From October 13th through the 19th, Chicago Ideas Week hosts 80+ sessions featuring some of the world’s most influential and inspirational “idea-havers,” such as George Lucas, Charlie Rose, Grace Choi, Christy Turlington Burns, Deepak Chopra, and more.

One of the best parts about CIW is that it’s the rare large-scale conference that allows you to take in as much or as little as you’d like. Instead of having to commit hundreds of dollars to an expo that you’ll only attend 10 percent of, you can purchase individual panel tickets for $15 and curate your own experience.

Event tickets went on sale this week and they tend to go quickly; here are the ten sessions we’re most excited for:

Military: Defense of the Future:
The panel consisting of a former Air Force drone operator, military research specialists, and an Iraq War pilot will look at the innovative, new technologies fueling the US military. They’ll also discuss how this $700 billion industry is preparing for the threat of climate change.

Energy: The $6.1 Trillion Industry:
We spend a lot of time talking tech on this site and energy is 2.5 times the size of the entire IT industry. So, yea, I’m down to learn more.

Explorers: The Ends of the Earth:
In 90 minutes, the world’s most accomplished explorers – including Amelia Rose Earhart and a former NASA astronaut – will profile the rarest parts of the planet.

University of Illinois at Chicago’s Electronic Visualization Laboratory:
This innovative lab has 3D TVs wallpapered across every surface that are seamlessly connected to smartphones and tablets, allowing people to talk, touch, or gesture in order to watch a movie, play a videogame, or collaborate with colleagues.

Sports: The Playbook Has Changed:
With Ted Leonis, the owner of the Washington Wizards and Capitals, and several other industry thought-leaders, this panel will hit on everything trending in the $145 billion sports space, including concussion research, unionizing student athletes, NCAA regulations, and equipment tech. And with all of the controversies surrounding the NFL, I’m sure the league will be a major topic of discussion as well.

Fostering Creativity and Innovation Through Technology: 
At this lab, attendees will engage with Google Glass, Oculus Rift, and the MakerBot, three machines that have emerged as vessels for new forms of creativity, like virtual gaming and digital manufacturing. We played around with the Rift at Anarchist – the Wicker-Park based VR startup – so we’re looking forward to getting our hands back on the device.

Rhine Hall: Mix It Up with Brandy Cocktails: 
We’ll be hosting our Food Inno event at Rhine Hall, but if you can’t get enough Brandy – and want to compete against fellow attendees in cocktail-creation – check it out.

Marijuana: America’s Budding Business:
Regardless of your personal opinion on the matter, legalized pot is coming to Illinois and it will usher in a variety of new opportunities for entrepreneurs and startups. I’m looking forward to learning more about how exactly this “new industry” will impact the state’s economy and how or why Chicago is uniquely positioned to innovate within the space.

Innovation at the 21st Century University:
Participation heavy, attendees will play ‘University Innovation,’ a game focused on re-envisioning the future of education that’s hosted by Starr Marcello, the Director and COO of UChicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

The Brain: This Is Your Brain On...:
Featuring NY Times best-selling author Deepak Chopra – along with an RIC neuralplasticity director, a Columbia Chicago psychology professor, and more – this panel will explore how the brain responds to a variety of experiences and influences, such as stress, drugs, meditation, etc. The brain is crazy.