MLTalks—The lowdown on the high seas: What we don’t know about the oceans can kill us

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MIT Media Lab | Jimmy Day

May 8, 2019
3:00pm — 4:00pm

MLTalks with Wendy Schmidt, hosted by Katy Croff Bell

"We are standing on the edge of a frontier in terms of our ability to see, understand, and share information about the oceans.”—Wendy Schmidt 

All talks at the Media Lab, unless otherwise noted, are free and open to the public. No registration is required.

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Wendy Schmidt brings an optimistic approach to addressing critical ocean issues, and provides a framework for viewing the ocean as part of an interactive living system that is crucial to life on land. Join us at the MIT Media Lab as Wendy Schmidt describes how her investment in innovative solutions and support for scientific and technological breakthroughs is creating momentum for ocean health, leading to the restoration of this vital planetary resource. To understand the ocean is to know with certainty why we need to care about it, no matter where we live.

About Wendy Schmidt
Wendy Schmidt is president of The Schmidt Family Foundation, which supports programs in renewable energy, healthy food and agriculture, and human rights.

The foundation supports more than 150 nonprofit organizations around the world, using traditional philanthropic grants as well as the tools of impact investing. Schmidt Marine Technology Partners, an additional foundation program, supports the development of new ocean technologies with applications for conservation and research in areas such as habitat health, marine plastic pollution, and sustainable fisheries.

Wendy and her husband Eric are also co-founders of the Schmidt Ocean Institute, which operates the research vessel Falkor, a mobile platform to advance ocean exploration and discovery using open source data to catalyze the sharing of information about the oceans. Since 2013, more than 500 scientists from 165 institutions and 30 countries have conducted research on R/V Falkor.

Wendy has sponsored two XPRIZE Challenge Prizes focused on ocean health, and currently serves as the lead philanthropic partner of the New Plastics Economy Initiative, driven by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Wendy has extended her oceans-focused work to the sporting world through 11th Hour Racing, partnering with the 2017-2018 Volvo Ocean Race and the Vestas 11th Hour Racing team to put sustainability at the core of their operations, empowering race managers and athletes to become leaders and spokespeople on restoring ocean health.

In 2017, Wendy and Eric launched the Schmidt Science Fellows program, a post-doctoral fellowship that provides the next generation of leaders and innovators with the tools and opportunities to drive world-changing advances across the sciences and society. With an initial commitment from Schmidt Futures of at least $25 million for the first three years, the effort is the beginning of a broader $100 million commitment to promote scientific leadership and interdisciplinary research.

Wendy earned an MJ in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley, and a BA magna cum laude from Smith College.

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