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.
Wade Knaap, Detective Constable (retired), Faculty University of Toronto Mississauga Forensic Sciences Program
Forensic investigations are often incorrectly portrayed on television and film. This presentation will address these issues and provide the audience with a more accurate depiction of how crime scenes are investigated.
Wade Knapp is retired from Toronto Police Services, where he did Forensic Identification and Scenes of Crime Officer Coordinator.
Spencer C.H. Barrett, PhD. FRS, FRSC, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto
Plants exhibit unrivalled diversity in the ways they reproduce including clonal propagation, self-fertilization, and mating with numerous partners simultaneously. Understanding plant sexual diversity is of importance for both basic and applied research, and I will show how diverse approaches from Darwinian natural history to genomics have provided novel insights into sex lives of plants.
Spencer Barrett is a globe-travelling evolutionary biologist. His work on the reproductive biology, genetics and evolution of flowering plants has garnered many awards. Spencer sits on the RCIScience Council.
Allison McGeer, MD MSc FRCPC, University of Toronto, Canada, Mt. Sinai Hospital
Despite the evidence that vaccines save lives and prevent illness, many of us remain willing to believe that vaccines are dangerous and at least two Canadian universities have defended courses that suggest that children should not be vaccinated. I will discuss why we have so much trouble interpreting and applying scientific evidence about vaccination.
Allison McGeer is the Director of Infection Control at Mt. Sinai Hospital and serves on Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunizationand the Infection Control Subcommittee of the Ontario Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee.
Frauke Zeller, PhD, Ryerson Universoty
David Harris Smith, PhD McMaster University
This talk will introduce hitchBOT, a cultural robot and arts and science project. Drawing on the experiences with the hitchBOT project, we will discuss the cornerstones of the conception and design of a cultural robot, focusing on the importance of personality in robots, and critically discuss the role of social and cultural robots in our society.
Frauke Zeller & David Harris Smith are interested in, among many other things, human-robot interactions. Developed to help in this research, hitch-BOT has received much attention during its adventurous travels.
Eric Poisson, BSc, MSc, Ph.D, Department of Physics, University of Guelph
General relativity, Einstein’s greatest scientific achievement is turning 100 this year. The speaker will describe how a companion body can raise a tide on a black hole, much as the Moon raises a tide on Earth and what consequences this can have on the motion of the two-body system.
Eric Poisson is an award-winning physicist specializing in black holes and gravitational waves. In 2006, he won the Canadian Association of Physics Herzberg Medal for outstanding achievement by a physicist aged 40 or less.
This talk is co-sponsored by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada — Mississauga Centre
Trevor Charles, PhD University of Waterloo
Advances in molecular genetics now make it possible to envision building designer microbes or plants. This presentation will explore the science behind genome engineering, discuss some of the potential applications, and look towards what the future might bring.
Follow up reading: Starved for Science, Robert Paarlberg.
Dr. Charles has provided his slides for us for reference: genome engineering lecture RCI edited
**NOTE: this talk replaces Feeding the World by Boosting Crop Health by Dr. Charles Després. We are working with Dr. Després to reschedule his talk in a future series.
In partnership with Ontario Genomics
Enjoy Toronto’s Santa Claus Parade!
The President of the Royal Canadian Institute for Science is pleased to invite you to the 2015 Fleming Award Ceremony
November 16, 2015 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM
“Embrace the geek in you, make a difference, and tell people about it.”
This year’s Royal Canadian Institute Fleming Medal & Citation winner is Dr. Molly Shoichet.
A professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Toronto, Dr. Shoichet has won kudos internationally for her work on hydrogels – versatile materials that can act help rebuild damaged tissues in the body. Since September 2014, as the senior advisor to the President of the University of Toronto on science and engineering engagement, Dr. Shoichet has also focused on building public awareness about what scientists do all day.
Come and hear Dr. Shoichet share how she is using an innovative media campaign to engage Canadians in science.
The lecture follows the presentation of the Fleming Medal by the Honorable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and Honorary Vice Patron of the Royal Canadian Institute.
Monday, November 16, 7:30 pm, OISE auditorium.
Free and open to the public.
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education Auditorium, 252 Bloor St. W, Toronto, ON
Direct access from St. George Subway station (Bedford St. end).
Angela Schoellig, M.Sc, Ph.D, Head of Dynamic Systems Lab, Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS), University of Toronto
In contrast to their early industrial counterparts, robots have become increasingly safe, capable and affordable. A new generation of robots will operate alongside humans in complex and changing environments. I will show how we prepare robots for their new tasks by, for example, enabling them to “learn” and to automatically adapt to new situations.
Angela Schoellig was recently named one of “25 women in robotics you need to know about” by Robohub.org. You can watch her vehicles performing slalom races and flight dances on her popular YouTube channel.