship are necessary to keep up with health care expectations, strict regulations and tightening development budgets.

Image: The Todds

Air Date: August 18, 2013
Jan and Terry Todd on Physical Culture

On this episode of UT Game Changers, Jan and Terry Todd reflect on their careers in weight lifting, explore the concept of "Physical Culture" and lead us through some of the highlights of The Stark Center.

Image: S Craig Watkins

Air Date: May 15, 2013
S. Craig Watkins: The Young and the Digital

Craig Watkins is an Associate Professor of Radio, Television and Film at the University of Texas at Austin, where he studies the effects of technology on young people. In his most recent book, The Young and the Digital, Professor Watkins outlined the ways engagement with social media, games, and mobile phones is transforming the way young people encounter the world.

Image: Todd Humphreys

Air Date: April 10, 2013
Todd Humphreys: The Future of GPS Technology

Todd Humphreys is the Director of the Radionavigation Lab at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is also an Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering. As one of the world’s leading experts on GPS technology, Dr. Humphreys caught the attention of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for his recent research on defending against intentional GPS jamming of drones over U.S. airspace.

Image: Russell Poldrack

Air Date: March 20, 2013
Russell Poldrack: Risk Taking: The good, the bad, and the brain

Risk taking is essential to success, but it can also lead to disastrous consequences. Dr. Poldrack will describe his research that has used brain imaging to understand the brain systems that are involved in risk taking, and why some individuals are more willing to take risks than others. This research has shown how the brain weighs rewards and punishments, and why the teenage years are a particularly vulnerable period for risky behavior.



Image: Larry Speck

December 17
Larry Speck: The Impact of Architecture


Image: Suzi Sosa

October 30
Suzi Sosa: Students and Social Innovation Will Save Our World

At a time in history when economic, social and environmental problems seem worse than ever, students around the world are looking for bold ideas in hope of a better future. What if we could help them to discover innovations that could not only revitalize the global economy but could also solve pressing social and environmental problems? Social innovation harnesses the power of creativity, invention and experimentation to uncover powerful solutions and then, through purpose-driven entrepreneurship, brings those ideas to life in sustainable, scalable ways. Through stories and experience from UT’s Dell Social Innovation Challenge (DSIC), this talk will illuminate the ideas and successes of real student social innovators and demonstrate how social innovation has the potential to save the world.

Image: Elizabeth Richmond Garza

October 30
Elizabeth Richmond-Garza: Do We Lead Double Lives? #JekyllHyde

One hundred fifty years ago it was more important to act appropriately than to act sincerely. Victorians were comfortable with people leading double lives, as long as those lives were kept separate. Work, family and especially any bad habits were seen as different worlds, not only as parts of one individual. Twitter, Facebook and other social media tempt us to create alternative identities for ourselves, but as Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll found out, becoming Mr. Hyde is dangerous as well as exciting. Elizabeth Richmond-Garza sets a gothic mood by traveling to Jack the Ripper’s London, which was not as different from today as you might think.

Image: Andy Ellington

September 20
Andy Ellington: Do I Really Need a Doctor for That? Technology Should Allow Us to Diagnose Ourselves

While there are a few personalized diagnostics available, such as home pregnancy tests, it is remarkable that our ability to monitor and maintain our health still largely relies on interacting with the medical community. This dependence is especially unfortunate in resource-poor settings, where the medical community is already stretched thin. Advances in the somewhat arcane field of nucleic acid computation may provide a means of more readily detecting pathogens and of understanding your own unique physiology. Such advances in personalized diagnostics are abetted by the possibilities inherent in crowd-sourcing information and analysis and in beginning to create virtual clinical trials (or their equivalent) through social networks.

Image: Victoria deFrancesco Soto

September 20
Victoria DeFrancesco Soto: Courting the Ladies...Women in the 2012 Election

Whether it's hockey moms, Walmart moms, or Whole Foods moms, moms and women more generally enter into the spotlight with every electoral cycle. This election is no exception, with both Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney courting the ladies. Dr. DeFrancesco Soto looks at how the female electorate has gone from not having the right to vote to being a decisive political vote in the course of a couple of decades. More specifically she will zero in on the 2012 election and how women will shape the outcome.

Image: Elizabeth Englehardt

June 20
Elizabeth Engelhardt: Southern Food Matters

We live in an era of great interest in food—with high stakes questions of who has enough food, what food contributes to our society’s and our planet’s health, and how food makes reputations of people or places. Civil rights, identity, definitions of home and away are debated in portraits of southern culture. Dr. Engelhardt's talk applies an academic lens to southern food, to access complex gender, racial, and class politics of the past as well as the present.

Image: J. Tinsley Oden

June 8
Tinsley Oden: Computational Science and Engineering: Emergence of an Academic Discipline

The use of computer modeling and simulation of physical events and of the behavior of engineering systems has had a profound impact on scientific discovery. Dr. Oden will describe the foundation of computational science and engineering, the programs and research at UT's Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences, and what can be expected as future developments in this subject.

