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.
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.
Sapna Sharma, PhD, Department of Biology, York University
Around the world, lake surface water temperatures are changing. Ontario lakes are an important bellwether for this as they are home to both the northern or southern limits of many freshwater fish species. As the climate changes, these limits shift, making Ontario fish particularly vulnerable. I will discuss how the northward march of the feisty smallmouth bass puts angler-favourites, trout and walleye, at long-term risk in Ontario.
Sapna Sharma researches the impact of stressors, such as climate change, invasive species and habitat degradation to refine overall environmental predictions. Sapna’s lab is committed to outreach, producing educational resources for younger learners.
Siobhan Roberts, Journalist and Author
Author Siobhan Roberts discusses the powerful and promiscuous curiosity of her latest biographical subject, the profoundly playful Princeton mathematician John Horton Conway. Conway is famous for his “Game of Life” which creates emergence, or complexity from simple conditions, a concept adapted from pure mathematics to such diverse fields as biology, economics and computer science.
Siobhan Roberts is a Toronto journalist and author whose work focuses on mathematics and science. Her first book, King of Infinite Space won the Mathematical Association of America’s 2009 Euler Prize for expanding the public’s view of mathematics.
Russell Zeid, RCI Council Member
For those ages 6 to 12, experience the forces of physics through a series of demonstrations and experiments with volunteers participating during an hour of science discovery and fun.
Hosted by Ryerson University.
Where Captain Nemo Got It Right, and Wrong – Life in the Deep Earth
From Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo, to Astronaut Mark Watney stranded on Mars, we remain fascinated by the theme of Exploration. Fact can be stranger than fiction however as we discover that even here on Earth, there are parts of the planet we have only begun to probe for new habitable domains and microbial ecosystems.
Today we will journey with explorers past, present and future as we descend into some of the places on Earth where life ekes out an existence far from the energy of sunlight. We will discuss microorganisms that draw their energy for life not from the sun but from the power of chemistry in the deep dark places of the Earth – in subsurface habitats ranging from the black smoker vents of the ocean’s hydrothermal fields, to deep fracture waters bubbling up 3 km below the surface of northern Canada and in the gold mines of South Africa.
How did they get so deep? What do they eat? How old are they? Some of the answers will make Mark Watney wish he had looked under a few rocks.
Dr. Barbara Sherwood Lollar, C.C. FRSC is a University Professor in Earth Sciences at the University of Toronto. She is Research Chair in Isotopes of the Earth and Environment, Director of the Stable Isotope Laboratory, and Past-President of the Geochemical Society. In 2015 she was named a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. Sherwood Lollar has published extensively in research on stable isotope geochemistry and hydrogeology, the fate of carbon-bearing fluids and gases such as CO2, CH4 and H2 in ancient fracture waters in the Earth’s crust, and the role of deep subsurface microbial populations in carbon cycling. She has been a recipient of many academic awards (including the NGWA Darcy Lecturer, Steacie, Killam and NSERC Accelerator Awards) and most recently the 2012 Eni Award for Protection of the Environment 2012 Geological Society of America Geomicrobiology and Geobiology Prize, and NSERC Polanyi Research Award. Sherwood Lollar was selected in 2000 by Time Magazine Canada for their feature on ”Leaders for the 21st Century” and by Canadian Geographic in 2013 for their list of Ten Canadians “Changing the World” along with and Astronaut Chris Hadfield.