. . . when McGill scientists bust myths and clarify science.
Freaky Friday public outreach lectures allow McGill scientists to examine the myths, realities and misconceptions surrounding some pressing science issues.
Where: Auditorium, Redpath Museum, 859 Sherbrooke Street West, Metro McGill/Peel (unless otherwise indicated).
Seating is limited. No reservations necessary.
When: 5 PM
Cost: Free, unless indicated otherwise.
The Freaky Friday series was made possible with funding from the Science Outreach Program in the Faculty of Science.
Most of the Freaky Friday lectures are available on iTunes U and on McGill podcasts. Go to the section entitled "Science and Technology" to watch and/or download video and audio recordings of Freaky Friday presentations from the last three years.
Please note: You can view our 2012-2013 podcasts here.
The Night of the Comet: How Meteors can Kill You
By Robert Rutledge (Physics, McGill). This presentation will be followed by the film Deep Impact (1998).
Free, everyone welcome. No reservation necessary.
IMAGE: The Chelyabinsk meteor that entered the Earth's atmosphere over Russia in February 2013. From Wikipedia Commons.
January 11: Sasquatch and the unknown — wildmen as physical and cultural phenomena
By André Costopoulos, Associate Dean (Student Affairs). Wildmen are known by many names around the world: Sasquatch, Orang Pendek, Bigfoot, Yeti, Yowie, Mistabau, and many others. Whether or not they represent a real physical phenomenon, one thing is certain: they are a real and important cultural phenomenon. We will explore what they mean to us and what their presence in our culture says about us as humans. We will also examine some of the reported evidence of their physical existence. This Freaky Friday will be followed by the 1987 film Harry and the Hendersons, a dramatic comedy about a family's encounter with the cryptozoological creature Bigfoot.
IMAGE: John Lithgow and Harry in Harry and the Hendersons.
February 1: Conversations with rats
By Paul Clarke (Pharmacology and Therapeutics). Laboratory rats appear largely silent to us, but they are in fact surprisingly vocal - in a high frequency range which we cannot hear. Rats make many different kinds of ultrasonic calls, and although we are far from "cracking the code", we think that eavesdropping on rat conversations will provide insights into the emotional life of these creatures. Followed by the 1968 film Charly based on the novel Flowers for Algernon. Read about Dr. Clarke's research work and Teaching Excellence Award.
IMAGE: Actor Cliff Robertson as Charly interacting with the laboratory rat Algernon.
February 22: Spring is not what it used to be: Climate change and flowering times
By Jonathan Davies (Biology, McGill).
Evidence suggests that human activities are altering the world climate and that, on average, global temperatures are rising by approximately 0.13°C per decade. Whilst there continues to be debate about the underlying causes, plants and animal have been responding dramatically to these changes. With shifting climate, species are faced with three stark options: migrate, adapt or perish. In plants, where dispersal is limited, species have been flowering earlier, fruiting later and, unfortunately, going extinct. These responses provide a biotic index by which to quantify climate change, and a pertinent reminder of the consequence of climate change on the world around us.
March 8: Bugs, Drugs and the Amazing Race
By Richard Silverman and Erin Lafferty (Medicine, McGill). Wonder why you keep hearing about so many new infectious diseases? How do we manage them? Come explore the perpetual arms race between humans and microbes as we both battle for survival in our modern world. This presentation will be followed by a screening of the movie "Contagion".
Sept. 27: Unicorns — Myth and reality!
Presented by PhD students Emily Bamforth (Redpath Museum, Biology) and Eliza Rosenberg (Religious Studies).
Listen to the interview: Unicorns- beneath the horn on CBC.
Until the 1500s, people assumed that unicorns were real animals. Why? Because the Bible said they were. Unicorn horns were a valuable and much-desired commodity in Medieval Europe. Skip to the 21st Century, and people are still enthralled with the idea of unicorns, from creating ‘Franken-icorns’ to figuring out their hypothetical evolutionary history. This Freaky Friday Field Guide to Unicorns will tell you all about unicorns and unicorn mythology, both past and present! It will be followed by the 1985 movie Legend, with Tom Cruise and Tim Curry. IMAGE McGill Reporter.
Oct. 18: MERDE — Can't live with it, can't live without it!
Presented by David Harpp (Macdonald Professor and Tomlinson Chair in Science Education). Everything you ever wanted to know about the production, use and disposal of human sewage. What is it made of? Where does it all go? The presentation will be followed by the bold documentary film Crapshoot which questions our fundamental attitudes to waste.
IMAGE: from the film Crapshoot.
Nov. 1: Birth control pills kill
Presented by Cleve Ziegler,M.D.,FRCSC (Director of Gynecology, Sir Mortimer B.Davis Jewish General Hospital; Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, McGill).
IMAGEs: McGill and Wikimedia Commons.
January 17, 2014
Comment réagissent les mammifères marins face aux toxiques présents dans l’Arctique et le Saint-Laurent ?
Presented by Pauline Brousseau and Michel Fournier (Centre INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier, Montreal). In French.
Les mammifères marins sont de précieux indicateurs de la santé des écosystèmes aquatiques en raison de leur position élevée dans la chaîne trophique, de leur longue durée de vie de même que de leur métabolisme lent à éliminer les toxiques. Dans l'environnement aquatique, les substances toxiques persistantes sont accumulées au départ par les invertébrés et les poissons. L’ingestion de ces proies est la principale voie de contamination et de bioaccumulation des substances chimiques chez les mammifères marins.
La contamination du fleuve Saint-Laurent par des substances toxiques, principalement reliées à des activités anthropogéniques, n’est plus à questionner et les mammifères marins qui y résident en subissent de très sérieuses conséquences. Mais, dans l’Arctique, qu’en est-il ? Est-ce que les mammifères marins sont aussi susceptibles d’être exposés ?
Nous allons expliquer comment les contaminants chimiques se déplacent sur la planète et résumer les conséquences sur la santé des mammifères marins exposés.
Le film après le conference: Homotoxicus (2008). IMAGE:Wikipedia Commons.
February 14, 5 PM
Valentines' Day Science of Love competition
Ever wondered what quantum physics and love have in common? Or how the first sparks of love are created by a combination of three neurochemicals?
This Freaky Friday showcases three student presentations on the quirks and quarks of love: 4 minutes and 4 slides ONLY- to give the scientific evidence and state your case.
Judges panel and audience will interact and question each presentation. Final winner will take home the coveted McLovin’ Science Prize.
FREE, suitable for all ages. No reservation necessary.