Fall 2017 RCIScience Talks


The War on PTSD 

Sunday September 24th,  2017 – 2pm

J.R.R MacLeod Auditorium, University of Toronto, 1 King’s College Circle

Post Traumatic stress disorder is one of the most common and debilitating mental health conditions. This panel discussion will commence with a 45 minute documentary by Patrick Reed entitled “Beyond Trauma”, which focuses on the military and civilian struggle with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Experts Ruth Lanius, Candice Monson, Anthony Feinstein and Ute Lawrence will discuss current research and treatment by taking a look at data on global conflicts around the world.

Citizen Science & Social Action: Networked Expertise as a Novel Approach to Complex Problem Solving

Thursday October 5th, 2017 – 7pm

Mississauga Central Library, 301 Burnhamthorpe Rd. W.

From collecting water samples to studying radiation contamination, a dizzying range of projects involve every-day people helping advance our understanding of the world. How can these citizen scientists establish their expertise and credibility within the rigorous model of scientific research? We will explore some successful cases, as well as professional efforts to include citizens in research.

Dr. Ashley Rose Mehlenbacher, University of Waterloo



The Planets, a Musical Odyssey of Evolution, Environment and Exploration

Sunday October 29th, 2017 – 3pm*

Hart House, University of Toronto*
NOTE later start time and location

A century ago, Gustav Holst had 7 planets to inspire his composition, The Planets. With Earth, these were the known worlds. Holst evoked the planets’ astrological characteristics, assigned in the distant past by sky watchers trying to make sense of their world. As Holst looked back, astronomers were busy looking up with telescopes, photography and spectroscopy, collecting data, testing ideas and uncovering the true nature of the planets. In the 1960s, space travel launched a steady stream of metal ambassadors and, with them, virtual human exploration. Then, just over 20 years ago, astronomers spied the first planets orbiting other stars. The known world count has swollen since then into the thousands. Explore the mystic and the scientific in this unique presentation, in which the Hart House Orchestra plays excerpts from Holst’s The Planets, interspersed with talks about planetary science in 2017.


Hart House Orchestra
Dr. Matt Russo, Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics
Dr. Alan Jackson, Centre for Planetary Studies, UTSC

Please reserve a seat – call the RCIScience office at 416 977 2983 or reserve on Eventbrite

Presented in partnership with Hart House.


Science at the South Pole

Thursday November 2nd, 2017 – 7pm

Mississauga Central Library, 301 Burnhamthorpe Rd. W.

The quest for ever-clearer views of the sky has driven astronomers to put telescopes in some pretty remote places, ranging from arid deserts, to the tops of mountains, and even the middle of Antarctica. Professor Keith Vanderlinde talks about his work with the 10m South Pole Telescope, and the science that convinced him to undertake an eleven-month “winterover” position working on-location with the telescope.

Dr. Keith Vanderlinde, Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics


Genome Sequencing – A Beaver’s Tale

Sunday, November 26, 2 PM

J.R.R MacLeod Auditorium, University of Toronto, 1 King’s College Circle

This talk describes the use of a difficult but useful form of genome sequencing called de novo sequencing, where the genome sequence is reconstructed from scratch without the shortcuts of current methods.  De novo sequencing is particularly suited to the genomes of species that have previously not been sequenced.  To celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, and as a part of our effort to develop de novo sequencing for clinical use, we completed and published the first genome sequence of the Canadian beaver (Castor canadensis), the country’s iconic national symbol that was the economic engine that drove early British and French colonial expansion leading to the founding of Canada.


Dr. Si Lok, Hospital for Sick Children


Research at the Northern Edge of the Canadian Arctic

Sunday December 3rd, 2017 – 2pm

J.R.R MacLeod Auditorium, University of Toronto, 1 King’s College Circle

Perched on a ridge in the remote polar desert of Ellesmere Island sits an atmospheric research facility, the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL). Surrounded by vast, rugged, and beautiful Arctic scenery, a small team of Canadian scientists use sophisticated instruments at PEARL to measure and investigate a wide range of atmospheric science topics. From this is strategic location, research is conducted to better understand climate change, ozone depletion chemistry, pollution transport, and the high Arctic atmosphere. This talk will highlight how PEARL contributes to research on global environmental issues and what it is like to carry out fieldwork at one of the northernmost research sites in the world.

Featuring, Dan Weaver, Dept. of Physics, University of Toronto