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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 24, 2010

Delta Center brings best-selling author of ‘The Genius in All of Us’ to campus Oct. 7-8

Award-winning and best-selling author David Shenk will visit the University of Iowa campus Oct. 7-8 to present a series of public events related to his highly acclaimed book, “The Genius in All of Us: Why Everything You've Been Told About Genetics, Talent, and IQ Is Wrong.”

In this 2010 work of nonfiction, Shenk seeks to clarify the role of genes and environment in human ability. The New York Times bestseller challenges and stimulates views of ability, disability and potential. He writes that it is “…foolish to think that mediocrity is built into most of us, or that any of us can know our true limits before we’ve applied enormous resources and invested vast amounts of time. Our abilities are not set in genetic stone. They are soft and sculptable, far into adulthood.”

Shenk is the author of six books, including “The Forgetting,” “Data Smog” and “The Immortal Game.” He is a popular lecturer, short-film director and correspondent for He has contributed to National Geographic, Slate, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Gourmet, Harper's, Spy, The New Yorker, NPR and PBS. He lives in Brooklyn. For more information on the author, visit

The schedule of Shenk’s free, public events in Iowa City is as follows:

--Lecture, “The Genetics of Talent,” 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7, Kollros Auditorium (101 Biology Building East).

--Panel discussion, “Genetics, Epigenetics, and Development,” 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 8, Iowa City Public Library, Meeting Room A. Joining Shenk on the panel will be neuroscientist Mark Blumberg, F. Wendell Miller Professor of Psychology in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the author of “Freaks of Nature: What Anomalies Tell Us About Development and Evolution.”

--Panel discussion, “Implications for Education and Social Policy,” 2 to 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 8, Iowa City Public Library, Meeting Room A. In addition to Shenk, the panel will consist of State Rep. Mary Mascher, and UI College of Education faculty members Nick Colangelo, director of the Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development, and David Lohman, who researches individual differences in abilities and achievements.

--Reading, “The Genius in All of Us,” 5:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 8, Prairie Lights Bookstore, 15 S. Dubuque St., Iowa City. Readings are streamed live and archived at the University of Iowa's Writing University website at

Sponsors of Shenk’s visit are the UI Delta Center, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Department of Psychology, the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, and the Spelman-Rockefeller Fund through the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies.

Delta, the Greek symbol for change, represents the researchers' goal to move beyond traditional scientific approaches for studying learning and development in favor of a viewpoint that embraces life's full complexity. For more information on the Delta Center, visit

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI events. For accommodations or for more information on the events, contact Julie Ostrem of the Delta Center at 319-335-6602.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Julie Ostrem, Delta Center, 319-335-6602,; Nicole Riehl, University News Services, 319-384-0070,