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Symposium Schedule

All events will take place in Moyse Hall in the McGill Arts Building


1:30 PM EST: Roundtable discussion moderated by Joe Schwarcz

This event will NOT be live-streamed but made available for viewing afterward.

  • Jill Barker, Postmedia Fitness Columnist

  • Alex Cai, BSc, Olympian, Fencing Tokyo 2021, McGill Medical Student, 2nd year

  • Christopher Labos, Cardiologist, Associate, McGill Office for Science and Society

  • Elizabeth (Beth) Mansfield PhD, RD, CSSD, CEP Registered Dietitian, Clinical Specialist in Sport Dietetics, Clinical Exercise Physiologist

  • Joe Schwarcz, Director, McGill Office for Science and Society
  • Nicholas B. Tiller MSc., PhD., Exercise Scientist and Researcher, Harbor-UCLA

6:00 PM EST: Symposium with Drs. Nicholas B. Tiller and Elizabeth (Beth) Mansfield 

This event will be live-streamed and also made available for viewing afterward.

Dr. Nicholas B. Tiller | "Is Sport a Breeding Ground for Pseudoscience?"

Head shot of Nick TillerIn high-performance sport, success and failure are separated by increasingly smaller margins. The will to win has made athletes and coaches ever more experimental, vowing to leave no stone unturned. But blunted critical faculties and lax consumer regulations coalesce, creating a sporting culture where pseudoscience can thrive. Thousands of products and services now flood the market, all claiming to improve performance or promote recovery. Some are underpinned by rigorous science, most are not. The problem is exacerbated by pervasive social media platforms that exploit flaws in human reasoning, facilitating the spread of mis- and disinformation. What are the implications of such an unregulated commercialist culture? And what are the solutions? In this talk, Dr Nicholas B. Tiller (senior researcher/educator, Harbor-UCLA) reframes the sporting world through the critical lens of science. From chiropractic to cryotherapy, sports shoes to supplements, Tiller scrutinizes some of sport’s most popular products and practices, and offers a treatise on how skepticism (not cynicism) can reform high-performance sport.

Dr Nick Tiller is a senior researcher in exercise physiology at Harbor-UCLA and author of The Skeptic's Guide to Sports Science which was named one of Book Authority's "Best sports science books of all time." For over a decade, Tiller has been scrutinizing the health and fitness industry through a skeptical lens; a subject he explores as a regular guest on podcasts, radio, and television. Tiller is a columnist at Skeptical Inquirer: the magazine for science and reason, a columnist at Ultra-Running Magazine, and an associate editor at the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.

Dr. Elizabeth (Beth) Mansfield | “Food for Thought: Tackling Nutrition Science for Sport Performance"

Head shot of Beth Mansfield

Optimal performance in sport requires training coupled with proper nutrition. If you have an interest in food, and who doesn't, you are familiar with the struggle to make good nutritional choices when it comes to what we eat. Outlandish claims about food, nutrition and eating patterns abound. Decisions made about personal nutritional health or performance objectives are at risk of being sidetracked by widely accessible mis- and dis-information. Staying on track requires keeping step with the ever-evolving, evidence-based science.

As a Registered Dietitian and Exercise Specialist, Dr. Mansfield conducts group and individual programs to help people to improve their eating habits, integrate physical activities into their lifestyle, and manage their weight. As a Sport Nutritionist, Beth works with competitive and recreational athletes of all levels and ages to ensure that they are eating for peak health and performance in life and sport. As a workplace wellness advocate, Beth specializes in applying training principles developed for sport performance to business executives and the development of workplace wellness programming for both the government and business sectors. Recently appointed Adjunct Professor in the School of Human Nutrition of McGill University, Dr. Mansfield also conducts health-focused research using evidence-based analysis in a systematic way to answer practical nutrition-related concerns/questions.



7:00 PM EST: Doping in Sport - A conversation between Dick Pound, Founding President of the World Anti-Doping Agency, and Joe Schwarcz

This event will be live-streamed and also made available for viewing afterward.

The controversy with Lance Armstrong, the scientific challenges when it comes to doping, and the evolution regarding the history of doping - these are just some of the topics that will be covered in this informative, interesting, and entertaining conversation between Dick Pound, Founding President of the World Anti-Doping Agency and Dr. Joe Schwarcz, Director of the McGill Office for Science and Society.

Richard W. Pound is a McGill graduate in Commerce and Law. In relation to the topic for this year’s program, he is the Founding President of the World Anti-Doping Agency, headquartered in Montreal, and, as of January 1, 2023, was promoted to Honorary status as a member of the International Olympic Committee, following 45 years of active service in support of the Olympic Movement. He is Chancellor Emeritus of McGill University, having been Chancellor from 1999-2009, and a former Chair of the Board of Governors (1994-1999). While a student at McGill, he was a double Olympic finalist in swimming in Rome (1960) and later became Secretary, then President, of the Canadian Olympic Committee (1968-2003) and remains on its Board and Executive Committee.

Dr. Joe Schwarcz is Director of McGill University’s “Office for Science and Society” which has the mission of separating sense from nonsense. He is well known for his informative and entertaining public lectures on topics ranging from the chemistry of food to the connection between the body and the mind. "Dr. Joe", as he is widely known to audiences, has been the host of "The Dr. Joe Show" on Montreal's CJAD for 43 years and has written a weekly column in The Montreal Gazette, Montreal's English-language newspaper, for the last 30 years entitled “The Right Chemistry”. Dr. Joe is also an amateur magician and often spices up his presentations with a little magic. Follow Dr. Joe on Facebook.

About Our Supporter

The Trottier Foundation is a proud supporter of the McGill Office for Science and Society’s Public Science Symposium and believes it is a vital vehicle to promoting scientific communication and presenting scientific information to a broader audience. Established in 2000 by Lorne Trottier and Louise Rousselle Trottier, The Trottier Family Foundation is a Montreal-based private Canadian charitable foundation whose mission is to provide support to organizations that work towards the advancement of scientific inquiry, the promotion of education, fostering better health, protecting the environment and mitigating climate change. The Foundation believes that science, the environment, health, and education are crucial pillars in building a better world.


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