Teaching Climate Change: Prof. John Gyakum Discusses His New Course, ATOC 183

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Professor John Gyakum from the department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences about his new course “ATOC 183: Climate and Climate Change” being offered this winter. Full disclosure: I am the liaison librarian for his department and will be working with him to provide library support for the course.

Here is what he had to say.


Thanks so much Professor Gyakum for taking the time to share with our blog readers about your new course “Climate and Climate Change”. First off, tell us about the course.

Professor Gyakum:

As you probably know, I’ve been teaching Natural Disasters (ATOC/EPSC 185) with John Stix for 25 years. And the thing is climate change is a natural disaster and I’m really passionate about talking to students and working together to understand what we know about climate change and perhaps more importantly what we don’t know.


25 years, that’s a long time.

Professor Gyakum:

It is. I had no idea until John Stix mentioned it earlier this term, but yeah, it’s been that long.


What is your anticipated student demographic for this course?

Professor Gyakum:

You know, I have not looked in detail at the registration numbers. We have about 145 students. My expectation is that the demographics of our student population will be very similar to what we’ve been having in Natural Disasters. The levels will range probably from U0 to U3. And we’re expecting to have students from all faculties.


Are you expecting students to have a certain base level of knowledge when they’re starting this course or will it be for people new to this area of study?

Professor Gyakum:

There are no prerequisites whatsoever and I expect to be able to reach out to all students without any preparation for this course.


What led you to developing the course?

Professor Gyakum:

We’ve been incorporating climate change into the Natural Disasters course for the past 5-7 years. It only lasts for one week as a module. It’s an exciting field. Furthermore, I’m in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and it’s my view that we should be leaders in articulating the science [of climate change] to our students and doing so in an accessible way.


Was this [initiative] driven from your own experience in Natural Disasters or was it a combination of hearing about needs for a course like this from students in that class or from elsewhere?

Professor Gyakum:

A combination of my experience in Natural Disasters and also as Department Chair. I’m not Department Chair now, but I had been for about 16 years. And Chairs assign teaching. It was pretty clear to me that this was a gap in our departmental outreach that we needed to fill.


Absolutely. A lot of people report feelings of eco anxiety when faced with the immensity of the problem of climate change. How will your course help students deal with the kinds of feelings that this topic can generate?

Professor Gyakum:

Well, you know, we’ve touched on this a little bit in our [Natural Disasters] course. There’s no doubt about it that when we pose this question as a Slido [polling] question to the students, their reactions are predominantly pessimistic and lots of people are really quite depressed about this, with good reason. It’s very frustrating for students when they see that governments are not acting in a way that is responsible. What we tell them and what I’m going to be intending to articulate to our students is that there’s a lot of reason for optimism. Primarily because we, as individuals, can work towards a better future. In other words, we do not have to rely upon a government that may not be so proactive. We can do things for ourselves, that contribute to mitigating against climate change and taking actions.


Things like?

Professor Gyakum:

On a personal level, of course, your own habits, including transportation. Take the bus, take the metro, walk. It’s not always possible for people to do that but, at the same time, people can and should be acting responsibly. Diet has a role as well. Our choices of what we eat have an impact on the climate.


Definitely. How will your course fit in with existing courses? How will it complement things that are already being offered at McGill like “FSCI 198: Climate Crisis and Climate Actions,” offered through the Office of Science Education and “GEOG 514: Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation?”

Professor Gyakum:

First of all, I think our department should be playing a leadership role in this aspect. And I think the contributions that we’re going to be making with this climate course are, in fact, not duplicating what exists already but rather complementing. To do that, what I intend to do is focus on what we do know as scientists in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. In particular, I will be discussing extreme weather systems and we will be having guest speakers from various areas in the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences community to articulate this. Water vapour is the most important greenhouse gas. And that’s not really looked upon very much in current climate change courses. One of the reasons is that water vapour has a tendency to disperse. You have a warm air mass, particularly in the summer. It goes away with a cold front and the water vapour lifetime is rather short. However, there’s been more recent evidence to suggest that extreme weather systems and even submarine volcanic eruptions can, in fact, inject a massive amount of water vapour into the stratosphere, where the lifetimes are much longer. Also, we’re going to be looking at some of the radiative aspects of clouds that have an impact on our climate. So there are some nuances here, very important subtleties that are critical to our understanding of the problem.


So would it be fair to say that this course will be taking more of a science bent than some of the other courses that might be more [policy-oriented]?