Russell Poldrack

May 24
Russell Poldrack: Risk Taking: The good, the bad, and the brain

Risk taking is essential to success, but it can also lead to disastrous consequences. Dr. Poldrack will describe his research that has used brain imaging to understand the brain systems that are involved in risk taking, and why some individuals are more willing to take risks than others. This research has shown how the brain weighs rewards and punishments, and why the teenage years are a particularly vulnerable period for risky behavior.

Art Markman

April 11
Art Markman: Smart Thinking: Three Essential Keys to Solve Problems, Innovate, and Get Things Done

Intelligence and smart thinking are not the same. In fact, sciences confirms that smart thinking is not an innate quality but rather a skill to be cultivated. Drawing on diverse studies of the mind, from psychology to linguistics, philosophy, and learning science, Markman demonstrates the difference between smart thinking and raw intelligence, showing how memory works, how to learn effectively, and how to use knowledge to get things done.

David Crews

Andrea Gore

April 11
Andrea Gore & David Crews: Living in a Contaminated World: Are chemical advances making us sicker, fatter, and less intelligent?

The promise of chemicals designed to act as pesticides, solvents, fungicides, and plastics has played out as improvements in many aspects of life. They protect our grapes from fungus, our leafy greens from pests, our children from fire ants and flammable pajamas. They lubricate our factories, refineries and power plants. Thousands of chemicals are now found in the environment — and also in our bodies. Research shows that exposure to these compounds may alter our very genetic makeup, making us sicker, fatter, and less intelligent. This exposure also affects our descendants.

Andrea Gore and David Crews discuss how environmental exposures to commonly used chemicals cause irreversible biological changes and increased disease states in us, our children, our grandchildren and beyond.


Jeremi Suri

March 28
Jeremi Suri: Can America be Great Again?

After the Second World War, American society benefited from unprecedented peace and prosperity. What was key to this success? Americans were very strategic in their deployment of historical wisdom, drawing upon the experiences, institutions and knowledge acquired in earlier decades to build our nation.

So far, Americans have not shown the same wisdom in the 21st century. Our society is suffering. The time has come for Americans to reawaken their historical wisdom, analyzing the recent past to identify the key ideas and institutions that will allow our society to thrive once more. Jeremi Suri examines our national history and will show how this history should empower citizens to reinvent American greatness again.

Paul Woodruff

March 28
Paul Woodruff: Are you Ajax or Odysseus?

In his book "The Ajax Dilemma," Paul Woodruff uses a parable from classical Greece to shed light on a very contemporary business dilemma: how to reward outstanding players without damaging the team. Tapping into his experience as a boss, a professor, an officer and an employee, Woodruff uses his broad perspective to issue an intriguing call for a compassionate approach to fairness.

Bob Metcalfe

Feb. 28
Bob Metcalfe: Startups: Innovating with the Machinery of Free Enterprise

Innovation makes the world go round. It gives us freedom and prosperity. One form of innovation is driven by startups – entrepreneurial, technological innovation at scale. Dr. Bob Metcalfe calls the people who start up startups “founderati.” He discussed how to be founderati and how to practice the art of operating the exquisite machinery of free enterprise.

Metcalfe is professor of innovation and the Murchison Fellow of Free Enterprise in the Cockrell School of Engineering. In the 1970s, he was an Internet pioneer at MIT, Harvard and the Computer Science Laboratory of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, where he invented Ethernet.

Lauren Ancel Meyers

Jan. 26
Lauren Ancel Meyers: Tracking and Curbing the Next Pandemic

Dr. Lauren Ancel Meyers discussed global pandemics, why influenza remains a major threat and how data and modern computing are helping to fight contagion.

Meyers is a mathematical biologist who develops new computational methods for studying the spread and control of infectious diseases in humans and wildlife. She works with public health agencies throughout the world, including the Texas Department of State Health Services and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to develop effective surveillance and intervention strategies for influenza and other diseases.




John Doggett

Nov. 29
John Doggett: Ugly Baby Glasses: Debt, Global Competition and America’s Future

John Doggett, an award-winning senior lecturer at the university's McCombs School of Business since 1989, talked about how America’s crushing debt burden is limiting America’s ability to compete just as China, India and Brazil are becoming world class economies.

The good news is that if Americans stop complaining (whining) about China and start taking advantage of our inherent strengths, America can turn things around.


H.W. Brands

Oct. 18
H.W. Brands: The Past, Present and Future of the Dollar

H.W. Brands, the Dickson Allen Anderson Centennial Professor of History and Government in the university’s Department of History, presented “The Past, Present and Future of the Dollar."

Brands outlined America's varied attempts to create money, from gold to credit cards, and gave the historical context for the rise and eventual decline of the dollar among world currencies. What can the critics and creators of U.S. monetary policy learn from the history of the dollar in the world economy?


John Daly

Sept. 29
John Daly: The Politics of Ideas

It's not enough to come up with a brilliant idea. You also need to galvanize support through effective advocacy. History is replete with examples of brilliant ideas not being implemented because the organization's decision makers didn't buy into them. Even worse, the world is full of bad ideas that were successfully championed within their organization and got the green light.

Communication Studies Professor John Daly was the inaugural Longhorn Network Game Changers speaker. His talk highlighted what he's learned from studying some of the most successful communicators in the world.