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Neither monks nor beatniks

A great University is on the one hand as rigid and hierarchical as a seminary, on the other hand as open and anarchic as a commune. Our values include the explicit openness to all ideas – except for one: that all ideas are equally good. We believe the quality of ideas can be measured like [...]

Classified as : Staff, Faculty, External, Students
Published on : 08 Jun 2011

Convocation connections

By Antonia Di Paola-Belliveau Walking onto campus this morning I noticed that the flooring for the convocation tent was being set up.  It felt like someone just punched me in the stomach and tears came to my eyes.  It hit me then and there that one of my own was going to walk across that [...]

Classified as : Staff, Faculty, External, Students
Published on : 26 May 2011

The Fermi paradox and a revolution in the head

Today, like on most days, I walked to work.  Walking is a funny thing.  While walking, one kind of falls forward while pushing backwards against the planet Earth with one’s feet in an intricate two-step dance. The Earth pushes back, and one is propelled forward in a sort of lurching way.  It is kind of [...]

Classified as : Staff, Faculty, External, Students
Published on : 12 May 2011

Mini-Science 2011 – Nuclear power: energy for the future?

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. Three of the unanswered questions are sent to the presenter for posting here. Here are questions from Dr. Ariel Fensters lecture Nuclear power — energy for the future? (April 20, [...]

Classified as : Staff, Faculty, External, Students
Published on : 28 Apr 2011

Mini-Science 2011 – The dance of the molecules in cells

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. Three of the unanswered questions are sent to the presenter for posting here. Here are questions from Dr. Paul Wisemans lecture The dance of the molecules in cells (April 13, [...]

Classified as : Staff, Faculty, External, Students
Published on : 21 Apr 2011

Jimi Hendrix and musical acoustics

Last year, I was attending a reception at a McGill event. I was standing in the back – perhaps too far in the back – and a colleague asked me if I had ever thought about writing a book about the physics of Jimi Hendrix’s guitar sounds.  Huh, I said – just before a microphonic [...]

Classified as : Staff, Faculty, External, Students
Published on : 12 Apr 2011

Mini-Science 2011 – Biofuels: sustainable energy as the oil runs out?

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. Three of the unanswered questions are sent to the presenter for posting here. Here are questions from Dr. Donald Smiths lecture Biofuels — sustainable energy as the oil runs out? [...]

Classified as : Staff, Faculty, External, Students
Published on : 08 Apr 2011

Mini-Science 2011 – Nuclear power: energy for the future?

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. Three of the unanswered questions are sent to the presenter for posting here. Here are questions from Dr. Ariel Fensters lecture Nuclear power — energy for the future? (April 20, [...]

Classified as : Staff, Faculty, External, Students
Published on : 07 Apr 2011

Mini-Science 2011 – From Jesuit’s bark to synchrotrons: the rise and fall of an antimalarial

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. Three of the unanswered questions are sent to the presenter for posting here. Here are questions from Dr. Scott Bohles lecture From Jesuits bark to synchrotrons the rise and [...]

Classified as : Staff, Faculty, External, Students
Published on : 01 Apr 2011

George Mercer Dawson – What’s in a name?

(By Ingrid Birker, Science Outreach Coordinator) The other day I was attending a meeting in the Dean of Science’s office, located on the second floor of Dawson Hall. I peered out, and the first thing I saw was a dell of trees — some exotic and some local, some wizened with age and some youthful and upright—where [...]

Classified as : Staff, Faculty, External, Students
Published on : 30 Mar 2011

Mini-Science 2011 – From the chemistry of chicken soup to the chemistry of the brain and behaviour

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. Three of the unanswered questions are sent to the presenter for posting here. Here are questions from Dr. Amir Razs lecture From the chemistry of chicken soup to the chemistry [...]

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Published on : 25 Mar 2011

Mini-Science 2011 – Chemicals for better and for worse

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. Three of the unanswered questions are sent to the presenter for posting here. Here are questions from Dr. Joe Schwarczs lecture Chemicals for better and for worse (March 16, 2011). [...]

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Published on : 18 Mar 2011

The McDLT and the arrow of time

Years ago McDonald’s introduced a lettuce and tomato hamburger called the McDLT, where the (hot) hamburger was kept on one side of the container and the (cold) lettuce and tomato on the other.  The patented container was intended to keep the hot side hot and the cool side cool.  When you received your order, you [...]

Classified as : Staff, Faculty, External, Students
Published on : 18 Feb 2011

Brooks and Rutherford Emanate

The more physics you have the less engineering you need. (Ernest Rutherford) Physics at McGill was born in 1891 when the tobacco manufacturer, William Macdonald, dedicated funding for a new Physics Building and for the creation of the Macdonald Chair in Physics. In 1893 the Macdonald Physics Building opened and the M.Sc. program was established. [...]

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Published on : 03 Jan 2011

The Story of Sam the Christmas Dog

(By Martin Grant, Dean of Science) Many years ago, I made a homemade CD to send to family and friends at Christmas.  I got the idea from my brother Nick, who had done something similar the previous year.  The CD was called The Story of Sam the Christmas Dog.  There was some narration by me, [...]

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Published on : 17 Dec 2010