Peter will speak about energy issues in Canada and climate change as the most important environmental issue to face mankind. He will highlight the critical role energy conservation plays, the benefits of conservation and its challenges. He will refer specifically to what you can do in Mississauga, at home, at work and in school. There will be lots of time for questions so use this as a chance to ask those questions about energy that have been nagging you for years.
How do we know that people in Syria were exposed to the nerve agent, sarin? How do pesticides get into arctic fauna? Where did Ötzi, the iceman, come from? Analytical chemists measure all kinds of parameters that are used in the service of crime scene investigations and in the development of regulations. They can tell us not only where Ötzi came from, but what he did for a living.
This talk will provide you with a look into the world of analytical chemistry where large machines are used to measure small amounts of chemicals that are of great consequence. Medical diagnoses, environmental policies, battery lifetimes, ancient trade routes – all of these and many aspects of our everyday life – depend upon the work of analytical chemists, who provide the numbers that are used to find the answers to diverse problems.
Lockerbie, TWA 800, Ustica are names cast in the collective memory for large aircraft accidents. How can science help forensic investigation?
The solution of each such investigation calls for the participation of large number of experts from various disciplines, from coroners to aircraft forensic experts, from meteorologists and radar experts to police investigators, from ballistic to material scientists. Wreckage recovery, often at the sea, and aircraft reconstruction over convenient false fuselages call for large logistic and financial efforts. Investigation often borders true scientific research when investigation routine protocols are not sufficient. Donato Firrao has been called in Italy to the investigation of many aircraft accidents, often many years after the fact. He will explain how science and forensic engineering is applied in these types of investigations.
Modern science is a powerful and successful institution for creating knowledge. Given this general success, it is interesting to consider situations in which smart researchers, with integrity, get things wrong. One area in which there is a long history of good science leading to bad results is scientific research on women’s and men’s sexuality, and the distribution of labour between the sexes. This is a case in which scientific research can produce ignorance rather than knowledge. How does this happen? What are the consequences of these errors? And, how can we improve this state of affairs?
Disease causing bacteria are increasingly resistant to antibiotic drugs. The result is a growing medical crisis across the globe. Why is this happening and how can we prime the drug discovery pipeline?
The development of antibiotics in the early part of the 20th Century is arguably one of the most revolutionary discoveries in modern medicine. Yet these remarkable medicines are increasingly losing their efficacy to treat disease. This fact is one of the greatest challenges to Medicine and global Public Health in the 21st Century. Why is this happening? The answer lies in evolutionary biology and the natural history of antibiotics that reaches deep into the past and reflects the need to continuously discover and invent new drugs to match microbial evolution. Lewis Caroll’s Red Queen from the Through the Looking Glass anticipated this idea when she told Alice “ it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place”. Unfortunately, the pharmaceutical and regulatory sectors have failed to take notice of this warning and there are few new drugs in the antibiotic pipeline. What is the impact on medicine in the short and long terms and what can be done about it?
What are Block Polymers and where can they be used in society? Dr. Liu will explain how Block copolymers form numerous intricate nanostructures with many applications that will benefit consumers, the environment, and society. The versatility of block copolymers arises from their inherent structure, which consists of two or more distinct chains of repeating molecular units. This multi-component feature allows block copolymers to form a vast array of elaborate and ordered nanostructures in solution or the solid state. More exotic block copolymer nanostructures can be created using novel generic methods developed by us. While the diversity and complexity of these structures are fascinating in their own right, these materials are also extremely useful. They can provide robust protective coatings that repel water- and oil-based pollutants alike or particles that reduce friction and engine wear.
Every cell in the human body interacts with its environment through the proteins found on its outer surface. It is through these many surface proteins that cells obtain nutrients, receive signals (e.g. hormones) and adhere to the right location in the body. In order to work properly, each cell surface protein must be organized and then removed when it is no longer needed. This critical role is carried out by a protein termed clathrin, which controls how cells respond to hormones and obtain nutrients from their environment. Understanding how clathrin works thus has important possible implications for human health.
Photosynthetic solar energy conversion occurs on an immense scale across the earth, influencing our biosphere
from climate to oceanic food webs. These are amazing solar cells! Fronds in kelp forests, crustose coralline algae and
purple bacteria have shown interesting properties relevant these energy transfer phenomena. Underpinning these examples are some fascinating chemical physics, where experiments and theories reveal the mechanisms involved in the ultrafast energy transfer processes of light harvesting. This talk will introduce the incredible physical processes that initiate photosynthesis in the first picoseconds after light is absorbed.
