Freaky Fridays: 2006-2007 series

The 2006-2007 Freaky Friday series is now finished. Below, read all about our past lectures and screenings. Check back in late Summer 2007 for next year's Freaky Friday series.

Freaky Fridays: the series

McGill scientists confront myths, debunk popular misconceptions, and clarify science. Each Freaky Friday lecture allows for audience interaction and will be followed by a popular film.

Click on the images below for a full-sized poster.

Sea monsters unmaskedPoster - The Redpath Museum proudly presents Sea Monster - the Loch Ness Monster - legend biology and possibility
by Dr. Anthony Ricciardi (McGill, Redpath Museum & McGill School of Environment)
followed by the film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
Friday, October 6, 2006, 4 PM


Freak Friday thumbnail of poster for Werewolves

by Dr. Murray Humphries (McGill, Natural Resource Sciences)
followed by the film American Werewolf in London.
Thursday, October 19, 2006, 4 PM


Count on it: when numbers mean the difference between you and roadkillFreak Friday thumbnail of poster for “Count on it”, Oct 27, 2006 by Dr. Nilima Nigam (McGill, Mathematics and Statistics)
followed by the Canadian film The Cube.
Friday, October 27, 2006, 4 PM


Overpopulation of the earthFreak Friday thumbnail of poster for by Dr. Nigel Roulet (McGill, School of the Environment & Department of Geography)
followed by the film Soylent Green.
Friday, November 10, 2006, 4 PM


Ice that burns: the Un-Mystery of naturally occurring gas hydrates in CanadaFreak Friday poster for by Dr. Michael Riedel (McGill, Earth and Planetary Sciences)
followed by the film The Abyss.
Friday, November 24, 2006, 4 PM


Urban doomsday scenarios: Fiction and realitiesDoomsday by Dr. Madhav Badami (McGill School of Urban Planning)
followed by the director's cut of Bladerunner.
Friday, December 1, 2006, 4 PM


Snow creature: half man, half monsterThumbnail version of Freak Friday poster for Sasquatch: half man, half monster talk and film on December 8, 2006. by Dr. André Costopoulos (McGill, Anthropology)
followed by the film The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas.
Friday, December 8, 2006, 4 PM


How birds really do it! [ Poster [.pdf]]
by Dr. David M. Bird (McGill, Avian Science and Conservation Centre)
Ever wonder how birds are equipped to produce those warm, fuzzy chicks in the nest? Not all is as it seems. Professor Bird takes you on a humourous "bird's eye view" of the seemingly indecent world of avian reproduction involving the Mile-High Club, incest, homosexuality, sex changes, divorce, and infidelity. It simply puts television soap operas to shame! You may never look at birds the same again.
How birds really do it! is followed by the classic Alfred Hitchcock film The Birds.
Friday, January 12, 2007, 4 PM

Big Questions and More Big Questions [ Poster [.pdf]]
Introduced by Professor Gil Holder (McGill, Physics)
Freaky Fridays and the Department of Physics are proud to present segments of Big Questions and More Big Questions, the critically acclaimed science television series produced by ABC Australia, featuring renowned physicist Paul Davies. Paul Davies will be at McGill University on Thursday, January 25, 2007, to participate in the second annual Lorne Trottier Public Science Symposium, A Cosmic Coincidence: Why is the Universe Just Right for Life?, along with Professors David Gross, George Efstathiou, and Leonard Susskind. The Department of Physics is also hosting an online Big Question Contest. The winning entrant will be invited to attend the Symposium to ask her or his Big Question of these giants of physics. To enter the online contest, please visit the Lorne Trottier Public Science Symposium website.
Friday, January 19, 2007, 4 PM

Invasion of the bug eyed aliens: exploring myths in American post-war movies [ Poster [.pdf]]
by Dr. Michael Bisson, Anthropology, McGill.
Is "The Invasion of the Saucer men" or "The Thing" worrying you? Does "The Man from Planet X" "Target Earth" for a "Close Encounter" with "The blob"? Find out why "Mars needs women".
Followed by the movie They live.
Friday, January 26, 2007, 4 PM

Can we manipulate memories to therapeutically treat people? [ Poster [.pdf]]
by Dr. Karim Nader (Psychology, McGill).
Followed by the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Friday, February 2, 2007, 4 PM

Storm Perfection [ Poster [.pdf]]
by Dr. Ronald Stewart (Atmospheric and Oceanic Studies, McGill)
What is a perfect storm? To an atmospheric scientist, it is a storm in which several factors come together to make it especially catastrophic. The 1998 Ice Storm was a perfect storm and Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was another. This presentation will focus on the factors that lead to such storms including the 1991 event dramatized in the film that follows:
The Perfect Storm.
Friday, February 9, 2007, 4 PM

Ophidophobia: What is it with snakes? [ Poster [.pdf]]
by Dr. David Green (Biology, McGill)
"What is it with snakes?" asks McGill's reptile specialist, Dr. David Green, as he explores snake phobias and misconceptions.
Followed by the film Snakes on a Plane.
Friday, February 23, 2007, 4 PM

Shrunkenhead Fever
Friday, March 2, 2007, 4 PM - cancelled due to inclement weather;
Rescheduled to Friday, March 30, 2007; see below for details.

NOTE: There will be no Freaky Friday talk on Friday, March 9, 2007.

Big Hairy Spiders [ Poster [.pdf]]
by Christopher Buddle (Natural Science Resources, Macdonald Campus).
Arachnids are misunderstood and under-appreciated. Most spiders are not poisonous to humans, and many reported spider bites are not caused by spiders. Spiders do not lay eggs in your ears when you are sleeping, and in our ecosystems, they do far more good than harm. Some are natural 'fishers' and others are skilled at 'ballooning'. Learn about these remarkable animals and their cousins such as pseudoscorpions, camel spiders, and mites and ticks.
Followed by the film Arachnophobia.
Friday, March 16, 2007, 4 PM

Shark Tales [ Poster [.pdf]]
by Hans Larsson (Biology).
Sharks have been misunderstood as relentless man-eaters. Some sharks do eat people, and are really good at it, but an overwhelming majority do not prey on surfers, and couldn't even if they tried. The variety and behavior of living sharks is vastly unknown in common culture, like the Greenland shark's recorded behaviour of snatching caribou drinking in Quebec's northern rivers. Moreover, fossil sharks are known to be even more bizzare - like Helicoprion with its razor-coiled high-speed jaw, or the recently extinct Megalodon that would have been the ultimate man-eating machine.
Followed by the film Deep Blue Sea.
Friday, March 23, 2007, 4 PM

Shrunkenhead Fever [ Poster [.pdf]]
by Barbara Lawson (Curator of Ethnology, Redpath Museum)
The Jivaro of the Amazon region came to worldwide attention over a century ago for their practice of shrinking the heads of those slain in battle. These shrunken heads, known as tsantsa, were more than just war trophies; they had religious significance and were believed to harness the spirits of enemies. Come explore the widespread fascination with Jivaro tsantsa that has been part of our cultural heritage since the nineteenth century.
Followed by the film The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake.
Friday, March 30, 2007, 4 PM