WATERLOO, Ont. (Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010) - Innovative mathematician John Mighton, who founded Junior Undiscovered Math Prodigies (JUMP), will discuss the importance of recognizing the potential for intellectual achievement during a prestigious public lecture at the University of Waterloo next week.

The best-selling author and award-winning playwright will present Waterloo's annual Hagey Lecture, entitled The High Cost of Intellectual Poverty: How Myths About Intelligence and Talent are Slowing Human Progress. Mighton is the author of The Myth of Ability: Nurturing Mathematical Talent in Every Child.

"We are very excited to welcome John Mighton, and feel that his visit will engage and enrich in equal measure," said professor John Mielke, chair of the Hagey Lecture committee. "Providing a forum to introduce thought-provoking work to our community continues to be the goal of the lectures. Dr. Mighton will help us to accomplish our goal by discussing how the inability to properly recognise and nurture intellectual potential presents great costs to Canadian society."

The Hagey Lecture will be held Monday, Nov. 29 at 8 p.m. in the Humanities Theatre, J. G. Hagey Hall of the Humanities. Admission is free. No tickets are required.

On Tuesday, Nov. 30, Mighton will address a student colloquium with a talk entitled The Open Mind: Why we should develop an educational system that allows students to succeed in and appreciate both the arts and the sciences. It begins at 10 a.m. in the Douglas Wright Engineering building, room 3518.

In his national best-selling book, Mighton describes his successes with JUMP, and how anyone can learn and teach math.

After almost failing first-year Calculus in university, Mighton recovered and gained a love of math. It was his belief that everyone has great mathematical potential that led him to found JUMP as a kitchen-table tutoring group in 1998.

At present, Mighton volunteers his time and expertise at JUMP as the lead curriculum developer for math student workbooks and teacher's manuals. In May 2007, he released a follow-up book to The Myth of Ability called The End of Ignorance. All proceeds from the publications are donated to JUMP.

Mighton is also an award-winning playwright. His plays have been performed across Canada, Europe, Japan and the United States. He has won several national awards including the Governor General's Literary Award for Drama, the Dora Award, the Chalmers Award and the Siminovitch Prize.

As a mathematician and a playwright, Mighton says there are more connections between the arts and the sciences than people generally think. He adds that scientists and mathematicians are often led by a sense of beauty or elegance, and describe their work in artistic terms.

Mighton completed a PhD in mathematics at the University of Toronto and was awarded an NSERC fellowship for postdoctoral research in knot and graph theory. He is a fellow of the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences and has taught mathematics at the University of Toronto. Mighton also lectured in philosophy at McMaster University, where he received a master's degree in philosophy.

Waterloo's premier invitational public lecture series since 1970, the Hagey Lecture - named after Gerry Hagey, the university's first president - is co-sponsored by the University of Waterloo and the Faculty Association of the University of Waterloo.

Hagey lecturers have distinguished themselves in some scholarly or creative field and their work cuts across traditional disciplines and national boundaries. Previous lecturers have included Nobel laureates in various disciplines, internationally renowned scholars, architects, peace activists and well-known artists.

About Waterloo

The University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada's Technology Triangle, is one of Canada's leading comprehensive universities. Waterloo is home to 30,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students who are dedicated to making the future better and brighter. Waterloo, known for the largest post- secondary co-operative education program in the world, supports enterprising partnerships in learning, research and discovery. For more information about Waterloo, visit www.uwaterloo.ca.


Miriam Kominar, communications co-ordinator, University of Waterloo Faculty Association, 519-888-4567 ext. 35158 or mkominar@uwaterloo.ca

John Morris, Waterloo media relations, 519-888-4435 or john.morris@uwaterloo.ca

Waterloo news release no. 93 

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