Co-sponsored by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and hosted by Ryerson University.
ThIs lecture was given at Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University, 55 Dundas Street West, Toronto M5G 2C3 – 7th Floor Room TRS-1-067.
Who we are, how we behave, how we love and laugh – the brain plays a very important role in these and many other behaviours. This presentation highlights some 35 years of personal research on damage to the frontal lobes of the brain, that area most related to the highest level of functions, and the effect of such damage on social behaviour. Examples include early cases of damage to the frontal lobes such as the well-known report of Phineas Gage; the effects of frontal lobotomies on personality; the mystery of the “double family”; a case study of the effect of damage to the latest area of the brain to evolve; to laugh or not to laugh – that is the question; and – if time – can we lose feelings associated with our memories?
Human activity has significantly perturbed the nitrogen cycle leading to negative consequences for air quality, climate, acid deposition, and ecosystem health.
Nitrogen is key to life on Earth, but despite being the most abundant element in the atmosphere, the strength of the N2 triple bond renders those atoms inaccessible under most natural conditions. In the modern industrial period, humans have devised technologies that break this triple bond (or ‘fix’ the nitrogen) intentionally (e.g. for fertilizer production) and unintentionally (e.g. as a byproduct of fossil fuel combustion). Once released, fixed nitrogen can cause a cascade of environmental issues. The impacts I will discuss include: 1) the role of nitrogen oxides in controlling smog production in the Greater Toronto Area; 2) the coupling of ammonia and acidic particles with implications for human and ecosystem health; and 3) the interaction of the nitrogen cycle and climate change.
Viewing the genome as a collection of recipes rather than a catalogue of genes is fundamentally changing how we think about and treat genetic diseases such as cancers, spinal muscular atrophy and autism. The implications for you personally and for the sustainability of health care are shocking.
For more information on Dr. Frey’s talk:
Dr. Frey’s lab’s website
Exciting new genetics research is in the news almost daily. Companies promise (for a fee) to analyze your genome (but beware!). Despite the hype, the real discoveries are truly extraordinary and are transforming our understanding of normal biology, and how we manage and treat disease.
Co-sponsored by the Gairdner Foundation
What happens in our brains that allows us to calculate and become mathematically fluent? As the brain develops, the structures and functions associated with calculation change dynamically. In this talk of interest to educators, parents and anyone who has ever felt “mathematically challenged”, we will explore how individual differences in competence and strategy-use affect the brain as we calculate.
Numerical Cognition Laboratory at Western University
Each year, billions of migratory organisms on our planet commute vast distances between their temperate breeding grounds and tropical overwintering habitats. I will share with you how we’ve uncovered some of these incredible, record-breaking migrations and, using an example of the iconic monarch butterfly, show why tracking individuals over the course of the annual cycle is fundamental for their successful conservation.
In the field, people can now record plant and animal sightings in real time with their smart phones. At the same time, emerging radio tracking technology known as “motus” (from the Latin for “motion”) is transforming bird migration research. Together, these open the door to new “citizen science” and exciting discoveries in both the academic and recreational realms, key to conserving birds and all wildlife.
Sir John Franklin’s third expedition, the most infamous European voyage to navigate a sea route through the Canadian Arctic, has captivated people in Canada and around the world for a century and a half. Explore recent archaeological research and what it tells us about the lives and deaths of these explorers has revealed about the lives and deaths these explorers. Join the voyage as we revisit the momentous finds that led to the discovery of Franklin’s long-lost ship Erebus.
Circadian rhythms are 24-hour biological rhythms that affect our health and behaviour, influencing many things, from the best time to take a test, to the timing of a heart attack or stroke, to the arrival of death itself. Recent discoveries about the mechanisms underlying circadian rhythms have implications on how we organize school, work, social, and medical schedules.
Thanks to NASA’s Mars Rovers, we know much more about our planetary neighbour than we did a decade ago. Controlled from Earth, experiments conducted by the Rover instruments reveal that Mars was once a more habitable place. A key instrument on all 4 Mars Rovers and also on the Rosetta mission lander, Philae, is the Canadian APXS experiment, a soda-can sized device that measures the composition of rocks and soils.
Co-Sponsored by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada – Toronto Centre.
An afternoon of engaging hands-on activities geared towards children 6-12 years and their families, sharing the excitement of science, technology, engineering and math.
Volunteers running the activities will include post-secondary students who are eager to share their passion for science and can help answer your questions.