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McGill Reporter
February 21, 2008 - Volume 40 Number 12
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Smoking Hot Topic

Smoking hot topic


This year's Dr. Martin A. Entin Lecture in the History of Medicine, sponsored by the Department of Social Studies of Medicine, looks at the medical and cultural impact of tobacco smoking. Dr. Allan Brandt of Harvard University's Department of the History of Science will lecture on "The Tobacco Pandemic: History, Culture, and Science."

Dr. Brandt, the Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University and the Amalie Moses Kass Professor of the History of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, is the author of the 2007 book The Cigarette Century: The Rise, Fall, and Deadly Persistence of the Product that Defined America. The book was recently awarded the Viseltear Prize from the American Public Health Association, the Sybil G. Jacobs Award from the American Legacy Foundation, and the Albert J. Beveridge Award from the American Historical Association. In 2004, Dr. Brandt testified on behalf of the US Department of Justice in US v. Philip Morris, the civil racketeering case brought by the federal government against the tobacco industry.

Wednesday, March 5, 6:00 p.m.; Chancellor Day Hall; 3644 Peel Street; Moot Court; main floor. The public is welcome. For information, contact Heike Faerber at 514-398-6033.

Our Town (Hall)

Our town hall

Owen Egan

It's that time of the semester again, when Principal Heather Munroe-Blum invites all members of the McGill community to voice their opinions, offer their comments and table their questions about the university. This Town Hall's discussion will focus upon the topic "What makes a great university and how are we doing?" The question and answer period that follows will provide people with the forum to delve into other issues of concern. All students, staff and faculty members are invited to attend. This is your university, do something about it.

Town Hall; March 4; noon-1:30 p.m.; Student Society Ballroom (third floor); University Centre; 3480 McTavish. All are welcome. For more information:

Essential Spike Lee

Essential spike lee


As part of its Sunday Afternoon Science Documentaries series, The Redpath Museum presents When The Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, acclaimed director Spike Lee's heart-rending, 2006 epic documentary about the state of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

In a series of visits to post-Katrina New Orleans, Lee interviewed nearly one hundred people, including flood victims, journalists, musicians, activists, politicians and engineering experts. While the 4 1/2-hour result of his efforts saves its biggest criticisms for the US government and its poorly organized emergency and recovery effort in the days that followed Katrina, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is also singled out for the poor condition and flawed design of the Levees meant to protect New Orleans from flooding in the first place.

Super science documentary film: When The Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts; Feb. 24; 4:00 p.m.; Redpath Museum Auditorium; 859 Sherbrooke Street West. Free Admission. For information: contact Ingrid Birker: 514-398-4086 (Ext. 4092).

Infrastructure Expertise

Infrastructure expertise
Owen Egan

McGill Civil Engineering Professor Saeed Mirza takes over Freaky Fridays with his presentation "Why Buildings and Bridges Collpase." Professor Mirza has become the local media's go-to guy for expert commentary on collapsing overpasses and other infrastructure problems in Quebec. He is well known for having issued warnings about the failing state of North American infrastructure years before the recent spate of overpass, road and bridge collapses. His presentation will be followed by a viewing of the sci-fi drama "The Core" (2003), which explores what happens on the surface of the earth when the inner core stops rotating.

Why Buildings and Bridges Collapse; Friday Feb. 22; 5:00 p.m.; Redpath Museum Auditorium; 859 Sherbrooke Street West. Free. Seating is limited but reservations are not necessary.

High (teaching) anxiety

High teaching anxiety

So there you are, standing at the lectern in front of a class of 45 students without a single second of teaching experience or training. The recurring nightmare of profs worldwide? No, it is the sweaty palm reality of far too many graduate students embarking upon their teaching careers. On March 28, full and part-time graduate students of McGill are invited to participate in the first "Learning to Teach: A Professional Development Workshop for Graduate Students at McGill," an event that could help reduce anxiety levels significantly.

The conference, hosted by Teaching & Learning Services and Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies, will begin with one main session in Leacock 132, and then each student will have the chance to participate in two smaller interactive sessions. The smaller sessions include everything from how to design an efficient course outline to engaging students through interactive strategies. Interested students must register by March 1 and are encouraged to register early as space is limited.

"Learning to Teach: A Professional Development Workshop for Graduate Students at McGill;" March 8; 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (with coffee and muffins served at 8:30); Leacock 132. Registration required by March 1 at For more information contact:

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