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McGill Reporter
November 22, 2007 - Volume 40 Number 07
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Tales of music and the brain

Oliver Sacks

Oliver Sacks, renowned neurologist and author, who has spent his career investigating the brain and its capacity to confound humans, is coming to campus. The inspiration behind the hit film, Awakenings, which was adapted into a film starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro, Sacks will be at the McGill Bookstore on Thursday, Nov. 29 to promote his latest literary offering, Musicophilia. In this new book, Sacks investigates the power of music, using experiences gathered from patients, musicians and ordinary folks.

His medical case studies range from a man who is struck by lightning and is suddenly inspired to become a pianist, to a group of children who are "hypermusical" from birth to people afflicted with "amusia"—to whom a symphony sounds like the clattering of pots and pans.

Oliver Sacks, in association with McGill University Bookstore on Nov. 29, 7:00 p.m., Leacock Building, 855 Sherbrooke St. West, Leacock 132. Tickets are free and can be reserved at 514-398-8356.

Beauty's beastly side

Nail polish


While beauty may be only skin deep, the dangers of some beauty products lurk considerably deeper. Health Canada has prohibited more than 500 ingredients commonly used in cosmetics, personal care items and household cleaning products—ingredients that may increase the risk of cancer and cause reproductive harm. On Nov 23, the Redpath Museum presents "The Beast of Beauty," a special Freaky Friday Workshop with Madeleine Bird, Coordinator, Health and Environment Awareness Project, McGill Centre for Research and Teaching on Women, that will outline the potential hazards of everyday products.

Following a lecture and the NFB documentary film Toxic Trespass, Bird will lead a workshop in which participants will learn to make healthy alternatives to such items as face and body washes.

The Beast of Beauty; Nov. 23; 4-6 p.m.; Redpath Museum auditorium, 859 Sherbrooke Street West. Workshop: $5 regular, $2 students. For information go to or contact Ingrid Birker at 514-398-4086 (Ext. 4094#) or by email.

Baby docs strut their stuff

Doctor in scrubs

Some baseball fans love watching Triple-A ball because it gives them the chance to see the stars of tomorrow before they hit the big leagues. On Friday, Nov. 30, McGill's Faculty of Medicine is giving people the chance to scout the young medical stars of the future at its annual Student Research Day. Hosted by Associate Dean Janet Henderson, the event features poster presentations by 44 undergrads who have taken part in the Summer 2007 Research Bursaries Program. Presentations will take place from 1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.

Student Research Day; Friday, Nov. 30; 1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.; Palmer Lobby, 6th floor; McIntyre Medical Science Building. Open to the public.

Trading stethoscopes for string sections

Disco ball

You know the cliché: aspiring musician waits tables by day hoping for the big break. Well, members of I Medici di McGill, aren't cut from quite the same cloth. They are more likely to be seen performing open-heart surgery than serving open-faced sandwiches during their musical downtime. Founded in 1989, I Medici is a classical music orchestra comprised primarily of students and staff from the Faculty of Medicine. On Monday, Nov. 26, as part of the ensemble's public concert series, the moonlighting MDs will captivate listeners as they interpret the German Romantics with surgical precision. The program features Mendelssohn's Ruy Blas Overture, Bruch's Violin Concerto in G Minor (opus 26) and Brahms' First Symphony. The concert will also feature soloist Emmanuel Vukovich, a recent graduate from the Schulich School of Music and the winner of the school's inaugural Golden Violin Award.

I Medici di McGill, Monday, Nov. 26; 8 p.m.; Notre-Dame-de-Grâce Church; 5333 Notre-Dame-de-Grace avenue. Admission is free. Suggested donation: $10. For more information go to

Town Hall redux

Heather Munroe-Blum
Owen Egan

Upset at yourself for missing the most recent Town Hall? Relax, you didn't. Originally slated for Nov. 14, Town Hall has been rescheduled for Monday, Nov. 26. Principal Heather Munroe-Blum will discuss issues of relevance to the university, including protecting McGill's environment, enhancing the student experience and Campaign McGill. Following her remarks, the principal will field questions, comments and suggestions from audience members.

Town Hall; Monday, Nov. 26; 4-5:30 p.m.; Moot Court in Chancellor Day Hall; Faculty of Law; 3644 Peel Street. For more information go to

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