Billionaire philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates, musician Sting and Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield will be among the speakers when the influential and highly popular TED Conference is held for the first time Vancouver in March.

TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, is an ideas forum which gives presenters a maximum of 18 minutes to speak. Organizers, who revealed the Vancouver lineup on Thursday, said this year's theme is "The Next Chapter."

The event attracts incredibly gifted, passionate and charismatic speakers. British explorer Ben Saunders, who is finishing a South Pole trek, and Zak Ebrahim, a peace activist whose father helped plan the 1993 World Trade Center attack, will join Amanda Burden, New York's chief city planner, and Geena Rocero, a model and activist, as presenters in Vancouver.

Other speakers booked for Vancouver include jugglers, scientists, and designers.

Last year, organizers announced its keynote event in Long Beach, Calif. would be moved to Vancouver to celebrate its 30th anniversary.

Hadfield is one of only two Canadians scheduled to present at TED Vancouver. The other is Michel Laberge, a physicist from Burnaby. He is a privately funded scientist working on building a commercially viable fusion power plant, reported The Vancouver Sun.

The conference will be held March 17-24, 2014 at the Vancouver Convention Centre and a satellite event, TEDactive, will be located in Whistler.

But good luck trying to get in. The 1,200 seats for TED, which cost $7,500 US, are sold out already. However, entry to the Whistler event is still available for $3,750.

Video of the best TED talks are posted to YouTube, but it's up to the discretion of organizers which Vancouver ones will be shared.

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  • Lucianne Walkowicz

    At the July 2011 TEDGlobal conference, TED Fellow <a href="" target="_hplink">Lucianne Walkowicz</a> discussed how the Kepler mission has helped us discover many new, far-away planets that might be habitable.

  • Eythor Bender

    Berkeley Bionics' <a href="" target="_hplink">Eythor Bender</a> at the TED2011 conference introduced exoskeleton designs that can carry heavy loads, allowing humans to hold more than they can naturally carry or even helping those without the use of their legs to walk at last year.

  • Julian Assange

    Julian Assange, editor-in-chief for whistleblower site Wikileaks, took the stage in July 2010 for a <a href="" target="_hplink">surprise Q&A</a> with TED's Chris Anderson to discuss the aims of the site, how it operates and what it has accomplished.

  • Pattie Maes

    In February 2009, MIT's Pattie Maes shows off a wearable device called '<a href="" target="_hplink">Sixth Sense</a>,' which lets the user interact with digital information that is overlaid on the physical world.

  • Heather Knight

    Heather Knight was joined onstage in 2010 by a <a href="" target="_hplink">robot standup comic</a> named Data. The funny 'bot cracked jokes for the audience and adjusted its performance based on feedback from participants.

  • Eli Pariser

    At the TED2011 conference, <a href="" target="_hplink">Eli Pariser</a>, an online organizer and author of "<a href="" target="_hplink">The Filter Bubble</a>," made a strong case against personalized web services, which often sacrifice important information or world-broadening ideas for specific preferences assigned to each of us by algorithms.

  • Ralph Langner

    <a href="" target="_hplink">Ralph Langner</a>, a German security consultant who analyzed the complex <a href="" target="_hplink">Stuxnet computer virus</a> first discovered in 2010, more deeply explored how the virus works and what its purpose really is at last year's TED2011.

  • Cynthia Kenyon

    In the July 2011 TEDGlobal conference, biochemist and geneticist <a href="" target="_hplink">Cynthia Kenyon</a> explained the anti-aging effects of a mutation in a worm's DAF-2 gene and discussed what this might mean for human aging.

  • Anthony Atala

    In 2007, Anthony Atala explained the process and purpose of <a href="" target="_hplink">growing human organs</a> in a lab and introduced TED-goes to the gizmos that make this fascinating innovation possible.

  • Sheryl Sandberg

    Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg asked "<a href="" target="_hplink">why we have too few women leaders</a>" and presented three creative solutions in December 2010's TEDWomen conference.

  • Blaise Aguera y Arcas

    Blaise Aguera y Arcas demoed <a href="" target="_hplink">Photosynth</a> in 2007, showing audiences how 2D photos can be used to create stunning 3D worlds that users can explore digitally.

  • Jeff Han

    In February 2006, Jeff Han <a href="" target="_hplink">exhibited</a> his affordable high-res multi-touch display. The audience was blown away. The following year, Apple released its iPhone handsets, which featured a similarly equipped (though tinier) touch screen.

  • Brian Cox

    In 2008, Brian Cox spoke about his work on CERN's <a href="" target="_hplink">Large Hadron Collider</a>, which, he informed his audience, "is the largest scientific experiment ever attempted." During his presentation, Cox guided listeners through the project's challenges and goals.

  • Johnny Lee

    In 2008, Johnny Lee introduced his audience to <a href="" target="_hplink">Wii Remote hacks</a> and showed how to turn the relatively inexpensive controller into a variety of teaching tools, such as a whiteboard, a touch screen and a 3D viewer.

  • Carter Emmart

    In February 2010, Carter Emmart took his audience on a tour of the <a href="" target="_hplink">known universe in 3D</a>, a 12-year project that combined the efforts of scientists, artists and computer programmers.

  • Stephen Hawking

    Stephen Hawking's talk at TED2008 presented popular theories that attempt to answer some of humanity's most troublesome questions: "Where did we come from? How did the universe come into being? Are we alone in the universe? Is there alien life out there? What is the future of the human race?"

  • David Pogue

    In 2007, tech journalist David Pogue performed a delightful "<a href="" target="_hplink">TED medley</a>" about the history of music and television on the Internet.

  • Aparna Rao

    At the July 2011 TEDGlobal conference, TED Fellow and artist <a href="" target="_hplink">Aparna Rao</a> presented a handful of her art installations, which demonstrate the humorous side of technology.

  • Dennis Hong

    In February 2011, <a href="" target="_hplink">Dennis Hong</a> introduced a revolutionary idea that might allow blind people to drive. This can all be done <em>without</em> using self-driving car technology -- robotics, laser rangefinders, and GPS tools presented through a non-visual interface could allow blind drivers to perceive the road ahead and control the car all on their own.

  • Aimee Mullins

    In 2009, paralympic athlete Aimee Mullins trotted out her 12 pairs of <a href="" target="_hplink">prosthetic legs</a> and demonstrated how their various qualities enhance her body.

  • Peter Weyland (TED2023)

    Ok, so it's not a real TED talk, but this teaser for the upcoming film "<a href="" target="_hplink">Prometheus</a>" portrays the fictional "Peter Weyland" giving a rousing TED presentation in the year 2023. Conceived by Ridley Scott and Damon Lindelof and directed by Luke Scot, Weyland speaks in the video about the creation of "cybernetic individuals who in a few short years will be completely indistinguishable from us." The tenor of the talk is a bit more sinister than we're used to seeing at TED, but it sure makes us want to see this movie. <a href="" target="_hplink">Visit the TED blog to explore more about this promo</a>.