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The McGill Savoy Society's recent production of The Mikado was warmly received by the Gazette's Pat Donnelly. While doing her job as theatre critic in pointing out the areas of the musical that needed shoring up, Donnelly was impressed by the overall presentation. She seemed particularly enamored with the Savoy Society itself, calling it "a laboratory for an ongoing social experiment, a connecting point between academia and the city at large, a social club with a fun-filled annual project that showcases worthy, rising talent within a beautifully restored Montreal landmark, Moyse Hall."
Brian Alters wears many hats. Teacher, researcher and author, the Tomlinson Chair in Science Education was an expert witness in a high-profile federal trial on science education in the past quarter-century – the landmark U.S. federal case on the teaching of intelligent design versus evolution in public schools. Alters can now ad the job of television host to his extensive resumé with the Feb. 14 launch of Project X, a CBC production that explores the world of science and technology. Airing Thursday nights at 7:30 p.m., the 30-minute show covers a new topic each week. In last week's episode, Alters travelled to Gasparilla Island in south Florida where he came face-to-green face with a horde of hungry iguanas that, originally brought to the island as exotic pets, now threaten to overrun the sunny paradise. This week, Alters will be giving us the lowdown on photosynthesis and on how the human eye evolved to process light as the Project X team illuminates viewers on everything to do with light.
One of McGill's highest flying alumni has decided to keep his feet planted on terra firma. As widely reported in Canadian media outlets, astronaut Dave Williams (BSc76, MSc83, MDCM83) is hanging up his space suit. Selected as an astronaut in 1992, Williams took part in his first mission in 1998 aboard the space shuttle Columbia. Last year, the specialist in emergency medicine took part in his second space mission as he assisted in the construction of the International Space Station, during which time he set a Canadian record for spacewalks at 17 hours and 47 minutes. Perhaps Williams was inspired by the special mission patch he sported on his space suit that was designed by McGill mechanical engineering student Mustapha Kerouch. Commenting on Williams's other-worldly career, Jim Prentice, federal minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency said the astronaut inspired "young people across our country to take their place as members of Canada's next space generation."
The Gazette recently ran a front-page feature on McGill's I Medici Orchestra. Primarily composed of physicians, medical students and researchers, I Medici has been performing benefit concerts since it was first founded in 1989 by pharmacology professor Ante L. Padjen. The article had great fun with the fact that the orchestra is made up of medical professionals who moonlight as musicians. It lists a number of humorous quotes by I Medici's conductor Iwan Edwards collected over the years as he has tried to encourage and cajole his charges into something akin to perfect harmony. A wonderful case in point: "Your job as medical health professionals is to alleviate pain, not to inflict it – try to play in tune."