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Faculty of Science news

The beat goes on: the geometry that makes music pleasing

A research team led by neuroscientists Drs. Daniel Levitin and Vinod Menon, from McGill and Stanford Universities, analyzed the scores of close to 2,000 musical compositions written by more than 40 composers over the last 400 years in a large variety of Western musical genres. They discovered a mathematical formula governing the rhythmic patterns to which every single piece of music conformed.

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Published on : 20 Feb 2012

Register until April 4 for Mini-Science 2012: "OUCH! - The science of pain from onset to relief."

Register until April 4 for the Mini-Science 2012 series, presented by leading McGill scientists, starting with 'Dr. Joe' on the chemistry of pain and covering many major aspects of pain science, from molecular and neural pathways to the psychological modulation of pain.

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Published on : 17 Feb 2012

Neuron memory key to taming chronic pain

A team of researchers led by McGill neuroscientist Terence Coderre, who is also affiliated with the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, has found the key to understanding how memories of pain are stored in the brain. More importantly, the researchers are also able to suggest how these memories can be erased, making it possible to ease chronic pain.

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Published on : 13 Feb 2012

Scientific American - Scientists manipulate and erase memories

[Following a violent robbery, Joël] Coutu’s ordeal was just beginning. For years he would be tormented by violent nightmares, panic attacks brought on by the mere hint of aggression around him, and severe depression—signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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Published on : 26 Jan 2012

Montreal Gazette - Antioxidants are good; free radicals are bad, right?

There is one thing we know for sure about antioxidants. They sell products. Unfortunately that is just about the only thing we know for sure about this fascinating class of chemicals.

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Published on : 25 Jan 2012

McGill urgent announcements on your computer

In line with the recommendations of the Jutras Report, we’re working hard to improve every our emergency communications planning. To help, on Jan. 31 we’ll launch new software called Alertus that allows us to send pop-up announcements to your computer if an urgent situation arises. People using laptops, Macs or non-ICS-supported desktops will need to install this software manually.

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Published on : 25 Jan 2012

Supporting Innovation

The CFI awards more than $1 million to seven McGill researchers

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Published on : 24 Jan 2012

The Scientist - Antimicrobial cross-resistance risk

Bacteria that evolve resistance to antimicrobial therapies may be able to evade natural immune peptides. However, bacteria can evolve resistance to AMPs under strong selective pressure in vitro.

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Published on : 24 Jan 2012

Stanford Daily, Mercury News, Wall Street Journal - Stanford study shows women report more intense pain than men

The long-held notion that women have a higher tolerance for pain than men do has been upended by a Stanford University study released on Monday, January 23rd 2012.

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Published on : 24 Jan 2012

Royal Society's Chemistry World - DNA motors on

As a supramolecular chemist, Hanadi Sleiman found herself strongly drawn to manmade DNA structures. 'We think of DNA as the most programmable structure there is. I thought - if it is - let me try to incorporate it into regular supramolecular structures,' says the professor at McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

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Published on : 10 Jan 2012

BBC - Carbon emissions 'will defer Ice Age'

Human emissions of carbon dioxide will defer the next Ice Age, say scientists. The last Ice Age ended about 11,500 years ago, and when the next one should begin has not been entirely clear.

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Published on : 09 Jan 2012

Montreal Gazette - Water purifier, cancer curer: Truth and lies about silver

(Chemistry professor Joe Schwarcz): A child born into a wealthy family is said to have "been born with a silver spoon in his mouth." The silver represents wealth, but thanks to the "oligodynamic effect," it may even have a connection to health.

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Published on : 07 Jan 2012

Back to the future: Supersoldier ants illuminate evolution

Researchers have discovered they can induce supersoldiers in Pheidole ant species that never had them before. These supersoldier anomalies represent dormant ancestral potential that can be invoked by changes in the environment. These findings are groundbreaking for evolutionary theory, because they show there is dormant genetic potential that can be locked in place for a very long time.

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Published on : 06 Jan 2012

BBC, National Post, Nature, et al. - Ants turned into 'supersoldiers'

In 2006, while collecting ants on an abandoned property in central Long Island, biologist Ehab Abouheif of McGill University noticed eight unusually oversized ants. They were anomalies to the region, but looked similar to the so-called "supersoldier" ants found in the American Southwest.

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Published on : 06 Jan 2012