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.
Germs. They’re all around us. For years, we have tried to eradicate them, but now we understand the vital role they play. We are learning to love our microbes! We invite you to explore this topic with the “Germ Guy,” Jason Tetro.
Since he was a teenager, Jason Tetro has called the laboratory his second home. His experience in microbiology and immunology has taken him into several fields including bloodborne, food and water pathogens; environmental microbiology; disinfection and antisepsis; and emerging pathogens such as SARS, avian flu, and Zika virus. He currently is a visiting scientist at the University of Guelph.
In the public, Jason is better known as The Germ Guy, and regularly offers his at times unconventional perspective on science in the media with outlets such as the Huffington Post Canada, Popular Science, Globe and Mail and the CBC. Jason has written two books, The Germ Code, which was shortlisted as Science Book of The Year (2014) and The Germ Files, which spent several weeks on the national bestseller list. He has also co-edited, The Human Microbiome Handbook, which provides an academic perspective on the impact of microbes in human health. This year, he was honoured as one of the top 50 contributors by the Huffington Post Canada. He lives in Toronto.
RCIScience at Lunch! A new program for 2016-17. First up, we are delighted to welcome Dr. John Hull from the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto to speak on managing risk in financial markets. Dr. Hull is the Maple Financial Chair in Derivatives and Risk Management. He is the author of several books on the subject of managing risk in finance.
Note: lunch is not provided, but we welcome you to bring your own and enjoy it as you listen to the wonders of managing risk in financial markets.
Dr. Fiona F. Hunter
Brock University, Dept. of Biological Sciences
Mosquitoes have an important role to play in the ecosystem but this is usually overshadowed by the attention given to nuisance biters and disease vectors. We will explore the beauty and behaviours of both “good” and “bad” species, with an emphasis on West Nile and Zika virus transmission.
Fiona received her BSc and MSc degrees from University of Toronto and then went on to complete her PhD in Biology at Queen’s University. Throughout her academic career she has studied a wide variety of biting flies but she and her students now spend most of their time studying mosquitoes, no-see-ums and ticks. Fiona has taught at Brock University for over 20 years. She is a former Director of the Wildlife Research Station in Algonquin Park and now runs a Containment Level 3 (CL3) lab at Brock where studies on live, infected, mosquitoes are conducted.
Dr. Jatin Nathwani
Ontario Research Chair and Executive Director, Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy, University of Waterloo
Energy remains a fundamental enabler of human betterment and a key step on the ladder to an improved quality of life for billions who live without clean energy for heat, light, water or medical care. Delivering on the promise of global, universal energy access requires affordable solutions that are scalable on a massive scale.
This talk will highlight the foundational basis of scientific, technological and social innovations needed to support new talent and business models for revolutionary change that will make energy poverty a thing of the past.
Prof. Nathwani serves on several Boards at the provincial and national levels. He is Scientific Advisor to the Equinox Energy 2030 Summit of the Waterloo Global Science Initiative (WGSI). He is Chair of the Board of Canadian University Network of Excellence in Nuclear Engineering (UNENE), Member of the Ontario Smart Grid Forum, Board Member, Ontario Centre of Excellence (OCE), Member, Clean Tech Advisory Board (Dept. of Foreign Affairs and Intl Trade), Member, Council for Clean and Reliable Electricity (CCRE), Member, Advisory Panel for the Science Media Centre of Canada (SMCC), and Advisory Board Member, Sustainable Waterloo. His current focus is on competitive energy policies to enable the innovations required for the transition of the global energy system to a lower carbon energy economy. The Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy promotes policies to enhance the environmental and economic performance over the long term.
How did the lives of people and rice become intertwined and combined with other organisms such as peach, water chestnut, pig, and dog to develop one of the most important agricultural traditions in the world? We’ll travel to a region just south of Shanghai to explore archaeological discoveries of villages and towns whose people made extraordinary technological and ecological innovations beginning about 11,000 years ago and learn what these innovations were and why they may have developed where and when they did. Can we learn anything from these societies relevant to our lives today?
