Get to know the accomplished individuals who will present at the TEDxGreenville conference on April 8th! In this series of blog posts, writer Jennifer Oladipo asks some compelling questions.
Julian E. Nixon is Associate Professor and Department Head of Biological Sciences at Greenville Technical College and an educational entrepreneur who is driven to help students master math and science.
Be honest: what math do we actually use in the real world?
That is an easy question! Every time you go to the bank, grocery store, play a video game, cook, use cleaning supplies, pump gas, or plan a party you are using math. It’s true that you don’t have to have to be an expert in Boolean Algebra when you want to bake a cake but math is any moment that you manipulate numbers and their outcomes. When you check the length of a movie against the amount of time that you have left before going to an appointment, that’s math. When you compare prices on a new video game between the game store and an online seller, that’s math. When you stand in a food court and try to find the best deal under $10, that’s math. Math is everywhere and we use it every day. It’s more than just worksheets and calculators: it’s a way of life.
What was the last idea, big or small, that you thought was an idea worth sharing?
As crazy as this might sound, it’s something about the David and Goliath story. When you read the story in the Bible David actually showed up to watch the battle and report on it to his father—not to fight in it. It wasn’t even his fight! Yet, he took it upon himself to make someone else’s giant his own in order for his people to overcome. Out of that battle in a valley he was promoted and propelled into an amazing life of purpose. The idea: your promotion in life doesn’t always happen on the mountain top, but sometimes in someone else’s low valley.
I watched my first TED Talk around 2009 and I have been hooked ever since. The TED stage is like a dinner table that is being served by a private chef. Everyone is hungry for what you are cooking and it isn’t about you but the concept—the idea—that you are bringing. Their minds are hungry for what will change their lives. I once heard that “expectancy is the breeding ground for miracles,” and THAT is the TEDx stage.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find it in multiple places. I find it on walks through Paris Mountain, I find it with the students that I work with, I find it in video games (lots and lots of video games), I find it in comic books, I find it in movies, I find it in scripture, I find it in my grandfather, I find it in my parents, I find it in my late son, I find it in nature, and I always seem to find it on vacation.
What is the next frontier for the human race?
The next frontier will be other planets, but it is a shame that it will not be the ocean. There is a large percentage of the earth’s oceans that we have not truly explored. We are still finding life under the sea that amazes the scientific world. I would love to know more about what we are actually leaving behind.
For more information about Kaleidoscope speakers and performers, visit our 2016 presenter page, where extended bios are available. To attend the April 8th event at the Kroc Center in Greenville, SC, visit tedxgreenville.com/tickets. A sellout is expected, but if you’re unable to join us in person, watch our Facebook page for details about the free live feed.
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