Hot science, cool talks

Prepared and presented by McGill scientists, the following Science Outreach talks are suitable for high-school or college (CEGEP) level audiences. They are listed by department and reflect a wide range of topics. Talks are given in English unless noted otherwise. These connect the public with McGill scientists for them to share their research and cultivate an appreciation for science concepts, concerns, and issues.

If you would like to host a Science Outreach talk at a Montreal school, for a public event or for alumni, please consult the list, pick a scientist, and contact:

science.outreach [at] (Ingrid Birker)
Science Outreach Coordinator
Tel.: 514-398-4094

Hot Science / Cool Talks are available to venues within the greater Montreal area. Hosting venues are responsible for the speaker's transportation costs.

Architecture, School of

(The School of Architecture is part of the Faculty of Engineering.)

Mr. David Covo

  • Science and architecture

Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Department of

Dr. Daniel Kirshbaum

  • Convective storms, mountain flows and numerical weather prediction. (English only)

Dr. Lawrence Mysak

  • Climate Change: From Here to Eternity

Biochemistry, Department of

(The Department of Biochemistry is part of the Faculty of Medicine.)

Dr. Jason Young

  • Molecular chaperones: the cellular system for protein quality control

Biology, Department of

Dr. Andy Gonzalez

  • Life in the Anthropocene: Should we be worried?
  • The Causes and Consequences of Biodiversity Loss under Global Change (English/French)

Dr. Irene Gregory-Eaves

  • Fishy waters: Pacific salmon deliver nutrients and contaminants to lakes and rivers
  • Lake mud: a natural archive of environmental and ecological change

Dr. Anna Hargreaves

  • How field-based research in ecology can have practical conservation relevance

Dr. Andrew Hendry

  • Evolution in action

Dr. Hans Larsson, expert on Vertebrate Evolution

  • Dinosaurs
  • Dinosaurs of Canada
  • Origin of Birds
  • Comparative anatomy
  • Vertebrates
  • Morphology
  • Vertebrate Embryology

Dr. Louis Lefebvre

  • Tools and Brains in Birds

Dr. Anthony Ricciardi

  • Global Swarming: How Invasive Species are Changing the Planet

Dr. Jackie Vogel

  • The mitotic spindle

Dr. Sarah Woolley

  • What bird brains can teach us about learning, perception and variability

Biomedical Engineering, Department of

(The Department of Biomedical Engineering is part of the Faculty of Medicine.)

Dr. David Juncker

  • Nanobioengineering

Cancer Research Centre (The Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Research Centre)

(The Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Research Centre (GCRC) is affiliated with McGill University's Faculty of Medicine.)

Dr. Morag Park

  • The breast tumor microenvironment - friends or foes?

Chemistry, Department of

Dr. Mark Andrews

  • Image is Everything! Bending the Rules for Plastic Displays
  • How Molecules Make Light Work

Dr. Parisa Ariya (English or French)

  • Air pollution and Climate Change: What a Canadian Progressive Plan Should Include?
  • The Ozone Hole and Its Ongoing Evolution: A Great Example of a Human-made Problem, and potential solutions

Dr. Karine Auclair (English or French)

  • Mechanisms of Antibiotic Resistance
  • Herbal or Synthetic Medicines
  • Drug Interactions

Dr. Ian Butler

  • Nuclear Radiation and Nuclear Energy
  • Materials at High-Pressures - A New Alchemy

Dr. Scott Bohle

  • Reactive Molecules in the Trenches of the Immune System

Dr. Gonzalo Cosa (English or Spanish)

  • Solar Energy Utilization: May We Learn from Nature to Provide Sustainable Energy for Human Use?
  • Being One on One with Molecules: How Single Molecule Experiments Teach Us about Complex Chemical Reactions

Dr. Masad Damha (English or Spanish)

  • Laboratory synthesis of DNA (Gene Machines)
  • The Amazing RNA Molecules
  • Designing Antiviral and Anticancer Drugs

Dr. Ariel Fenster (English or French)