Professor Gyakum:

I mean the other courses certainly have science in them. What we’re doing here is to emphasize extreme weather systems not just simply as a symptom but rather as a really significant producer of sometimes cataclysmic feedbacks on the climate system.


I’m a fan of the Walrus Magazine and there was an article that came out in 2022 on climate change education. One of the people interviewed in that article was saying and I’m quoting “climate education should be framed in a way that incites hope and incites change.” That sounds like a very challenging, yet very important, task. How do you plan to incite hope and change in your classroom?

Professor Gyakum:

I think what we can do here is show our students tangible examples of what we as individuals can do and what we can do on a political level, albeit relatively small-scale to begin with, depending upon the students’ own personalities, to affect positive changes in our political system that would facilitate taking strong action against the ill effects of climate change. So I think this can be done really at all ages and at all levels and at all areas of expertise. I think that’s an excellent article that you were referring to. I have to produce a realistic state of affairs – there’s no question about that – but at the same time, there are good examples that I can show of individuals and also governments doing a terrific job in addressing the whole issue of climate change.


You’re making me want to take the course! Are you accepting people auditing the course?

Professor Gyakum:

Totally. It’s not a remotely-given course, so some of this depends upon the size of the classroom, of course.


Related to that, I know you have taught online before. I remember the years before the pandemic when you offered the very popular Natural Disasters course free online as a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). What lessons about the way you taught that course will inform how you teach this new in-person one?

Professor Gyakum:

So when we taught the MOOC, both John Stix and I had this idea that teaching a 45 or 75 minute lecture was just fine, but what we found with the MOOC was that we really needed to break things up and focus on a topic for a limited period of time, 10 to 15 minutes. And then, at the same time, what we found since the MOOC, and since the pandemic, is that we’re really working harder towards engaging students more proactively, even in a 600-person class. We do this with questions, feedback and even discussions. I think that’s going to be a readily available tool that we can use in this climate course, which right now has about 140 students, which is a fraction of what we have in Natural Disasters. So I’m looking forward to that.


So what you’re saying is that you’re taking the practice from your online course of integrating engaging activities and bringing that into the physical classroom?

Professor Gyakum:

Absolutely. We’re going to be using techniques to actively engage the students in every single class much more frequently than has been a typical practice. At the same time, we want to know if anything that we’ve said during the lecture has gotten into people’s brains. We can do that with some of the questions that we ask students. It’s very important. Sometimes we, as instructors, can be very surprised at what a student really learns and does not learn from what we’ve just said. [Using techniques for engaging students] is an excellent tool for gathering fairly quick feedback for both the students and the instructors.


That can help you then to tailor your teaching moving forward.

Professor Gyakum:

Yes. Even in Natural Disasters – we’ve done this for 25 years – but we’re constantly changing the way we teach.


That’s fantastic. I think that makes so much sense because every class is different and, as these things move forward and time passes, the kinds of knowledge that students are bringing to the classroom are different and that impacts what you teach.

Professor Gyakum:

That’s exactly right. And you know, one of your first questions about the demographics, I don’t know the specifics of the demographics, but I’m going to try in the very first class to engage with the students and work with them to address student strengths because the demographics of a particular class change from year to year. I want to know where they’re from, what sort of background they have. I can’t do it all in one day, but at least I can get an idea of what students’ interests are and what they would like to learn.


Excellent. What are some of the main things that you hope students will take from your class this upcoming semester? What main takeaways are you hoping they’re going to come away from your class having learned?

Professor Gyakum:

I think the real emphasis is to instill students with a good idea of what we know about climate change and in particular what we don’t know. A lot of times, politicians, naysayers and so forth spend a lot of time talking about issues that are related to climate change, which are really unknown, totally unknown. There is a lot that we do know about climate change and in particular some of the initial phases of the course are going to go into basics. We will cover what the greenhouse gases are, what they do to our climate and how we as human beings can make changes. Following up on that, we’re going to be talking about some of the implications of the science and what we can do to learn and also to work towards a better environment, a more habitable environment for humans.


Is there anything else that you want to tell me about the course?

Professor Gyakum:

Well, it’s going to be fun. I can’t wait for it to start. I realize there is a holiday coming on, but at the same time, I feel very enthusiastic and very passionate about this course. I hope to convey some of that enthusiasm and passion to the students so that they themselves will be able to move ahead and learn. And get something positive out of this course [that can help them] in the different paths they will take in the future. That might be policy, science, arts, anything that the students can do to convey their knowledge and do so in a constructive way to make our society better. So that’s my goal.


