Faculty of Science news
The distinctive “fecal prints” of microbes potentially provide a record of how Earth and life have co-evolved over the past 3.5 billion years as the planet’s temperature, oxygen levels, and greenhouse gases have changed. But, despite more than 60 years of study, it has proved difficult, until now, to “read” much of the information contained in this record. Research from McGill University and Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science, recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), sheds light on the mysterious digestive processes of microbes, opening the way towards a better understanding of how life and the planet have changed over time.
Congratulations to Dr. Charles Gale, James McGill Professor in the Department of Physics, for winning a Humboldt Research Award! Valued at 60,000 EUR, this award is granted by Germany's Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung/Foundation in recognition of a researcher's entire achievements to date. The award recognizes scholars whose fundamental discoveries, new theories, or insights have had a significant impact on their own discipline and who are expected to continue producing cutting-edge achievements in the future.
Congratulations to Professor Victoria Kaspi in the Department of Physics! She has been elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society for advancing our understanding of the astrophysics of neutron stars by elucidating the relationship between anomalous X-ray pulsars, soft gamma-ray repeaters, and magnetars.
Got an itch for knowledge? The Canal Savoir network will be broadcasting features from several McGill outreach and public lecture series, including the 2014 Lorne Trottier Public Science Symposium: Are we alone? Searching for life out there and Mini-Science 2014: The Science of Music. Refer to those schedules to find out when to tune in, and to find out more about each episode.
Learning from others and innovation have undoubtedly helped advance civilization. But these behaviours can carry costs as well as benefits. And a new study by an international team of evolutionary biologists sheds light on how one particular cost – increased exposure to parasites – may affect cultural evolution in non-human primates.
Have you been wishing for more file storage space? Based on feedback from the IT Services 2014 student survey, you’re not alone. Well, you’ll be happy to receive this early holiday gift from IT Services. McGill students now have access to 1 TB FREE personal file space on OneDrive, Microsoft’s cloud file storage component of the Office 365 package.
A growing number of academic researchers are mining social media data to learn about both online and offline human behaviour. In recent years, studies have claimed the ability to predict everything from summer blockbusters to fluctuations in the stock market.
Weather, which changes day-to-day due to constant fluctuations in the atmosphere, and climate, which varies over decades, are familiar. More recently, a third regime, called “macroweather,” has been used to describe the relatively stable regime between weather and climate.
Bobbing your head, tapping your heel, or clapping along with the music is a natural response for most people, but what about those who can’t keep a beat?
Two renowned McGill University researchers are among the 14 winners of the 2014 Prix du Québec. Professor Michael Meaney, acclaimed for his achievements in the biology of child development, will be awarded the Wilder-Penfield prize. Professor Paul Lasko, a celebrated developmental biologist, will receive the Armand-Frappier award. The Prix du Québec is considered the most prestigious award attributed by the Government of Québec in cultural and scientific fields.
Researchers at McGill University have succeeded in simultaneously observing the reorganizations of atomic positions and electron distribution during the transformation of the “smart material” vanadium dioxide (VO2) from a semiconductor into a metal – in a time frame a trillion times faster than the blink of an eye.
<p>It’s a scene that plays out every day in Montreal. On the bus, in schools, in the office and at home, conversations weave seamlessly back and forth between French and English, or one of the many other languages represented on this multicultural island. It’s increasingly common to hear not two, but three different languages spoken in one short conversation.</p>
Spanning two days, the Annual Trottier Public Science Symposium “Are We Alone?” took the audience to the moon, Mars, and beyond. Focusing on the origin of life in our solar system, the series explored the where and how of alien life.
The Faculty of Science extends congratulations to alumnus John O'Keefe who was named co-winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, for his contribution to the discovery of cells that constitute the brain’s ‘inner GPS,’ which makes it possible to orient ourselves in space. Dr. O’Keefe worked under the supervision of Professor Ron Melzack (Department of Psychology) and received his PhD from McGill in 1967. Read more: McGill grad John O’Keefe wins Nobel Prize in medicine (McGill news release) Nobel winner has very fond memories of McGill (McGill Reporter article)
Dr. Robin Rogers, one of the world’s most renowned green chemists, will become Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Green Chemistry and Green Chemicals at McGill University. Rogers comes to Canada from The University of Alabama, where he was Robert Ramsay Chair of Chemistry and director of the Center for Green Manufacturing.