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Where do all the socks go?

(Everyone is familiar with losing socks.  No matter how careful you are, or more precisely how careful you think you are, socks inexorably disappear.  Scientists have the same problem.  Or rather, in addition to the sock problem, scientists have a related problem: the disappearing book problem.  Typically, we don’t have a lot of books compared [...]

Classified as : Staff, Faculty, External, Students
Published on : 23 Aug 2012

Unintended consequences: With red squares in the sunset, what is the value of a University education?

Excuse me while I back into this.  In Charlottetown PEI, when I was young, for one day each year children would wear masks and roam the streets at night, walking from door to door to get candy from neighbours.  At some point children started to wear face paint instead of masks so they could see [...]

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Published on : 08 Jun 2012

Mini-Science 2012 Q&A: “The pain-reward connection”

At the conclusion of each Mini-Science lecture, audience members submit their questions to the evenings presenter, who answers as many as possible on the spot. Here are some of the best questions from Dr. Petra Schweinhardt’s May 9 talk, “The pain-reward connection.” Q: Why are opioids released higher up in the brain? A: Opioids are [...]

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Published on : 16 May 2012

Mini-Science 2012 Q&A: “Just say know: what marijuana has taught us about pain control”

At the conclusion of each Mini-Science lecture, audience members submit their questions to the evenings presenter, who answers as many as possible on the spot. Here are some of the best questions from Dr. Mark Ware’s May 2 talk, “Just say know: what marijuana has taught us about pain control.” Q: What can you tell [...]

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Published on : 08 May 2012

Mini-Science 2012 Q&A: “Helping people with pain resume occupational involvement”

At the conclusion of each Mini-Science lecture, audience members submit their questions to the evenings presenter, who answers as many as possible on the spot. Some of the best questions are posted here. Here are questions from Dr. Michael Sullivans April 25 talk, Helping people with pain resume occupational involvement. Q: Does completion of PGAP [...]

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Published on : 01 May 2012

Sabbatical: Release?

Text and photos by Prof. Prakash Panangaden, School of Computer Science. I was curious about the etymology of the word sabbatical after just completing one last August. There is the obvious connection to sabbath, which suggests a once-every-seven-years cycle. Apparently it comes from the Hebrew Shmita and means the land is to lie fallow once [...]

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Published on : 27 Apr 2012

Mini-Science 2012 Q&A: “Pain, friends, sex and your mother” and “Why a broken heart really does hurt”

At the conclusion of each Mini-Science lecture, audience members submit their questions to the evenings presenter, who answers as many as possible on the spot. Some of the best answered or unanswered questions are sent to the presenter for posting here. Here are questions from the third and fourth lectures in the series. From Professor [...]

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Published on : 24 Apr 2012

Publish or perish

Academics and academic administrators are always looking for ways to measure and quantify performance.  That is, how can we tell if someone is doing, or not doing, excellent science?  This is easy to assess in hindsight – excellent science is that which advances the field – but it is a surprisingly tough question to answer [...]

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Published on : 20 Apr 2012

Mini-Science 2012 Q&A: “The chemical conquest of pain” and “How the mind can alter pain”

At the conclusion of each Mini-Science lecture, audience members submit their questions to the evenings presenter, who answers as many as possible on the spot. Some of the best answered or unanswered questions are sent to the presenter for posting here. Here are questions from the first two lectures. From Professor Joe Schwarczs talk,  The [...]

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Published on : 11 Apr 2012

Origami pteranodon: Mathematical art at the Redpath Museum

Text by Ingrid Birker. Robert Lang, one of the world’s leading artists in origami—Japanese paper folding—just happens to be a physicist who loves animals and math. He puts mathematics into his folded animal sculptures by using his MacBook Pro, TreeMaker and ReferenceFinder — two freeware programs he created — and Wolfram’s Mathematica, to convert simple [...]

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Published on : 02 Mar 2012

Traces from the past

Text by Ingrid Birker. Photos by Torsten Bernhardt. Typical of a museum junkie, my favourite things in life are leftovers from the past. Most often these historical items are not large or monumental, or even striking. Often, the relics that I am most attracted to are small, rough and left behind by unknown sources. At [...]

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Published on : 10 Jan 2012

Holiday fun ideas inspired by Sam the Christmas Dog

(By Martin Grant, Dean of Science) As we come out of a long strike by our support staff, like everyone at McGill, I am pretty tired and not in the mood for fun or even a holiday – but boy oh boy do I need one, as does everyone else here.  With that thought in [...]

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Published on : 15 Dec 2011

Africa… What a magic place!

Martine Dolmière is the Faculty of Science’s Internship and Field Studies Officer, and helps coordinate our Canadian Field Study in Africa Program. She was so interested to see the kinds of things our students see that she recently spent part of her own vacation in Kenya and Uganda. Her hosts were Professors Lauren Chapman (Biology) [...]

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Published on : 18 Aug 2011

The black tie and the purple tie

In my office I keep two ties for emergencies.  I do not mean emergencies like preventing a fire or helping someone with a health problem.  Rather I mean occasions where I should be wearing a tie, but regrettably I have shown up to work without one.  One tie is black, one is purple.  I have [...]

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Published on : 28 Jul 2011

Water at McGill

By Ingrid Birker In May 2011, when the accumulated rainfall of 102 mm (three times the amount of rain that fell last May) caused the Richelieu River to breach its banks and force over 1,000 people to leave their homes, McGill  installed six high-volume water dispensing and refilling stations. Known as “BYOB”, these large, blue, [...]

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Published on : 17 Jun 2011