  • Crime and Detection: The Story of Forensic Science
  • Food of the Gods - The Science and Lore of Chocolate
  • Cheers! The Chemistry of Wine
  • The Chemistry of Love
  • Science and Art: Facts and Fakes
  • The Colors of Art: History and Properties of Artists' Pigments
  • The History and Science of Money - Real and Counterfeit
  • Did You Know That... The Science Behind Everyday Life
  • Science and the Paranormal
  • Explosives: Production and Detection
  • Pesticides: Public Perception and Reality
  • Miracle Materials: The World of Plastics
  • Genetically Modified Food - Boon or Bane?
  • Nuclear Power: Boon or Boom?
  • Fats and Flab: The Science of Weight Control
  • Science and Beauty: The World of Cosmetics
  • Antibiotics and Superbugs: The End of Miracle Drugs?
  • The Human Side of Scientists
  • Global Warming: Beyond the Headlines
  • The ABC's of Vitamins
  • Keep Smiling: Teeth and Chemistry
  • Take Two Aspirins: Pain and Chemistry
  • Drugs and Disease: Discovery and Marketing
  • Hold that Smoke: Tobacco and Health
  • Photography: History, Chemistry and Applications
  • Sweet Chemistry: From Sugar Cane to Aspartame
  • The Smells of Chemistry: Perfumes and Sex Attractants
  • The Air We Breathe
  • Homeopathy: Dilution or Delusion?
  • Gemstones: Nature's Beauty
  • Fascinating Demonstrations ... with Explanations

Dr. Derek Gray

  • Paper
  • Cellulose

Dr. David Harpp

  • Visual Aspects of Symmetry
  • Crime in the Classroom - Copying Problems with Solutions
  • The Story of Polymers - from Cellulose to Composites and Everything In-between
  • Chemistry for the Public - The Final Frontier
  • Sweeteners - Natural and Synthetic
  • Lecture Retrieval on the Web - COOL - CoursesOnLine
  • Sulfur in Nature - From Brimstone and Skunks to Diatomic Sulfur
  • A Perfect Red - The Story of Cochineal - A Special Dye
  • Diet and Cancer
  • Scientific Publishing - How it Works
  • Biotechnology - From Cheese to the Gene Machine
  • The History of Computers and Counting Machines
  • Merde - A Social and Scientific History

Dr. Ashok Kakkar

  • Art of Drug Design: How to Assemble a Tablet That Can Cure You and NOT Make You More Sick?
  • Molecular Containers: Let us Store Molecules and Carry Them as Luggage

Dr. Bruce Lennox

  • Nano: the opportunities and the risks
  • Chemistry as the Central Science?

Dr. C.-J. Li

  • Green Chemistry: Our Future Challenges in the Production of Chemicals

Dr. Jean-Philip Lumb

  • Doing Chemistry Nature's Way

Dr. Anthony Mittermaier

  • The Hidden Life of Proteins: How We Can Harness Nature's Machines

Dr. Nicolas Moitessier (English or French)

  • Chemistry from the Lab to the Office
  • Molecules from the Flask to the Screen
  • Virtual Chemistry, A Safer, Cheaper and Cleaner Chemistry

Dr. Audrey Moores

  • Hydrogenation and Green Chemistry

Dr. Robin Rogers

  • Is Global Climate Change our next Boll Weevil and can we stop it with commercialization?

Dr. Joe Schwarcz

  • Hey! There Are Cockroaches in My Chocolate Ice Cream!
  • Eating-Is There a Solution to the Confusion?
  • Herbs, Hype and Hope
  • The Age of Anxiety
  • Aging: Fact and Fancy
  • Chemistry and Dentistry
  • Have you Ever Wondered...?
  • Humor, Magic and Medicine
  • Science and the Paranormal
  • The Chemistry of Love
  • Health, Hype and Hope
  • The Cholesterol Controversy: Beyond Oat Bran
  • Fats and Flab: The Science of Weight Control
  • Conjurers, Charlatans and Science
  • Science and the Media
  • Crime and Detection: The Story of Forensic Science

Dr. Hanadi Sleiman (English or French)

  • Nanoscience and Biotechnology

Dr. Paul Wiseman

  • Biophysical Chemistry - New Science at the Interface Between Chemistry and Biology

Computer Science, School of

Dr. Hans Vangheluwe

  • Modelling and Simulation
  • (Model Based) Software Design

Dr. Kaleem Siddiqi

  • Medical Image Analysis

Dr. Claude Crépeau

  • Cryptography (Français/English)

Earth and Planetary Sciences, Department of

Dr. Don Baker

  • How and why volcanoes erupt
  • Volcanoes and climate
  • Indoor geology: simulating the earth in a teacup
  • Origin of our solar system

Dr. Peter Douglas

  • Did climate change cause the collapse of the ancient Maya?
  • Rivers, lakes and feedbacks to global warming

Dr. Natalya Gomez

  • Sea Level Change, Ice Sheets and the Solid Earth

Dr. Jeff McKenzie

  • The impact of melting tropical glaciers on global water resources

Dr. William Minarik

  • Older than the hills: the mantle under the northern Appalachian mountains
  • The consequences of a 1000-km deep magma ocean over Earth history, deduced from tiny, brief experiments
  • Trace element clues and forensic geology

Dr. Alfonso Mucci

  • Oxygen depletion (hypoxia) in the bottom waters of the St. Lawrence Estuary: history, origin and impacts
  • A trip through the northwest passage from Quebec City to the Beaufort Sea: response of the Arctic Ocean to climate change

Dr. John Stix

  • Supervolcanoes

Dr. Christie Rowe

  • Earthquakes and Ore Deposits

Environment, McGill School of

Note: There are also environmental researchers in many other departments listed on this page.

