Midlands to host important National Science Conference

Atlantic Corridor in Tullamore is set to host its third National Science Conference in February with speakers of national and international importance in the areas of science, technology, engineering and maths.

The conference will be opened by An Taoiseach Brian Cowen and the main conference speaker is Dr John Mighton, mathematician and author, University of Toronto.

As well as being a mathematician, John Mighton is also a renowned playwright, whose works include Possible Worlds, The Little Years, and Body & Soul. He also advised Gus Van Sant, Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck on the script for the movie Good Will Hunting. The movie tells the story of a South Boston whiz kid who elects to clean the halls of learning rather than enter them, working his way through life as a janitor at MIT. But his natural ability to unravel complex equations attracts the attention of a professor who won't let him quit. John Mighton’s one major line is a reference to his main idea in The Myth of Ability; “Most people never get to see how brilliant they can be. They don’t find teachers who believe in them. They get convinced they’re stupid.”

Jackie Gorman, CEO of Atlantic Corridor also commented on the issue of maths: “The conference has a speaker of international note on this issue; Canadian mathematician and author John Mighton, the founder of JUMP [Junior Undiscovered Math Prodigies]. JUMP is a charitable organisation that works to educate students in mathematics. Dr Mighton is based at the world-renowned Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences at the University of Toronto. He has a huge reputation in Canada for his work with regards to maths literacy and we are thrilled that he can join us for this conference in Ireland.”

Other speakers include Dr John Michael Gorman, Director of the Science Gallery in TCD, Padraig McManus CEO of ESB, Andrew Parish CEO, Wavebob, and Dr Chris Horn, president of Engineers Ireland amongst others.

Ericsson, the world-leading provider of telecommunications equipment and related services to mobile and fixed network operators, is this year’s lead sponsor for the Atlantic Conference 2010. The conference focuses on a range of issues surrounding the development and promotion of science, technology, engineering and maths education.

Commenting on the conference John Hennessy, managing director and county manager for Ericsson in Ireland said “It is vital that we cooperate to find new solutions and approaches to the STEM skills issue, which is vital for our economic development in Ireland. Skills in science, technology, engineering and maths are becoming increasingly important in the knowledge economy in Ireland and Ericsson as a long-standing knowledge-intensive employer in Ireland is keen to support this initiative.”

He further commented “Creating greater interest in science, technology and engineering raises challenges as encouraging a greater number of people to study science means, among other things, that students must broaden their skills in mathematics and related science as much as possible. It should be noted that early success in problem solving clearly enhances the self-esteem of young people and encourages them to engage in ever more complex reasoning, a valuable trait in any profession or field of study.”

The Atlantic Conference on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths Education takes place in the Tullamore Court Hotel, Co Offaly on Thursday February 25 and will be officially opened by Taoiseach, Brian Cowen.

Further details are available on www.atlanticcorridor.ie or www.eventelephant.com/atlanticcorridor


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