Public talks

Cutting Edge Lectures in Science

Cutting Edge Lectures in Science are introductions for the general public to the latest research in science.

In English. 

WHERE: Redpath Museum Auditorium. FREE, everyone welcome. No reservation necessary.

WHEN:  6:00 PM  

Brought to you with generous support from donations made to the Heroes in Science Dean's Fund.

FALL 2019

Sept. 19: Can we halt global amphibian declines?

By Benedikt R. Schmidt (Dept. of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zurich, Switzerland)

Amphibian declines at local and global scales have been documented for decades and they seem to be ongoing. Conservationist would like to halt declines and undertake actions which lead to the recovery of populations. How can scientific research contribute to this goal? I argue that research in conservation biology should shift from describing problems towards solving problems.

Oct. 17: Small spaces pack a big punch for biodiversity

By Lenore Farhig (Chancellor's Professor, Dept. Biology, Carleton University, Ottawa).

Habitat loss is the main cause of current species extinctions. Environmental policies usually emphasize preservation of large, contiguous tracts of habitat. My work shows that the cumulative value of small bits of habitat for biodiversity is at least as great as the value of one or a few large tracts totalling the same area. Biodiversity conservation will depend on a wholesale shift in environmental policies to recognize and protect small habitat areas.

Nov. 14: Anna Hargreaves (Dept. Biology, McGill)

Dec. 12: Amy Blum (Dept. Chemistry, McGill)


Jan. 9: Jennifer Sunday (Biology, McGill)

Feb. 13: Dimensions of Place: Linking people through place and vice versa.

By Grant McKenzie (Dept. Geography, McGill University)

With the increased availability of large, user-generated datasets, it has becoming increasingly apparent that the value of "big data" lies not necessarily in its size, but in its heterogeneity. In this talk, I highlight the value of this heterogeneity through the development of computational, data-driven models of human behavior, taking a multi-dimensional approach to investigating "place" and the activities people carry out in these places.

Mar. 12: Quantum materials - from the nano scale to material properties

By Tami Pereg-Barnea (Dept. Physics, McGill)
Elementary particles interact on scales even shorter than nano-meters. At these scales the rules of classical physics do not hold and one should learn about quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics invokes the uncertainty principle which that the position and velocity of a particle can not be known at the same time. In fact, the notion of a particle is replaces by a probability function. Nevertheless, quantum mechanics is able to explain physical phenomena of systems of interacting particles. I will focus on many-particle systems which make up solid materials and relate current and future technology to quantum mechanical phenomena.

April 9: Yajing Liu (Earth and Planetary Sciences, McGill) 


The videotape of the Cutting Edge lecture from Jan. 17:  Towards a reciprocal environmental governance .

The videotape of the Cutting Edge lecture from Feb. 14,  2019: Earlier, easier, better.

The videotape of the Cutting Edge lecture from Oct. 11, 2018: Why we get old and die and what we can do about it .



Freaky Fridays

Freaky Friday is a lunch-time presentation during which McGill scientists and researchers examine the myths, realities and misconceptions surrounding science issues, concepts or phenomena.  In English.

WHERE: Redpath Museum Auditorium. FREE, everyone welcome. No reservation necessary.

WHEN:  12:00 noon to 1:00 PM 

FALL 2019

Sept. 27:  Aging. By Joe Schwarz (Director, Office of Science and Society)  

Oct. 25: Cannibis. By Mark Ware (Dept. Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, McGill). Read about Dr. Ware's work here.

Nov. 22: South Pole explorations. By Joshua Montgomery (McGill Cosmology Group, Physics).

Dec. 6: How big is a cloud? By Shaun Lovejoy (Physics, McGill).


Jan. 17: How big is our Universe really? (and how the heck can we map it?). By Adrian C. Liu (Assistant Professor of Physics, CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar, McGill).