That’s a very big mission.

Professor Gyakum:

It is. In academia, we have to think big, but at the same time, we have to be practical about what we can do. But just conveying the enthusiasm to some fantastic students that we have at McGill is sometimes all it really takes to expand this vision and to make ourselves a part of a much better world. So, to some extent, I’m relying upon the wisdom and the strength and the enthusiasm of our McGill students to go forward.


You’ve got a good bank of people to do work with, that’s for sure. I think McGill students are definitely on board with this topic.

Professor Gyakum:

They certainly are and, like I said, I think I’ve told you before, I feel very privileged to be a part of the McGill community. To have you, in particular, as our librarian to help us and provide resources to students for doing their work. And the student body itself makes a huge contribution to our scholarly community. And I’m just very, very thankful that I can be a part of that.


Me too. Thank you so much. I’m really looking forward to hearing more about the class as it moves forward. It’s been really exciting to hear about the course. Thanks again!

An active Science Literacy Week

This year, Science Literacy Week will keep you moving. Beginning September 16, there are tours lined up, a game-based session around data management, a hands-on Excel workshop, interactive sound demonstrations, and exhibits to explore.

Here is the daily rundown of downtown activities organized by the Library:

Monday, (Sept 16): Montreal’s Urban Heat Island: Tour of temperature sensors on campus

Tuesday, (Sept 17): Tour of the Maude Abbott Medical Museum

Wednesday, (Sept 18): Sounds in the City + Treasures from the History of Science in Rare Books and Special Collections

Thursday, (Sept 19): Tour of the Steinberg Centre for Simulation and Interactive Learning + Discover the cure! An introduction to the fundamentals of data management

Friday, (Sept 20): Chart Making in Excel: Going Further by Telling a Story with your Data

Register for an event today!

We also have exhibits going on so don’t miss out on those. You will get the opportunity to test out your map literacy in the Redpath Library Building, and check out a science book in person or online.

Student recommendation for the NHL

Congratulations goes out to Mark Kumhyr, winner of the Winter/Summer 2018 Communication in Engineering (CCOM 206) Excellence in Written Communication Award!

Alternate Refrigeration Systems for Improving Ice Quality in NHL Arenas

The National Hockey League is a multibillion-dollar industry, and yet suffers from a recent uptick in complaints over sub-par ice quality, largely due to a warming climate and higher average ice rink temperatures. The objective of this paper is to demonstrate the superiority of an indirect ammonia/CO2 refrigeration system over a direct CO2 system, all in relation to the current indirect ammonia/brinewater system. The comparison will be made based on three criteria: efficiency, represented by the coefficient of performance value; cost, taking into account short- and long-term investments; and environmental effect, presented as a Global Warming Potential value. The results show that the indirect ammonia/CO2 system is 56% more efficient than the current system, and 20% more than the direct CO2 system, and is less costly in the long-term. The environmental effects of each refrigerant systems were shown to be negligible. It is recommended that the NHL implement an indirect ammonia/CO2 system in order to negate the warming arena temperatures, and ensure that the NHL remains a powerhouse in the sports industry.

Read the full paper in eScholarship, McGill’s open access repository.

The Ethics of Colonization on Mars

Image from Wikipedia

Welcome back to Aleiah who posted for the Turret while she was a student in Communication in Engineering (CCOM 206). Here is a post she wrote with her fellow student, Kevin Xie, for a class assignment for Engineering Professional Practice (FACC 400).

The Ethics of Colonization on Mars

Humanity is on the verge of technological advancement which will make possible the colonization of Mars, the red planet. According to SpaceX the first human is planned to land on Mars by the year 20241. However, this calls into question: Should humanity colonize Mars?

The colonization of Mars is a complex issue with many underlying aspects. There are also many technical challenges such as, overcoming cosmic radiation, bone demineralization and the psychological stress of a journey to Mars.  For Mars to be habitable by humans, it must first be terraformed. Terraforming is a process in which the environment of a planet is modified to emulate the earth. It involves the modification of the atmosphere, topography, temperature and ecology. Doing this will help scientists on Earth understand Earth’s own environment as well as facilitate human life on mars. Any technological advancements made will help all of humanity. An example of this is climate change on Earth. Understanding how to control the temperature of a planet can help solve climate change on Earth.

