Research and communication

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Discovery without subsequent communication is like a tree that falls unheard.

Fermat's Last Theorem states that an + bn =  cn has no non-zero integer for a, b, and c when n > 2. In 1637, the mathematician Pierre de Fermat wrote a marginal note in his copy of Diophantus's famous Arithmetica which said: "I have a truly marvellous proof of this proposition which this margin is too narrow to contain." He did not write it down, and the theorem vexed mathematicians until it was finally proven by Sir Andrew Wiles in 1995 using very sophisticated methods that were unavailable to Fermat in the 17th century. Fermat's own proof to the theorem may have been right or wrong; we will never know because he did not write it down; consequently it took scientists hundreds of years and great effort to answer this question.

The scientific process is only finished when a researcher's results have been written clearly, and communicated to and understood by others.

Here are resources to help undergraduate students (some for English-second-language students, some for native speakers) improve their skills at science communication.

  • CEAP 150 Critical Analysis&Composition 3 Credits
      Offered in the:
    • Fall
    • Winter
    • Summer

    (Note: It is NOT considered to be a course outside of Arts and Science)
     
  • CEAP 250 Research Essay & Rhetoric 3 Credits
      Offered in the:
    • Fall
    • Winter
    • Summer

    (Note: It is NOT considered to be a course outside of Arts and Science)
     
  • CESL 150 English as a Second Language 6 Credits
      Offered in the:
    • Fall
    • Winter
    • Summer

    (Note: It is NOT considered to be a course outside of Arts and Science)
     
  • CESL 200 ESL: Academic English 1 3 Credits
      Offered in the:
    • Fall
    • Winter
    • Summer

    (Note: It is NOT considered to be a course outside of Arts and Science)
     
  • CESL 299 ESL: Academic English Seminar 3 Credits
      Offered in the:
    • Fall
    • Winter
    • Summer

    (Note: It is NOT considered to be a course outside of Arts and Science)
     
  • CESL 300 ESL: Academic English 2 3 Credits
      Offered in the:
    • Fall
    • Winter
    • Summer

    (Note: It is NOT considered to be a course outside of Arts and Science)
     
  • CESL 400 ESL: Essay & Critical Thinking 3 Credits
      Offered in the:
    • Fall
    • Winter
    • Summer

    (Note: It is NOT considered to be a course outside of Arts and Science)
     
  • CESL 500 ESL: Research Essay & Rhetoric 3 Credits
      Offered in the:
    • Fall
    • Winter
    • Summer

    (Note: It is NOT considered to be a course outside of Arts and Science)
     
  • CCOM 314 Communicating Science 3 Credits
      Offered in the:
    • Fall
    • Winter
    • Summer

    (Note: This IS considered to be a course outside of Arts and Science)
     
  • MSURJ: McGill Science Undergraduate Research Journal. Read some of McGill's best undergraduate student research, contribute a paper, or become an editor.

Students in certain areas may also be interested in the McGill Journal of Medicine.