Fall 2016 RCI Science Talks

FREE public one-hour lectures followed by a question period.
Download a printable version of the Fall 2016 RCIScience Talks brochure: rciscience-talks-fall-2016

TORONTO: Sundays at 2 pm (doors open at 1:30 pm)
Medical Sciences Macleod Auditorium, Medical Sciences Building, University of Toronto 1 King’s College Circle (Nearest Subway is Queen’s Park Station) Parking on campus, pay/display; limited disabled parking available.
MISSISSAUGA: Thursday evenings at 7:00 p.m. at Noel Ryan Auditorium, Ground Floor, Mississauga Central Library, 301 Burnhamthorpe Road W. Parking under the library is free after 6 p.m. Enter via the ramp accessed from the southbound lane on Duke of York Boulevard between City Centre Drive and Burnhamthorpe Road.
 
We thank the University of Toronto and the Mississauga Central Library for their support.
Oct
6
Thu
2016
Unlocking The Mysteries Of The Germ Files: Learning How To Love Our Microbes @ MISSISSAUGA: Central Library
Oct 6 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

RECORDING OF TALK

oct3-w150Jason Tetro

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.

Oct
18
Tue
2016
Financial Risk; the Credit Crisis and it’s Aftermath @ TORONTO DOWNTOWN: FCP Gallery
Oct 18 @ 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

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.

Click here for your free ticket

Oct
23
Sun
2016
Mosquitoes: How a few nasty species gave the entire family a bad name @ TORONTO: Medical Sciences Macleod Auditorium
Oct 23 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

Fiona Hunter photoDr. 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.

Recording of Talk

Oct
30
Sun
2016
Driving a Revolution in Affordable Energy for Humanity @ TORONTO: Medical Sciences Macleod Auditorium
Oct 30 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

Nathwani photoDr. 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.

Recording of Talk

Nov
3
Thu
2016
The Dawn of Rice Farming in China @ MISSISSAUGA: Central Library
Nov 3 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

crawfordDr. Gary Crawford
University of Toronto Mississauga, Dept. of Anthropology

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.

Click here for your free ticket here

Nov
6
Sun
2016
Password Security: Recent Threats, Defenses, and Research @ TORONTO: Medical Sciences Macleod Auditorium
Nov 6 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

thorpe_2016Dr. Julie Thorpe
University of Ontario Institute of Technology

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.

Recording of Talk

Nov
15
Tue
2016
Fleming Medal Ceremony @ Isabel Bader Theatre
Nov 15 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

2016 Fleming Medal and Citation

IvanSJoin 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.

Click here for your free ticket

Nov
27
Sun
2016
Travelling to an Asteroid @ TORONTO: Medical Sciences Macleod Auditorium
Nov 27 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

dalyThe 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.

Click here for your free ticket

Dec
1
Thu
2016
Metabolic Diseases: A new look at obesity, diabetes and other diseases @ MISSISSAUGA: Central Library
Dec 1 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Dr. Jonathan D Schertzer
McMaster University


schertzer-in-the-lab-portrait-small
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.

Click here for your free ticket here

Dec
4
Sun
2016
Icicles: The Science of Winter @ TORONTO: Medical Sciences Macleod Auditorium
Dec 4 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

morris-raul_scaled

Dr. Stephen Morris & Pueblo Science

Icicles are harmless and picturesque winter phenomena, familiar to anyone who lives in a cold climate.  The shape of an icicle emerges from a subtle “chicken and egg” feedback.  Ice formation is controlled by how the water flows over the shape of the icicle.  But the shape that the ice grows depends on how the water flows. Ideal icicles are predicted to have a universal “platonic” shape, independent of growing conditions.  In addition, many natural icicles exhibit a ripply shape.  The wavelength of the ripples is also remarkably independent of the growing conditions.  Similar shape and ripple phenomena are also observed on stalactites in caves, although certain details of their formation differ.  Dr. Stephen Morris from the University of Toronto Physics Department built a laboratory icicle growing machine to explore icicle physics and   learned what it takes to make a platonic icicle and the surprising origin of the ripples.

thescienceofwinter-2

Make this Sunday a family affair and bring children of all ages as Pueblo Science will simultaneously be providing chilly hands-on winter activities outside.

Pueblo Science is a Toronto-based registered charity working to advance science education in low-resource communities.  By sparking an interest in science at an early age, Pueblo Science aims to jump-start fundamental changes in social attitudes about science and to help young students understand the impact of human activity on environment, health, and communities.

Click here for your free ticket here