Jean-Marie De Koninck

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Jean-Marie De Koninck

Photo of Jean-Marie De Koninck | Photo de Jean-Marie De Koninck

Biography

As a member of a well-known family of intellectuals who have historic ties to Laval University, Jean-Marie De Koninck first attended that institution before earning a master’s degree and doctorate from Temple University in Philadelphia. In 1972, he returned to Laval University to take up a faculty position in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, where he not only made impressive scientific contributions, but also participated in sports and social causes.

His work as a professor has always sought to engage a wider public. For example, his program entitled Sciences et mathématiques en action seeks to strengthen youth interest in math and science. His landmark collection, En chair et en maths demystifies the science of numbers for general audiences, and his television program, C’est mathématique!, demonstrates how math is present in almost every aspect of daily life across a range of human activities. Professor De Koninck has also hosted a Saturday morning science program on Radio-Canada.

For years, he contributed to university sports as a swim team coach, which earned him the Lester B. Pearson prize in 2010. But he is most famous as the founder of Operation Red Nose, for which he has won many awards including honours from Quebec’s National Assembly in 2003. Operation Red Nose, which De Koninck created in 1984 to raise awareness of the perils of drinking and driving, now boast 55,000 volunteers. In his book Routes et déroutes, Professor De Koninck describes his efforts to promote road safety. Given his workload, how he finds time to work on dozens of fundraising campaigns for charitable organizations is nothing short of amazing.

Jean-Marie De Koninck is a prolific author of scientific articles and books, and an inspiring lecturer. In 1999, he was named chevalier de l’Ordre national du Québec; in 2005, he was named Scientist of the Year by Radio-Canada; and in 2014, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

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