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Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

February 22, 2011
Lucy Kragness, Assistant to the Chancellor, 218-726-6176,
Cheryl Reitan, Director, Marketing and Communication 218-726-8996,

TEDxUMD Presents a Marathon Day of Ideas

The University of Minnesota Duluth will host an 11-hour marathon of ideas for the academic community and the public on Tuesday, March 1, as the first event of Inauguration Week for Chancellor Lendley C. Black.

The free event, called TEDxUMD, is expected to have about 25 speakers, mostly from the UMD community, who will talk about ideas as varied as mothers' hopes for their children and exploiting chaos in the solar system. Presenters will include UMD faculty, students, staff and alumni. The final speakers of the day, state Senator Roger Reinert, St. Louis County Commissioner Steve O'Neil, Duluth Mayor Don Ness and Chancellor Black, will talk about UMD as a citizen of the state, region, city and world.

TEDxUMD is an independently organized event of video and live speakers that is licensed by TED Talks, an international nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas. Each 15-minute talk at UMD will be presented to an audience and also recorded and uploaded to for later viewing.

The TEDxUMD event will be held in three sessions, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Kirby Student Center lounge on campus. TEDxUMD talks will include these speakers:

  • Molly Minkkinen, associate professor of education, will share the story of her interviews with about 50 mothers throughout the world and their hopes for their children. She found that all mothers want the best for their children, but those in poverty were generally more concerned about survival or growing up without danger, while high-income mothers’ wishes were broader, such as hoping their children will be citizens of the world or strong and compassionate. She plans to show her photographs of the mothers and children during her talk.
  • Marshall Hampton, assistant professor of mathematics/statistics, will talk about ways the chaos of the solar system can be exploited through celestial mathematics. For example, a spacecraft that is nearly out of fuel and drifting aimlessly in space can be coaxed into usefulness with very little time or money by finding points of chaos where the craft drifts. The chaos can be exploited through tiny mathematical adjustments that will put it on a purposeful path. The same principles of controlling instability in chaotic regions can be used to encrypt messages.
  • Olaf Kuhlke, associate professor of geography, studies religious pilgrimages and will use them as a metaphor for returning to a society of urban walkers. In the United States, people walk for sport or exercise. In his native Germany, walking is a way of life. He will show slides of street scenes in cultures that encourage walking and those that don’t. Clear sidewalks, appropriate lighting and benches can encourage walking as a way of getting around as well as creating a sense of community – one of the purposes of a pilgrimage.
  • Rajiv Vaidyanathan, professor of marketing, will speak about transformative consumer research that studies psychological, social and cultural behavior of consumption. At one time marketing academics studied buying behavior, such as how consumers decide between Pepsi and Coke, for the benefit of business. Academic research in the past five to 10 years has begun to study consumption with the idea of helping buyers make better choices. This direction in research can also help guide efforts in literacy, poverty, smoking, obesity and other public policy issues.
  • Nandini Bhowmick, a doctoral student in the Department of Education, will give a presentation on Social Justice through Math Education. She demonstrates a way to teach elementary students basic math skills and, at the same time, heighten their cultural awareness. In one lesson plan, students start by counting, subtracting, dividing and making fractions using canned food. After seeing a video about world hunger, they calculate economic status percentages and use other math problems, paying close attention to cultural values.
  • Susan Meyers, a graphic artist at UMD who earned a master’s of liberal studies degree on campus, will speak about her new nonprofit, North Central Windows Program, an enrichment program that uses art as a healing tool for women who are victims of domestic violence. Art gives them an opportunity to forget about their problems and offers them hope for change. Her organization offers this art experience for abused and battered women in the community who wouldn’t otherwise have such an opportunity.

Members of the public are encouraged to attend TEDxUMD presentations throughout the day and evening.

For information about other Inaugural Week events March 1-5, including the March 4 inaugural ceremony visit Inauguration Week Events.

UMD is a comprehensive university - part of the University of Minnesota system - that offers 13 bachelor degrees in 74 majors. UMD has a two-year medical school and a College of Pharmacy among its graduate programs in 24 fields. Fall 2010 enrollment in all UMD programs was nearly 11,800 students.