Dr. Jaye Ellis

  • Professor Ellis, who holds a joint appointment with the McGill School of Environment and the Faculty of Law, teaches and conducts research in the fields of international environmental law, public international law, international legal theory and international relations.

Dr. Julia Freeman

  • From Contested Cotton to the Ban on Brinjal: the continuing controversy over genetically engineered agriculture in India

Dr. Greg Mikkelson

  • Economic equality and biological diversity

Geography, Department of

Dr. Lea Berrang-Ford

  • Global environmental change and infectious disease

Dr. Gail Chmura

  • Biogeography, paleo-ecology and wetland dynamics
  • What does climate change mean to us in Quebec?

Dr. Oliver Coomes

  • Making a living in the Amazon

Dr. Margaret Kalacska

  • Remote sensing, UAV videography, GIS, biodiversity

Dr. Michel Lapointe

  • Fluvial geomorphology
  • Sediment transport mechanics in rivers

Dr. Thom Meredith

  • Environmental management
  • Impact assessment procedures, especially in cross-cultural situations
  • Environmental conflict resolution in Canada

Dr. Sarah Moser

  • New master-planned cities in the Arab world: Engineering a post-oil future.

Dr. Wayne Pollard

  • Permafrost and periglacial geomorphology.

Dr. Nancy Ross

  • Medical and urban geography

Dr. Nigel T. Roulet

  • How humans are changing the planet: climate, water and chemical cycles
  • Climate change: how warm is warm?
  • Wetlands: great places even if you are not a bug!
  • The global carbon cycle

Dr. Raja Sengupta

  • Geographic Information Science (including GIS)
  • Spatial Decision Support Systems

Dr. Renee Sieber

  • Use and value of information technology by marginalized communities, commmunity based organizations, and social movement groups
  • Public participation GIS
  • Use of GIS in the environmental movement
  • Development of e-commerce tools for use in marginalized communities

Dr. Jon Unruh

  • Human geography and international development - focus on Africa
  • Postwar land tenure and environmental change

Human Genetics, Department of

(The Department of Human Genetics is part of the Faculty of Medicine.)

Dr. Celia Greenwood

  • Statistical methods for genetics and genomics

Dr. Rima Slim

  • When a pregnancy leads to a tumor: the genetics of molar pregnancies.

Dr. Patricia Tonin

  • Cancer genetics, Genotyping and biomarkers.

Kinesiology and Physical Education, Department of

(The Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education is part of the Faculty of Education.)

Dr. Lindsay Duncan

  • Using videogames to influence healthy lifestyle behaviours among adolescents

Mathematics and Statistics, Department of

Dr. Henri Darmon

  • La théorie des nombres et ses applications
  • The equations of number theory: from Fermat to Wiles

Dr. Eyal Goren

  • Codes, spheres and lattices

Dr. Niky Kamran

  • Courbure et topologie des surfaces
  • Equations aux derives partielles et géométrie des surfaces

Dr. Piotr Przytycki

  • Geometric group theory

Natural Resource Sciences, Department of

(The Department of Natural Resource Sciences is part of the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

Dr. Elena Bennett

  • Ecosystems and human well-being: how does the state of the environment affect our lives?
  • Pea Soup: Human impact on the phosphorus cycle and eutrophication

Parasitology, Institute of

(The Institute of Parasitology is part of the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

Dr. Petra Rohrbach

  • Malaria

Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Department of

(The Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics is part of the Faculty of Medicine.)

Dr. Paul Clarke

  • Nicotine and tobacco addiction

Dr. Lisa-Marie Münter

  • Alzheimer’s disease: cholesterol metabolism and intramembrane proteases.

Physics, Department of


Dr. Robert Brandenberger

  • Was there a Big Bang?
  • Origin of Structure in the Universe

Dr. Andrew Cumming

  • In Search of New Worlds- The Discovery and Characterization of Exoplanets

Dr. Matt Dobbs

  • Cosmology - understanding the universe we live in

Dr. Keshav DasGupta

  • Cosmology and early universe
  • Black holes and their mysteries

Dr. David Hanna

  • Particle Astrophysics - A New View of the Universe

Dr. Gil Holder

  • The Cosmic Microwave Background
  • Dark Matter, Dark Energy and the Accelerating Universe
  • The State of the Universe

Dr. Victoria Kaspi

  • Neutron Stars
  • The Violent High Energy Universe

Dr. Ryan Lynch

  • What is NANOGrav?

