Trottier Symposium: Is That a Fact?


Centre Mont-Royal, CA, 1000 Sherbrooke Street West (corner Mansfield), Montreal, Quebec, CA

Eugenie Scott and Michael Specter: Monday, October 28, 2013, 5:30-7:30 pm.

Timothy Caulfield and John Ioannidis: Tuesday, October 29, 2013, 5:30-7:30 pm.

Information is the key to life. We want to know what to eat, how to protect our environment, what risks to avoid and what to do if illness strikes. But when it comes to acquiring information, it is the best of times and the worst of times. It is the age of wisdom, it is the age of foolishness. Newspapers, television, radio and of course the Internet bombard us with information at an unprecedented rate, but when it comes to scientific issues the quality of the information is variable. Television doctors entice us with claims of breathtaking breakthroughs, global warming is hotly debated, evolution is questioned and the peer-reviewed literature, our supposed gold standard, brims with flawed studies. The challenge is to separate fact from folly, foolishness from wisdom. The 2013 Lorne Trottier Public Science Symposium aims to do just that. Our four invited speakers have all forged stellar careers based on separating the wheat from the chaff and will explore diverse areas of science as they answer the common question, “Is that a Fact? Making Sense of the Headlines.”

This year's speakers are Timothy Caulfield, a Professor in the Faculty of Law and School of Public Health at the University of Alberta, discussing "The Truth About What Makes Us Healthy"; John Ioannidis, Director of the Stanford Prevention Research Center, presenting on "Improvements in Reproducible Research"; Eugenie Scott, Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education, discussing "Ban, Balance and Belittle: Teaching Evolution and Anthropogenic Climate Change"; and Michael Specter, Staff Writer of The New Yorker, taking a look at "Denialism: Running from Reality."

McGill University is proud to host the ninth annual Lorne Trottier Public Science Symposium, made possible through the generous support of Dr. Lorne Trottier and honouring his wish “to hold a public forum to inform, inspire debate and raise public awareness on contemporary issues confronting society today”.

For more information on this year's symposium, please visit the official Trottier Symposium website.