Scitech  Events

Earth’s earliest life – where did it come from?
October 8, 5 p.m.

Redpath Museum
Part of the Freaky Fridays series, Boswell Wing of McGill Earth and Planetary Sciences will talk about rocks and the beginnings of life on earth. A screening of Day of the Triffids will follow.

Science & Policy Exchange
October 7, 1-8 p.m.

SSMU Ballroom (4th floor of Shatner)

Interested in learning more about renewable energy technologies? On Thursday, McGill will be hosting the Science & Policy Exchange, a mini-conference sponsored by McGill’s undergraduate and graduate student societies, SSMU and PGSS. The exchange will feature several keynote speakers, including Elizabeth May, leader of the Green party, Marc Garneau, MP former engineer and astronaut, Richard Bruno, technology entrepreneur and former director of the McGill Office of Technology Transfer, and Philippe Couillard, former Quebec Health Minister. An Ngo, a McGill chemistry PhD candidate and the main organizer of the exchange, hopes that it will give students and post-doctorate fellows “the chance to exchange ideas with leaders in industry, science, government, and academia.” She explains that students and post-doctorate fellows make up a large part of the research staff at universities. “I think it’s important to include their perspectives and educate them about what goes on in the policy development world.” The exchange is open to all of the Montreal community. Register online at


Cutting Edge lecture series: Inflammation – the fuel of cancer: extinguishing the fire to stop the disease
October 14, 6 p.m.

Redpath Museum, Auditorium
Maya Saleh, assistant professor in the McGill Faculty of Medicine, will discuss her research on the role of inflammation in cancer in the October instalment of the Cutting Edge Lecture Series. Lectures in the series are typically interesting and engaging, whether you’re a science student or not. The free wine and cheese afterwards is a plus.

Confronting Pseudoscience
October 18, 5 p.m.

Centre Mont-Royal, 2200 Mansfield
October 19, 6 p.m.

Leacock building, Room 132
“Quackery is extensive,” explains Joe Schwarz, director of the McGill Office for Science and Society. Schwarz, a Chemistry professor, has a passion for fighting pseudoscience. “[It’s often] cloaked in the garb of science,” he says.

Schwarz is moderating both evenings of the event. The first features Ben Goldacre, the author of Bad Science, David Gorski, managing editor of the blog Exploring Issues in Science-Based Medicine, and Michael Shermer, Scientific American columnist and Editor in Chief of Skeptic Magazine. The second evening will spotlight James “The Amazing” Randi, skeptic and former magician whose James Randi Educational Foundation sponsors a million-dollar prize for anyone who can demonstrate paranormal powers in a controlled setting.

Why spend time dwelling on the paranormal and investigating pseudoscience? The problem of bad science is deep, the desire to see things where none exists is great. “Hope is very powerful for people,” explains Schwarz. Charlatans are good at selling faulty ideas and fake cures.

Come to get in tune with how science functions, to get a new perspective or two, and to have fun. The all-star guests won’t disappoint.

Free admission– but the organizers expect the venue to fill up fast. Visit for more information.

The Roles for Diverse Physical Phenomena during The Origin of Life
October 13, 6 p.m.

McIntyre Medical Building, Room 522
McGill graduate and 2009 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine winner Jack Szostak does research with his lab at Harvard on the synthesis of self-replicating systems, which could shed light on how the first components of life formed in Earth’s primordial soup. This lecture is part of the Anna I. McPherson Lectures in Physics, and it’s a lecture aimed at the public.

Learning About the Origin of Life from Efforts to Design an Artificial Cell
October 14, 4:15 p.m.

McIntyre Medical Building, Room 504
This Jack Szostak talk is part of the The Boehringer Ingelheim lectures in Biochemistry. Like the lecture on October 13, it’s on the origin of life – but it promises to be on the technical side. Go to this lecture if you have a solid understanding of biochemistry, or if you’re feeling adventurous.