Dr. Ken Ragan

  • The New Starry Messengers

Dr. Tracy Webb

  • More colours than the eye can see: astronomy from X-ray to radio wavelengths
  • Everything you ever wanted to know about galaxies!
  • A rough guide to the Universe: what we know, how we know it, and what we'd like to find out

Condensed Matter Physics

Dr. Peter Grütter

  • Nanotechnology: there is plenty of room at the bottom

Dr. Michael Hilke

  • New quantum and nano-materials (Français/English/Deutsch)

Dr. Jack Sankey

  • Flexible Photons: Controlling the Motion of Solid Objects with Laser Light

Dr. Mark Sutton

  • Using x-rays to see atoms

Dr. Paul Wiseman

  • Physics at the interface with Biology... What is Biophysics?
  • Physics inside living Cells... How do Cells Move?

Subatomic Physics

Dr. Jean Barrette

  • Rutherford at McGill; the Early Days of Nuclear Physics (English)
  • Rutherford À McGill ou les débuts de la physique nucléaire (Français)
  • From Atoms to Quarks: On the Basic Constituents of the Universe (English)
  • Des atomes aux quarks ou sur les constituants fondamentaux de l'Univers (Français)
  • From Quarks to Galaxies: The Construction of our Universe (English)
  • Des quarks aux galaxies ou comment l'univers s'est construit (Français)

Dr. François Corriveau

  • A Matter of Scale: Small, Smaller, Smallest? (English)
  • Une Question d'échelle: minuscule ou infinitésimal? (Français)
  • A Puzzle: the Nature of the Photon (English)
  • L'énigme de la nature du photon (Français)
  • Particle Colliders: circular or linear? (English)
  • Collisionneurs de particules: circulaires ou linéaires? (Français)

Dr. Keshav DasGupta

  • Atoms and atomic structure
  • Aspects of string theory

Dr. Charles Gale

  • Chauds les noyaux! La matière nucléaire dans tous ses états (Français/English)

Dr. Sangyong Jeon

  • Creating a Little Big Bang

Dr. Brigitte Vachon

  • What does a particle physicist do all day?
  • Dan Brown's Angels and Demons: Facts and Fiction (Français/English)
  • The Top Quark (Français/English)

Dr. Andreas Warburton

  • What Can the Smallest Particles tell Us about the Biggest Questions in Science?
  • High-Energy Subatomic Physics: Smashing Matter at the Very Highest Energies


Dr. Jean Barrette

  • The Newtonian revolution and how his discovery changed our philosophy of science (English)
  • Newton: Une première révolution en science (Français)
  • On the strange Quantum Physics (English)
  • La physique quantique: la révolution de l'étrange (Français)
  • How Einstein Revolutionized Physics (English)
  • En quoi Einstein changea notre vision de l'espace et du temps (Français)

Dr. Keshav DasGupta

  • Newton's laws and gravitation
  • Einstein Theory
  • Quantum mechanics

Dr. Michael Hilke

  • Quantum Computing (English)
  • Ordinateurs quantiques (Français)
  • Quantencomputer (Deutsch)

Dr. Shaun Lovejoy

  • When size doesn't matter: our multifractal world
  • Emergent Atmospheric laws: Why the weather and climate are not what you expect
  • On the unity of rocks and clouds
  • Emergent space-time scaling laws in precipitation: Weather, macro weather and climate regimes

Physiology, Department of

(The Department of Physiology is part of the Faculty of Medicine.)

Dr. Anmar Khadra

  • Can mathematics and physiology work in synergy to understand human body?

Plant Sciences, Department of

(The Department of Plant Sciences is part of the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

Dr. Danielle Donnelly

  • Biotechnology for potato production and improvement

Dr. Martina Stromvik

  • Superfood or Frankenfood: the story of GMOs

Psychology, Department of

Dr. Richard Koestner

  • Motivation, self control, and self regulation.

Dr. David Ostry

  • Sensory plasticity and motor learning.

Dr. John Lydon

  • Social psychology of friendship and romantic relationships

Dr. Jeff Mogil

  • Psychology and genetics of pain
  • Analgesia

Dr. Karim Nader

  • The modifiability of memory and reconsolidation of memory, potential treatments for post traumatic anxiety

Dr. Caroline Palmer

  • Memory and music performance
  • The science of music

Dr. Don Taylor

  • Social psychology of intergroup relations, justice, native peoples, and immigrants

Dr. Debra Titone

  • Language and cognition in schizophrenia

Redpath Museum

Mr. Anthony Howell

  • Human Anthropology

Other Redpath Museum presenters are listed under this page's Biology section.