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McGill Reporter
December 11, 2003 - Volume 36 Number 07
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Rutherford, Scientist Supreme

Reading a shortlist of Ernest Rutherford's accomplishments is a humbling experience: during the nine years the great physicist spent at McGill, he discovered radon, and with the later help of Frederick Soddy, unravelled the mysteries of radioactivity, showing that some heavy atoms spontaneously decay into slightly lighter atoms. He also determined that radioactivity could be used to date the age of the earth, wrote a book, was elected to the Royal Society of Canada and won a little trinket called the Nobel Prize — the first from Canada to do so.

Ernest Rutherford

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Rutherford's discovery, Professor John Campbell of the University of Canterbury in Auckland, New Zealand, will be giving a lecture entitled "Rutherford, Scientist Supreme: His Years at McGill and the Nobel Prize."

Campbell — a countryman of Rutherford's — is a renowned expert on the groundbreaking physicist.

"He gives a very good talk about Rutherford, what he did in New Zealand and where he actually did telephone and wireless before anyone else but lost interest in it," said Michael Anthony Whitehead, professor emeritus of chemistry, who is organizing the talk.

It should be noted that when Rutherford received his Nobel in chemistry, not physics, he noted that the fastest transformation he knew of was his own from a physicist to a chemist.

"Rutherford, Scientist Supreme" with Professor John Campbell, Monday, December 15, 6 pm, Room 10, Otto Maas Building.

Coats for classmates

Illustration of cold people at bus stop
Sherwin Tjia

If you're a student from Yemen or Brazil, chances are you have heard about the winters in Montreal. But to actually be ready for the blowing snow, the biting wind, the heart-stopping chill of a -30°C day is another matter. Heck, there are people who grew up here all their lives who still haven't adapted.

Each year, the McGill Chaplaincy Service along with the McGill International Students Network collects and distributes winter wear to help international students cope with the cold. This year the coat drive was so successful that as of January, any McGill students (that includes you shivering Vancouverites) can pick up a coat at their office.

Donations of either foodstuffs or cash are welcome for the Food For Thought program which runs through the Yellow Door and supplies meals to those in need.

In addition, the McGill Student Parents Network is hosting an end-of-year party for families on December 14 at 4 pm in the Newman Centre at 3484 Peel. They're also looking for ways to help students who are parents of young children, so if you have tiny toques, micro-mitts and good quality toys, give them a call at 398-4104, or email chaplaincy@mcgill.ca. Donations can be dropped off at their offices in Suite 4400 in the Brown Building.

Xmas activities for the wee ones

Christmas puppets

The giant wreath on the Arts Building, the lights up and down McGill College, the incessant carols in the overcrowded malls... If you haven't figured out Christmas is coming already, you hardly need to read it here. Of course, one of the greatest challenges facing parents at this time of year is finding something — anything — to distract the little ones from their constant chanting of "Is Santa here yet? How about now? Now?"

The McCord Museum has a number of such distractions available in the coming weeks. You can make decorations for your home with copper wire and beads (December 18 and 21 at 10:30 am; bilingual). You can indulge your sweet tooth with some tasty trees made from candies, cookies and seasonal treats (December 14 and 20 at 10:30 am, December 17 at 1:30 pm). Or you can take in a puppet show — "Mirabelle et ses amis" by La Pointe du Moulin children's theatre company will be at the museum on December 20 at 1:30 pm (adults $12, children $6; in French). On December 21, Joe the Magician shows up to perform "Magic Mayhem," (1:30 pm in French, 3:00 pm in English). And there's more! The Montreal Highland Dancing Association kick up their clogs to bagpipe accompaniment on December 27 at 1:30 pm (adults $12, children $6; includes Museum admission; bilingual) and the "Princess in Suspenders" tells the tale of a young royal with odd sartorial tastes on December 28 (1:30 pm in French and 3 pm in English; adults $12, children age 3-8, $6; includes Museum admission).

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