The Winter 2013 Lectures

FREE public one-hour lectures followed by a question period

TORONTO:Sundays at 3 pm (doors open at 2:15)Macleod Auditorium, Medical Sciences Building, University of Toronto1 King’s College Circle (Nearest Subway is Queen’s Park Station)Parking on campus, pay/display; limited disabled parking availableNOTE: The Foundation Lecture will be given at Ryerson University — see below MISSISSAUGA:Thursday evenings at 7:30 pmNoel Ryan Auditorium, Mississauga Central Library301 Burnhamthorpe Road W.Free parking is available under the library.  The entrance is an unmarked ramp that can only be accessed southbound on Duke of York Boulevard between City Centre Drive and Burnhamthorpe Road.
We thank the University of Toronto and the Mississauga Central Library for their support.


January – April 2013

Jan 13 Sun 2013
Medicine – A Glimpse of the Future - Toronto
3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Robert Roberts, MD, FRCPC, MACC, FAHA, LLD (Hon.), President and CEO, University of Ottawa Heart Institute; President, CEO and Chief Scientific Officer, Ottawa Heart Institute Research Corporation; Director, Ruddy Canadian Cardiovascular Genetics Centre; Professor of Medicine, University of Ottawa

Winner of the McLaughlin Medal awarded by the Royal Society of Canada, in recognition of his scientific contributions to the Medical Sciences

Heart disease is the number one killer in the world. It is preventable as shown by modifying known conventional risk factors such as cholesterol and high blood pressure. However, 50% of the risk for heart disease relates to your genes. The technology became available in 2005 to identify these risk-carrying genes. We identified the first gene in 2007 and, together with an international consortium, have identified a total of 36 genes. We believe comprehensive prevention based on conventional and genetic risk factors could eliminate heart disease in this century.

This talk is co-sponsored by the Gairdner Foundation.

Jan 20 Sun 2013
P versus NP and the Limits of Computation - Toronto
3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Stephen A. Cook, PhD, Department of Computer Science and Department of Mathematics, University of Toronto

The security of encrypted computer protocols such as credit card transactions depends on unproven mathematical assumptions concerning the limits of computation. The central assumption is the conjecture known as ‘P versus NP’ (one of the ‘million dollar questions’ listed by the Clay Mathematics Institute). I will explain the conjecture, and how our world could be very different if it turns out to be false.

Co-sponsored by the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences

Jan 27 Sun 2013
Of Pests and Parasites: Modernizing Biological Control with New Tricks of the Trade - Toronto
3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Tara Gariepy, PhD, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Southern Crop Protection and Food Research Centre,
London, Ontario.

Insects often arrive as hitchhikers from other countries and become pests in our own agricultural production systems. For some invasive pests, biological control using natural enemies is a cost-effective, safe, and efficient solution. This option is being explored for the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, a high-profile, recently introduced pest in Canada which threatens a wide variety of field, fruit, and vegetable crops. New methods, including the use of molecular diagnostics, can be used to rapidly identify and track invasive pests in urban and agricultural settings. Furthermore, DNA-based tools can help unravel the unseen interactions between pests and their parasites. Using these tools provides insight into the safety and efficacy of biological control agents and may help refine and fast-track biological control solutions for invasive insect pests.

Feb 3 Sun 2013
Rapid Change in the Arctic – Who Wins, Who Loses? - Toronto
3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Peter J. Ewins, D.Phil., Senior Officer, Species, World Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF)

Canada’s Arctic is still in a relatively natural state. But very rapid changes in climate, infrastructure, transportation, and accelerating viability of developing mineral, oil and gas deposits there present very significant risks that must be properly addressed by local people, investors, industry and governments alike. Around the world local people, wildlife and natural habitats have usually lost out in such situations. Will Canada’s upcoming chairing of the Arctic Council truly ensure that this doesn’t happen here? The talk will focus on risk assessment, scenarios planning, and social-ecological resilience, trying to help set a new approach in these new changing conditions.

Feb 7 Thu 2013
Weighing the Universe with Gravitational Lensing - Mississauga
7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Laura Parker, BSc, PhD, Department of Physics and Astronomy, McMaster University, Hamilton

Most of the mass in the Universe is believed to be in an unseen form called dark matter. In this talk I will present the observational evidence leading to this incredible realization. I will then focus in particular on the use of gravitational lensing to investigate dark matter. In gravitational lensing light is bent by the presence of
massive objects in much the same way that an optical lens bends light. Remarkably, we can use lensing to study the amount and distribution of dark matter in the universe on scales ranging from individual galaxies to the entire universe itself.

