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Face it, whether it's best glam bands of the '80s or Kevin Bacon films that were robbed of an Oscar, everybody loves a Top 10 list. Seeing as how McGillians are tapped on the shoulder just about every day by the mainstream media looking for expert commentary on just about every subject, we've compiled our own Top 10 Newsmakers list for the academic year. Unlike previous incarnations of this list, in this year's version each "hit"—a mention of a McGill person in the media, print or electronic, Canadian or U.S.—is worth one point. Without further ado, McGill's Top 10 Newsmakers.
1. (Tie) Sharing the No. 1 spot was Antonia Maioni, Director the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada. One of the most astute political commentators in the nation, Maioni's phone was all but ringing off the hook during the recent provincial elections. In fact, it was fairly commonplace to find Maioni on a panel on one television station one night and have her pop up again the next morning on a rival channel. Not even on last year's list, Dr. Mark Wainberg vaulted to a tie for the top spot with 122 media mentions thanks largely to his role as co-chair of the International AIDS Conference last August. Already renowned for his AIDS research, Dr. Wainberg garnered worldwide attention as an activist at the podium.
2. Management prof and globalization and business strategy expert, the indefatigable Karl Moore soared to a top-three finish thanks in large part to his insightful commentaries on a Canadian airline industry that seems in a perpetual state of flux. Cited from Vancouver to St. John's, Moore notched 117 hits—one of only three McGillians to crack the 100 mark.
3. To most English Montrealers, it might be strange that Joe Schwarcz isn't the front-runner on every newsmaker list. The Director of the McGill Office for Science and Society, Dr. Joe is the public face of science in the city, thanks largely to his regular TV and radio spots and his column in the Montreal Gazette. This year, Dr. Joe devoted much of his time debunking scientific myths—including his age-old nemesis; the bottled water industry.
4. Margaret Somerville, Director of the McGill Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law, has the singular distinction of being the only person to appear on this list every year since it's inception in 1999. Of course, being one of the world's leading ethicists, Somerville is supposed to garner attention by commenting on some of the most sensitive issues facing society. This past academic year, Somerville took very public stances on everything from same-sex marriage (yet again) to the use of cadavers for artistic purposes.
5. Economics professor William Watson's rank rose thanks to his regular columns. A regular contributor to Canwest's Ottawa Citizen, National Post and Montreal Gazette, Watson proved that he is as prolific as he is professorial.
6. Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics prof Saeed Mirza is a newcomer to the list. A specialist in structural engineering, Mirza's expertise was a highly sought after following the tragic collapse of the de la Concorde overpass in Laval last fall.
7. Last year's top newsmaker, Sandra Dial, a critical care physician at the Jewish General and MUHC as well as one of country's pre-eminent C.difficile researchers, was in seventh spot, proving that C. diff is very much a public concern.
8. Law professor Payam Akhavan was consulted on many different legal matters this past year. A renowned international law and human rights expert, Akhavan was at the forefront of an effort to get Canada to seek justice in the torture and murder of Iranian-born photographer Zahra Kazemi.
9. Even though he's been on sabbatical since the fall, psychology prof and music afficionado Dan Levitin remained one of the university's top newsmakers. Levitin's work on music's effect on the brain garnered wide play around the world, including features in the New York Times and Rolling Stone magazine.
10. Michael Hoechsmann would have preferred that his foray into the public spotlight hadn't come on the heels of tragedy, but the education professor and cultural studies expert was given the unenviable task of trying to explain the inexplicable following the shooting at Dawson College.