Whether or not the Mars colonization project is a success, humanity can benefit from this project as the technology required to successfully colonize Mars can be useful on Earth as well. For example, here are three industries that would be greatly advanced thanks to the Mars project, to the benefit of humans on Earth:

  1. Agriculture:

The World Bank reported in 20152 that approximately 11% of Earth is arable, meaning capable of being ploughed and used for crops. As human population grows and food security becomes a greater issue, the agricultural industry would benefit from technology that allowed them to farm on unforgiving land. The Mars project faces this exact design problem as humans would need to start growing their own food on Mars in order to successfully colonize there.

  1. Medical:

Astronauts face a number of health issues in space, such as loss of bone density and muscular atrophy due to the lower gravity. In particular, Mars only has 38% of Earth’s gravity. Under prolonged circumstances, astronauts could find themselves facing skeletal damage. Although the circumstances are unique to the astronauts, these health concerns are not. Osteoporosis is a common public health problem whose patients tend to neglect their medication as they don’t believe in the effectiveness of the treatment. Solving this problem for astronauts will also help these patients.

  1. Nuclear Power:

Mars offers very little radiation protection and shielding compared to Earth, due to having no magnetosphere and a very thin atmosphere. Whereas humans on Earth are naturally protected from solar radiation and galactic cosmic rays, as Earth explores more sources of energy including nuclear power, it will soon become increasingly important to create technology that would protect humans from radiation.

Additionally, it is important to think of the colonization of Mars not as a transfer, but an expansion. Creating a colony on Mars does not mean that the earth will be abandoned. It can be compared to the first European settlers arriving in America. America was simply an expansion. In order for humanity to continue to progress, Mars must be colonized.

The colonization of Mars is also a stepping stone for humans to move beyond the solar system. The knowledge gained from colonizing mars will not only pave the way to going to other planets, but also building permanently habitable space stations in which humans can live.


Arable land (% of land area). (n.d.). Retrieved November 09, 2018, from https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/AG.LND.ARBL.ZS?end=2015&start=2015&view=bar

This is how SpaceX will get humans to Mars by 2024 | CBC News. (2017, September 29). Retrieved November 09, 2018, from https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/spacex-mars-rocket-elon-musk-1.4312878

Doctors’ Cell Phones Are Contaminating Hospitals by Annie Charron

Today we have another guest undergraduate student post, originally submitted as a class assignment for Communicating Science (CCOM 314).

With support from Diane Dechief, Faculty Lecturer at the McGill Writing Centre, we will be sharing more noteworthy student writing right here on The Turret.

Annie chose to write a Trilobite article that provides knowledge on the health consequences of the use of cell phones by doctors.

Doctors’ Cell Phones Are Contaminating Hospitals

Your mobile phone carries the dirty fragments of germs. Thousands of microscopic bacteria bugs are crawling on it. The residue of greasy food is smudged on the screen. The remnants touched on public door handles have engulfed the surface of the phone.

Mobile phones are your hands’ partner in crime: you can wash your hands to eradicate germs and prevent the spread of germs, but you can’t wash the cell phone – at least not with soap. Without proper cleaning, germs are like glitter, they will never go away. Healthcare workers who bring mobile phones to work interfere with infection controls in hospitals.

Healthcare workers cell phones are a magnet for bacteria and harmful chemicals, which could decrease patients’ recovery. Hospitals should be the most sterile places in the world. But our tiny gadgets may ruin this. At any rate, there should be major shame towards the television series Grey’s Anatomy, where the characters are constantly using their mobile devices during patient care without washing their hands.

In a study published by Excellent Publishers in 2017, Ganapathy Shakthivel and his colleagues, working in the department of microbiology at Tirunelveli Medical College in India, examined 50 randomly selected healthcare workers at a specialized care hospital. They investigated how the bacterial contamination of cell phones poses a threat to infections. They then assessed whether contamination could be cleaned simply with 70% rubbing alcohol.

The study lasted for two months and included mobile phones belonging to doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians, nursing assistants and hospital workers. Each worker first filled out a questionnaire that asked questions about the prevalence of phone usage between patient consultations and if workers washed their hands in between use or followed a strict sterile routine. Following this, each mobile phone was swabbed twice. The first swab took place before the decontamination procedure, the second swab occurred after the phone was thoroughly cleaned with the rubbing alcohol for 5 to 7 minutes.

