Faculty of Science news
The atmosphere is so unstable that a butterfly flapping its wings can, famously, change the course of weather patterns. The celebrated “butterfly effect” also means that the reliability of weather forecasts drops sharply beyond 10 days.
The 2014 Balles Prize in Critical Thinking, an award for excellence in the promotion of science and reason, was given this year to the creators, producers, and writers of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, and to Dr. Joe Schwarcz for his book Is That a Fact? The Balles Prize is given annually by the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI), publisher of the magazine Skeptical Inquirer.
As scientists continue to hunt for a material that will make it possible to pack more transistors on a chip, new research from McGill University and Université de Montréal adds to evidence that black phosphorus could emerge as a strong candidate.
On behalf of the Faculty of Science and on the occasion of Science Convocation ceremonies (June 2, 2015), Dean of Science Martin Grant offer congratulations to all graduating students, from bachelor's to doctoral, and also to the following prizewinners.
Congratulations to Professor Bruce Lennox who will become the new Dean of the Faculty of Science, effective July 1, 2015. He is currently Tomlinson Professor of Chemistry, a former chair of the Department of Chemistry, and a leading nanoscientist. He will succeed Professor Martin Grant, who is finishing his second term as Dean of Science. More information.
Imagine taking strands of DNA – the material in our cells that determines how we look and function – and using it to build tiny structures that can deliver drugs to targets within the body or take electronic miniaturization to a whole new level.
Congratulations to Professor Victoria Kaspi in the Department of Physics, who was awarded the Killam Prize today. Valued at $100,000, this is one of Canada’s most prestigious awards for academic-career achievement. Vicky Kaspi is a world-renowned astrophysicist known for her cutting-edge work on neutron stars and pulsars.
McGill professor Vicky Kaspi, a world-renowned astrophysicist known for her cutting-edge work on neutron stars and pulsars, was awarded the Killam Prize today, one of the country’s most prestigious awards for academic-career achievement. The $100,000 prize was granted for outstanding scholarship in the natural sciences. Five awards – one each in the categories of the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, health sciences and engineering -- are distributed every year by the Canada Council for the Arts.
A tiny bit of silver, combined with water and air, can convert aldehydes into acids efficiently -- instead of the classical methods using stoichiometric amounts of expensive or toxic metal oxidants, according to a new study by McGill University researchers.
The research group of Prof. Tomislav Friščić in McGill’s Department of Chemistry has made a name for itself in the little-known, but growing field of “mechanochemistry,” in which chemical transformations are produced by milling, grinding or shearing solid-state ingredients – brute force, in other words, rather than fancy liquid agents. “Your coffee maker grinds things,” and grinding molecules in the lab involves much the same principle, Friščić notes. Using mechanical force also has the significant advantage of avoiding the use of environmentally harmful bulk solvents.
Vani Hari, who goes by the alias “The Food Babe” has become a real social phenomenon. She blogs, appears on TV and has just come out with a book that quickly made it to the New York Times best seller list. She has lots of followers and lots of critics, including myself. I don’t disagree with her goal of improving people’s eating habits. I just disagree with the methods used. Irrational fear-mongering is not the way to go. "There is just no acceptable level of any chemical to ingest, ever," she says.
Professor Catherine Potvin, a Canada Research Chair in Climate Change Mitigation and Tropical Forests, has convened colleagues from 30 Canadian universities to join her in a collective initiative called Sustainable Canada Dialogues. The resulting group, that mobilizes over 60 researchers from every province, has built a consensus around a plan of sustainability solutions to help Canada successfully achieve transition to a low-carbon society. Potvin spoke with the McGill Reporter about what government officials and ordinary citizens can do to mitigate climate change.
The popular dietary supplement ubiquinone, also known as Coenzyme Q10, is widely believed to function as an antioxidant, protecting cells against damage from free radicals. But a new study by scientists at McGill University finds that ubiquinone is not a crucial antioxidant -- and that consuming it is unlikely to provide any benefit.