UMD ranks among the top universities the country for its commitment Undergraduate Research Opportunity Programs. The University is also leader in American Indian education, with nearly 20 related campus programs, including strong programs in medicine. The Center for Freshwater Research and Policy and the Large Lakes Observatory contribute to the university's international reputation for comprehensive research in freshwater.

UMD consistently ranks among the top Midwestern, regional universities in U.S. News and World Report's "America's Best Colleges" issue.

TEDxUMD Talks Schedule, Kirby Student Center Lounge March 1, 2011

  • 10:00 am Mindy Granley - Maybe We Should Sweat Some Small Stuff?
  • 10:20 am Ryan Jordan - Music and Social Change
  • 10:40 am Randel Hanson - UMD as Anchor for Regional Food Systems Transformation
  • 11:00 am Olaf Kuhlke - Why We Walk: Pilgrimage, Movement and the Human Quest for Meaning
  • 11:20 am Lisa Fitzpatrick - The Secret Life of an Interpreter
  • 11:40 am Nandini Bhowmick - Social Justice through Math Education: A Lesson Plan
  • 12:00 pm Susan Meyers - Healing through Art
  • 12:20 pm Clayton Kuehl - The Environment in Heart (and Mind)
  • 12:40 pm Mark Zmudy - Connecting Adventure to Research and Academics

  • 1:00 pm Elias Mokole - Stop, Look and Listen Before You Cross the Street!
  • 1:20 pm Aydin Durgunoglu - A Virtual Classroom in Sweden, Uganda and Duluth
  • 1:40 pm Claire Drawe - The True Meaning of a Gift
  • 2:00 pm Cheryl Reitan - The Estonian Singing Revolution
  • 2:20 pm Rob Wittig - Is Life Like a Book or a Smartphone? Why the Form of Fiction Matters
  • 2:40 pm Molly Minkkinen - Mothers' Dreams for their Children Around the World
  • 3:00 pm Marshall Hampton - Exploiting Chaos in the Solar System
  • 3:20 pm Nathan Charbonneau - Bulldog Buddies
  • 4:00 pm Rajiv Vaidyanathan - Eat This, Not That: The New Consumer Research
  • 4:20 pm Danielle Rhodes - Dancing Goats: A Brief History of Coffee
  • 4:40 pm Alicia Lebens - Internet Killed the Newspaper Star (But Created a New Media Maven)

Prerecorded TEDTalks

  • 5:00 pm Sebastian Wernicke - Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics (about TEDTalks)
  • 5:10 pm Jor-El - A Last Ditch Appeal to Save the Planet
  • 5:20 pm Jonathan Harris - The Web's Secret Stories
  • 5:40 pm J.J. Abrams - The Mystery Box
  • 6:00 pm Julian Assange - Why the World Needs WikiLeaks (graphic content--discretion advised)
  • 6:20 pm Madeleine Albright - On Being a Woman and a Diplomat
  • 6:40 pm Imogen Heap - "Wait It Out"
  • 6:50 pm Jake Shimabakuro - "Bohemian Rhapsody"
  • 7:00 pm Matt Andrews - How a Sleeping Gopher Could Save Your Life
  • 7:20 pm Students of DN3401 & Rebecca Katz Harwood - Why Grownups Need Playtime, Too
  • 7:40 pm Brian McInnes and Gordon Jourdain - The People: The Ojibwe Anishiaabe Creation Story
  • 8:00 pm ElEd Block 2 Students, Nedra Hazareesingh, Christine Ridgewell & Tom Mitchell, Nettleton Family Night: - Celebrating Children and Families through Community Service Learning
  • 8:20 pm Sen. Roger Reinert - UMD as a Citizen of Minnesota
  • 8:40 pm Commissioner Steve O'Neil - UMD as a Citizen of Northeast Minnesota
  • 9:00 pm Mayor Don Ness - UMD as a Citizen of Duluth
  • 9:20 pm Chancellor Lendley Black - UMD as a Citizen of the World

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