Joint lecture with the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada – Mississauga

Feb 10 Sun 2013
Why Chocolate Melts in Your Mouth and Not in Your Hands - Toronto
3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Dérick Rousseau, PhD, Department of Chemistry and Biology, Ryerson University

Chocolate is enjoyed worldwide for its unique sensory properties. These sought-after properties of chocolate strongly depend on the composition of chocolate and in particular how cocoa butter is crystallized. In fact, cocoa butter is responsible for the snap, gloss and sharp melting profile of chocolate at body temperature. This presentation will explore how chocolate is made and how the solidification process of cocoa butter is a finely-tuned and controlled process. Next time you bite into your favourite chocolate bar, perhaps you’ll be astonished at just how important all those little cocoa butter fat crystals are.

Feb 17 Sun 2013
Radiation and Life – Taking a Closer Look with Microdosimetry - Toronto
3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Anthony Waker, PhD, NSERC/UNENE Senior Industrial Research Chair in Health Physics and Environmental Safety, University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), Oshawa

We encounter ionizing radiation throughout our lives through naturally occurring radioactive materials, diagnostic and therapeutic medicine, air travel and nuclear power production. The measurement of the interaction of radiation with biological materials is termed ‘dosimetry’ and is a fundamental measurement science that ensures that appropriate standards are established for the application of ionizing radiation in medicine, industry and for radiation protection. However, in order to fully understand the effects of ionizing radiation on living tissue we need also to consider radiation interaction on the microscopic scale which, appropriately is termed ‘microdosimetry’. This talk will cover how we encounter radiation, what is meant by ‘dosimetry’ and ‘microdosimetry’ and how an appreciation of radiation interaction at the cellular and subcellular level can lead to advanced radiation therapies, improved radiation protection and a better understanding of the risks of low-dose exposures.

Feb 24 Sun 2013
Fun Science for Kids ages 6-12 - Toronto
2:30 pm – 4:00 pm

A fun-filled afternoon for kids aged 6 to 12. Explore science through fun hands-on activities. Parents welcome! Doors open at 2 pm.

Free, with no reserved seats.


Mar 3 Sun 2013
Catch Me If You Can: Hunting the Elusive Neutrino - Toronto
3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Sampa Bhadra, PhD, Department of Physics and Astronomy, York University

Neutrinos are among the most abundant particles in the universe, and omnipresent. They are nonetheless the least understood of the fundamental particles because they rarely interact with other matter. They played a big role in the evolution of the universe after the Big Bang. Studying the properties of neutrinos is one of the current grand quests in physics and we are in a period of exciting discoveries. One such discovery is that neutrinos have a small but non-zero mass, contrary to what was believed, and this has shaken up the field. The universe we know is made of matter even though matter and anti-matter were created equally after the Big Bang, and neutrinos may be the reason for this! One way to test this is through controlled production of neutrinos at accelerators. I will describe the T2K experiment in Japan which has recently shed important light on a key missing ingredient in the neutrino puzzle.

Mar 7 Thu 2013
Exploring the Fourth State of Matter: Making New Liquid Crystalline Materials - Mississauga
7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Ken Maly, PhD, Department of Chemistry, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo

Liquid crystals are a phase of matter with properties between that of a solid and a liquid: they exhibit some degree of molecular ordering (like solids), yet still maintain some fluidity and allow molecular motions (like liquids). The unique properties of these phases make them useful in a variety of applications, ranging from display technologies to solar cells. In this lecture, I will provide a brief introduction to this class of materials and explain what types of compounds display liquid crystalline phases and how these materials can be used in electronic devices. I will also highlight some of our research efforts that focus on the design and preparation of new liquid crystals using techniques in organic chemistry.


Apr 4 Thu 2013
Severe Stress and Physical Health: The Mind-Body Connection - Mississauga
7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Judith Pizarro Andersen, PhD , Department of Psychology, University of Toronto at Mississauga

Both conventional wisdom and research evidence suggest that severe stress is unhealthy. Serious and sometimes debilitating mental health responses often follow trauma experiences such as combat exposure, assault or a serious motor vehicle accident. More recently, evidence shows that stress can impact our physical health as well. I examine factors that may change the relationship between stress and health, such as the age of exposure, the type of traumatic experience, and sociocultural supports that may buffer the mind-body effects of stress.