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Live Science Talks Online: request a talk

Student teaching onlineLooking for a live, online science talk for your school or group? Our McGill graduate students and faculty members are here to help!

Talks are 30 minutes, including Q&A, and are given in English.

To request a talk, please fill out the form below.

 

Photo credit: Ryan Mendoza on Unsplash


  • What if we lost just a tad(pole)? The effects of toad tadpoles on the environment. Jessica Ford, PhD student

What happens when we lose an animal from an ecosystem? I study toad tadpoles and try to answer this very question! I raise my tadpoles in artificial ponds to see how they affect algae, plankton, and water quality. Since the tadpoles I study are endangered, I also raise and release them as tiny toadlets at the end of the summer.

Learn about: ecosystems, keystone species, aquatic environments. Audiences: Elementary, secondary, CEGEP, adult.


  • What can we learn from spider webs? Charles Cong Xu, PhD student

Do you know what a spider eats? I will tell you about how scientists are finding brand new ways to figure this out and how it can help us study and protect wild species.

Learn about: spiders, biodiversity, species protection. Audience: Elementary


  • Using DNA to discover, study and protect biodiversity. Charles Cong Xu, PhD Student

I'll give a brief summary of who I am, where I am from, and the kinds of research I do in environmental DNA and metagenomics. (And what that means!)

Learn about: environmental DNA, biodiversity, life as a scientist. Audiences: Secondary, CEGEP, adult.


  • COVID-19 Q&A. Jonathan Jarry, Office for Science and Society

The news surrounding COVID-19 is rapidly evolving and there is much to break down in the science behind the Coronavirus. Students have questions and concerns: Jonathan Jarry helps address them.

Learn about: viruses, pandemics, epidemiology, health guidelines. Audiences: Sec III-V, CEGEP, adult.

  • Lessons Learned from an Accidental Career in Medical Journalism. Christopher Labos, MDCM MSc FRCPC, Office for Science and Society

Is most published research wrong? Sometimes it seems that way. Almost every food has at one point been shown to both cause and prevent cancer. So how does this happen? In this talk we will look at how some famous studies got it so wrong. We will try to understand why chocolate probably won’t help you win a Nobel prize, why red wine might not be that heart healthy, and why cell phones likely don’t cause cancer.

Learn about: experimental design, the process of science, health guidelines. Audiences: Sec III-V, CEGEP, adult.


  • The Tragic Myths about Vaccines. Christopher Labos, MDCM MSc FRCPC, Office for Science and Society

Vaccines are probably one of the great public health achievements of the 20th century. They have saved, who knows how many lives over the past 50 years. And yet people are terrified of them. After having wiped out diseases like smallpox and polio, diseases on the verge of extinction like measles are making a comeback. In this presentation we will answer some of the common questions and concerns surrounding vaccination including mercury and other metals in vaccines, the threat of autism, why we vaccinate infants, and why alternative vaccine schedules are problematic.

Learn about: vaccines, epidemiology, immunity. Audiences: Sec III-V, CEGEP, adult.


  • Exercise: yes it’s tough, but it actually works. Christopher Labos, MDCM MSc FRCPC, Office for Science and Society

If you watch the news, you will slowly come to believe that everything is bad for you. At some point, everything has caused cancer. But the one thing that is almost universally acknowledged to be good for you is exercise. Exercise is good, not just for heart health, but also for healthy bones, lung function, preventing dementia, cancer and arthritis. So why don’t we do it more? Some may be worried they are too old and some may worry that they are not in good enough health to exercise. In this talk we will look at how and how often to exercise because the reality is that exercise is generally only bad for your health if you don’t do it.

Learn about: exercise, health, immunity. Audiences: Sec III-V, CEGEP, adult.


  • Cardiovascular Disease in Women. Christopher Labos, MDCM MSc FRCPC, Office for Science and Society

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in women and yet few women are aware of the risks. But how much of what you’ve heard is actually true? Do most heart attacks come on with no warning? Are women less likely to have chest pain when they have heart disease? Does the birth control pill and hormone replacement therapy increase the risk of heart disease? Have most cardiac medications not been tested on women? Do women do worse after a heart attack compared to men?

Learn about: cardiac health, women's health. Audiences: Sec III-V, CEGEP, adult.


  • The Cholesterol Conundrum. Christopher Labos, MDCM MSc FRCPC, Office for Science and Society

One week eggs are good for you, the next week eggs are bad for you. It’s impossible to keep up. Why has cholesterol been so controversial? Why is cholesterol so hotly debated whereas the other cardiac risk factors like diabetes, hypertension, and smoking don’t generate the same vicious arguments? In this talk we will look at the roots of the apparent cholesterol controversy and see why the lipid hypothesis has been so problematic over the years. We will also see what the latest scientific research says about treating cholesterol and look at why statins have gotten such bad press over the years.

Learn about: cardiovascular health, cholesterol, scientific controversies. Audiences: Sec III-V, CEGEP, adult.


  • Lies, Damn lies, and Statistics: The Challenge of Science Communication. Christopher Labos, MDCM MSc FRCPC, Office for Science and Society

Why is it so hard to communicate science to the public? Part of the problem is that medical research can sometimes be wrong. Whether we are talking about how eating chocolate can help you win a Nobel prize or whether coffee can cause a heart attack, sometimes what we hear on the news is not the whole story.

Learn about: science communication, scientific controversies. Audiences: Sec III-V, CEGEP, adult.


  • The Cardiac Complications of Anti-Inflammatories. Christopher Labos, MDCM MSc FRCPC, Office for Science and Society

Common pain medications like Advil or Aleve are great for relieving arthritis pain or headache. But are they safe? Do they increase the risk of heart disease and raise the blood pressure? And if they aren’t safe, what alternatives are out there?

Learn about: pain medications, safety, scientific controversies. Audiences: Sec III-V, CEGEP, adult.


  • The Health Effects of Climate Change: How to Ask the Right Questions. Christopher Labos, MDCM MSc FRCPC, Office for Science and Society

Does climate change and pollution affect our health? Absolutely. But how do we approach the problem. Are all the studies on the issue reliable? How can we approach such a broad topic.

Learn about: climate change, health, scientific controversies. Audiences: Sec III-V, CEGEP, adult.


  • The search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Sabrina Berger, PhD student

This talk will describe some of the major scientific projects on Earth to look for intelligent extraterrestrial life. We will discuss the scientific and philosophical motivation and background to search for these signals. We will also explain why we search for them with light we cannot see called radio waves, which your cell phone relies on. You'll leave the class with an understanding of our search for these intriguing signals and perhaps even a newfound drive to join the effort!

Learn about: radio waves, signals from space, citizen science. Audiences: Secondary, CEGEP, adult.


  • Using mammoth machines to study the tiniest of particles. Lia Formenti, PhD Student

Particle physics is the study of the smallest building blocks of matter in the Universe. The machines and technology humanity has come up to do so are awesome! Here, you'll learn about an international-scale project that Canada is involved in to improve the world's largest particle physics experiment at the world's largest particle collider at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.

Learn about: particle physics, particle colliders, CERN. Audiences: Secondary, CEGEP, adult.


  • Watching the universe grow up using radio waves. Adrian Liu, Assistant Professor.

How big is our Universe? How old is it? How do we use telescopes to look into the past, and how far can we look? How did the universe transform from its "baby" state to the its currently majestic adulthood?

Learn about: radio waves, telescopes, changes in our universe. Other physics topics available. Audiences: Sec III-V, CEGEP, adult.


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