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Campus & Community

Alex Hutchinson to deliver Norman Ford Lecture

Alex Hutchinson, a human performance expert, award-winning journalist and bestselling author, will deliver the 2022 Norman L. Ford Literacy Lecture at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 31, at Pellegrene Auditorium, Saint John’s University.

Many believe our limits are defined by physical traits, but Hutchinson knows limits only exist in our minds. An award-winning science journalist, Hutchinson draws on his experiences as an elite long-distance runner for Canada’s national team and as a scientist to explore the limits of human performance and understand the subtle factors that define champions. His New York Times bestselling book Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance was recently a featured read for the Next Big Idea Club curated by Malcolm Gladwell, Susan Cain, Adam Grant and Daniel Pink.

Shortly after competing in his second Canadian Olympic Trials, Hutchinson decided to leave his postdoctoral physics research post with the U.S. National Security Agency to pursue a master’s degree in journalism — and has never looked back. He is currently a columnist and contributing editor for Outside and Canadian Running magazines, and also writes for the New Yorker’s Elements blog on science, endurance, health and human performance. He is most well-known for debunking health and fitness hype as the Globe and Mail’s Jockology columnist.

In 2008, Hutchinson received a U.S. National Magazine Award for his work covering technology for Popular Mechanics, and in 2012 he received a Lowell Thomas Award for his travel writing in The New York Times.

Alex has a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Cambridge and graduated with a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. He has given talks on endurance and human performance to audiences ranging from the Canadian Olympic Committee’s Own The Podium program to investment bankers and funeral home directors.

The Ford Lecture Series addresses contemporary and cutting-edge scientific topics while encouraging students and the public to become more conversant with the relevance of science in our everyday lives.

The series is made possible through the generous support of a Saint John’s alumnus who wanted to honor one of his favorite and most inspiring professors, Norman Ford, professor emeritus of biology.

Ford taught biology at CSB and SJU for 31 years, until his retirement in 1998. A specialist in ornithology (a branch of zoology that concerns the study of birds), he was published widely in his field, and his skill as a professor was recognized in 1998 when he was presented with the Robert L. Spaeth Teacher of Distinction Award.

Alex Hutchinson

Alex Hutchinson