The study revealed that of the 50 mobile phones in the study, 90% were found to be carrying multiple microorganism bacteria such as E. coli, which is very likely to cause infections. The decontamination results revealed that rubbing alcohol proves effective. The majority of the phones (78%) showed no bacterial growth after decontamination and 12% showed decreased bacterial growth. Another study led by Usha Arora (2009), showed a higher decontamination efficacy of approximately 98% with the 70% rubbing alcohol, compared to Ganapathy Shakthivel’s (2017) results of 86.6%.

Ganapathy Shakthivel (2017) states that the use of cell phones in India accounts for more than 88% of all users in Intensive Care Units and Operation theaters. And if a cell phone is not routinely cleaned in hospitals it becomes “a reservoir of infection.” Phones are a vehicle for the transmission of infection, to both patients and the community. The questionnaire revealed that only 12% of the healthcare workers made a habit of washing their hands before attending to a patient. That being said, “nearly 52% of the workers agreed that mobile phones may act a vector for spread of nosocomial (a disease originating in a hospital) infections.”

Preventative methods for eliminating the spread of infection via cell phones, include training other individuals (children, colleagues) not to touch phones other than their own. Some hospitals have banned or eliminated the use of cell phones during working hours. This may be hard to accomplish, considering you touch your phone on average 2,617 times a day. The most important strategy is simply to clean the device with rubbing alcohol before, during and after work – this regular routine will significantly reduce infections in hospitals.


Ganapathy Shakthivel, P.C., G. Velvzhi, G. Sucilathangam, Revathy, C. (2017). Mobile phones in healthcare setting: Potential threat in infection control. Int. J.Curr. Microbio  App. Sci. 6(3): 706-711. doi: https://doi.org/10.20546/ijcmas.2017.603.081

Usha, A., P. Devi, A, Chadga, S. Malhotra. (2009). Cell phones A modern slayhouse for bacteria pathogens. Jk Science. 11(3). Retrieved from http://www.jkscience.org/archive/vol113/6-Original%20Article%20-%20cell%20phones.pdf

Comparative Analysis of Interference-Free Alternatives to Wi-Fi

Sidelobes en

Once again I have the pleasure of announcing the next Communication in Engineering (CCOM 206) Excellence in Written Communication Award. Alexandre Tessier is the Fall 2017 winner for ‘Comparative Analysis of Interference-Free Alternatives to Wi-Fi’ (yay!).


Current Wi-Fi technologies occupy oversaturated 2.4 GHz and 5GHz frequency bands. In areas with high router density, this results in poor Wi-Fi performances, and, especially, slow data transfer rates at a time when demand for high-speed networks is rising. To minimize these effects, new technologies taking advantage of the availability of higher frequencies have been developed.In particular, Li-Fi and WiGig aim to transfer data wirelessly at rates faster than Wi-Fi and, more importantly, without interference. This paper assesses the viability of these two technologies as interference-free alternatives to Wi-Fi based on 3 standard networking attributes: data transmission capabilities, security, and vulnerability to interference. The analysis concludes that Li-Fi can transfer data at higher rates than WiGig, can be used to implement location-based security levels, and, unlike WiGig, is impervious to interference from neighbouring cells. For the aforementioned reasons, Li-Fi is the most promising candidate for an alternative to Wi-Fi, vastly outperforming current implementations of WiGig.

Download the full paper from the University’s open access repository.

Congratulations, Alexandre!

Alternatives to Lithium-Ion Batteries for Electric Vehicles

The Communication in Engineering (CCOM 206) Excellence in Written Communication Award winner has been announced for the combined Winter/Summer 2017 terms (insert drum roll): Albert Kragl!

Alternatives to Lithium-Ion Batteries for Electric Vehicles

With man-made climate change becoming increasingly severe every year, the need for vehicles powered by alternative energy sources is now greater than ever. Although there are electric vehicles commercially available today, their limited driving range and high price makes them unappealing to many consumers. In order to move past these limitations, researchers have begun investigating different types of batteries with the goal of finding a battery that can reliably store more energy than a traditional lithium-ion battery. This paper analyzes the feasibility of two battery types—lithium-sulfur and lithium-air—as potential replacements for lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles. Although both batteries demonstrate high theoretical energy densities, the lithium-air battery has a much higher practical energy density when compared to lithium-sulfur, as well as a lower environmental impact and a greater number of charge cycles. The lithium-air battery also demonstrates a higher energy density and lower environmental impact when compared to lithium-ion. These results make lithium-air technology the best candidate to replace lithium-ion batteries in the near future.

The full article PDF is available from McGill’s open access institutional repository, eScholarship.

Congratulations, Albert!

A little piece of Schulich Library goes to China!