Gary W. Crawford, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, is a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Toronto Mississauga, Canada. His interests lie in ancient human ecology and span two continents: North America and East Asia. He pioneered research on the relationships between plants and people (palaeoethnobotany) in Ontario and Japan in the 1970s and early 1980s and helped start palaeoethnobotanical research in China in the late 1990s. His current research focuses on agricultural origins and development in Ontario and China and the extent to which ancient people changed the environment in which they lived. He has published two textbooks, hosted a television series on archaeology for TVOntario, and has published widely in journals such as Antiquity, PLOS One, PNAS, Nature, Current Anthropology, American Antiquity, and The Holocene. He currently has a federally funded research grant to investigate the earliest agricultural society in the Yangtze basin, China.
Passwords are a bane to our online existence: they protect our most sensitive information, but we are so overwhelmed with the sheer number of them that many of us resort to insecure practices. This talk will raise awareness of the threats to passwords, strategies you can use to help protect yourself, and our research at UOIT to improve password security and usability.
Dr. Julie Thorpe is an Associate Professor at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT). Prior to joining UOIT, she worked in the field of IT security for 8 years. She has served on the program committee for various international computer security conferences including ACM CCS, USENIX Security, ACSAC, PST, ACM SPSM, and NSPW. Her research interests include authentication, biometrics, human factors, usability, security policy, software security, and operating system security. Her research has been featured in various media outlets, including Wired magazine, Popular Science, Slashdot, BBC World News, The New York Times, CBC’s Ottawa Morning Show, and the Toronto Star.
2016 Fleming Medal and Citation
Join us Tuesday, November 15th for an evening celebrating excellence in science communication as we honour IvanSemeniuk, with the 2016 Fleming Medal and Citation from the Royal Canadian Institute for Science (RCIScience). The award recognizes Ivan’s outstanding contributions to the public understanding of science.
The ceremony will be followed with a talk by Ivan entitled A Canary in the Cathedral, where Ivan reveals his favourite stories as a science communicator, broadcaster and journalist and considers the future of the profession in Canada.
Ivan has been an instructor/researcher at the Ontario Science Centre, Producer/columnist at Discovery Channel Canada, senior correspondent with two of the highest-impact science publications in the world (Nature and New Scientist), writer/host of the TV series Cosmic Vistas, for the last three years as science reporter for the Globe and Mail, “Canada’s national newspaper”, through numerous freelance articles, conference presentations, workshops, and public lectures, and through his on-line presence.
Doors open at 7pm. Ceremony beings at 7:30. Reception to follow the talk.
The OSIRIS REx spacecraft has an ambitious mission – to travel to an asteroid, land, grab some samples and return. How difficult was it to plan a mission like this? What can we hope to learn about our own past by studying these ancient citizens of the solar system?
Dr. Michael Daly, Lassonde School of Engineering, contributed to the OSIRIS REx Mission and will give us an overview of what it hopes to achieve, as well as the Canadian angle. York University Research Chair in Planetary Science, Dr. Daly’s research interests focus on answering a variety of planetary science questions using custom instrumentation in the laboratory or in-situ. Dr. Daly is currently leading the science contribution of Canada’s OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter that was launched in September. He also works in the area of deep-UV Raman spectroscopy and is currently building a multi-million dollar planetary surface simulation facility. Mike is also the Undergraduate Program Director for York’s unique Space Engineering Program. Prior to joining York University, he led the engineering of Canada’s first instruments to operate on Mars and the design of the cameras in the International Space Station’s Dextre robot’s end-effectors.
Dr. Jonathan D Schertzer
What are the underlying mechanisms controlling metabolism and how do these contribute to the link between Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes? Hear how research has uncovered a role for stress and inflammation in metabolic diseases, and how exercise and commonly used medications for type 2 diabetes create glucose lowering effects. Hear about a newly-discovered role for bacteria and the “microbiome” relates to obesity and blood sugar levels.
Dr. Jonathan Schertzer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University. He completed a BSc and MSc at the University of Waterloo. He completed his PhD in 2007 at The University of Melbourne (Australia). He then did postdoctoral work in the Cell Biology Program with Dr. Amira Klip at The Hospital for Sick Children (Toronto). He holds Canadian Diabetes Association Scholar and Canadian Institutes of Health Research New Investigator awards. His research is focussed on how nutrients, bacteria and drugs trigger inflammation and changes in blood glucose during obesity.