One of the main reasons I love working at McGill is the opportunity to interact with amazing students and staff who are doing exciting projects that could potentially change the world. The 99 McGill and Concordia student, staff, and alumni members of Team Montreal are currently part of one such endeavor. They are building a net zero energy home, a prototype that could revolutionize how we live in the future since the technological design features of this house enable it to create as much energy as the house dwellers consume. They have all kinds of sponsors including their lead presenting sponsor, Hydro Quebec, who sees this project as an opportunity for them to become a main player in technologies related to intelligent and sustainable home design. Hydro Quebec’s vice-president of client services, Eric Filion, sees this project as a way for them to learn more about innovative technologies and actually test them out.

Not only is Team Montreal building a house that could change for the better the way we live, they are also out to win the Solar Decathlon China 2018 competition currently taking place in China, where, as the only team from Canada, they are competing against 21 other teams from around the world. Once the competition is over, most houses will remain on public display either in China or elsewhere. Team members say there are plans to build other houses in Montreal using the same design.

What is particularly cool about the Team Montreal design is the way it takes the traditional row housing style of architecture so predominant in Montreal and creates something new, incorporating Asian-style features such as an open-air courtyard, and innovative technologies that enhance the house’s sustainability. For a sneak peek of how the house will look upon completion, check out the 3-minute video here (part-way down the page on the right-hand side).

I had heard about the project a few months back and was thrilled to be contacted in April by one of the team members who was asking for help. They wanted to have books on architecture and engineering to add to the house’s built-in bookshelves. The books could show signs of use since they wanted to give the house a lived-in feel. I was so happy to be able to support this fantastic project. Right away, I contacted my engineering librarian counterpart at Concordia, Joshua Chalifour to see if he could help out. Joshua had a number of engineering books that were going to be discarding due to them being so well-used and they had purchased replacement copies already. He willingly lugged a bunch of them over by foot from Concordia for me to add to the pile. So along with the books Joshua brought over, we had a combination of items from Schulich Library that were donations we already had in our collection, items that we were going to discard because we had duplicate copies or newer editions, and some old engineering trade magazines from my personal collection.

It was very exciting to correspond and meet with team members Kim Chayer and Thierry Syriani. Their enthusiasm for this project is certainly contagious! When they came to see the books, they were really happy to take everything! The books went out in two shipments, with the pre-fabricated house materials in big crates, the 1st shipment being in April and the 2nd one in June.

How can you help? You can support the team by liking and following them on Facebook or by following their diary where, as I write, they are in the home stretch of needing to assemble the house within the next few days. They are battling hot weather, challenges associated with pre-fabrication construction, heavy rain, and typhoon threats in order to complete the house on time. You can also support them by making a donation.

Go Team Montreal! Who knows, some of the engineering books you may have used in courses taught at McGill and Concordia might be lining the shelves of this year’s prize-winning house of the Solar Decathlon China competition!

Exploring McGill on a rainy day

I’m taking advantage of this rainy day to tune in to the Mini-Science 2018 episodes: Women in Science at McGill (and beyond). This seven-part series was recorded and made available on the McGill YouTube channel.

YouTube is the place to go If you have ever wondered if you could watch lectures and events that have taken place on campus. Videos include public forums, competitions, and conference presentations.

Apart from the main channel, there are additional options on YouTube for webcasts related to science at McGill: AstroMcGill, Separating Sense From Nonsense (McGill Office for Science and Society), Montreal Neuro, and McGill University Health Centre (MUHC).

If you have time, I highly recommend the first episode of this year’s Mini-Science – History of Women in Science (below). In it, Principal Suzanne Fortier tells an engaging story about her experience growing up in a small town in Quebec and her unique path to science. There were a total of three books in her home, but to find out which three you will have to watch.

Enjoy the rain!

Communicating Science: Profile of Sierra Clark by Audrey Carleton

Today we have a guest student post, originally submitted as a class assignment for Communicating Science (CCOM 314). With support from Diane Dechief, Faculty Lecturer at the McGill Writing Centre, we will be sharing more noteworthy student writing right here on The Turret.

Audrey Carleton chose to write a profile on Sierra Clark, a graduate student supervised by Dr. Jill Baumgartner in the Institute for Health and Social Policy.

Sierra Clark

Headline: Sierra Clark on indoor air pollution and academic uncertainty

Subhead: McGill Master’s student tests lifesaving interventions for Tibetan Plateau residents

By: Audrey Carleton

Date: December 1, 2017

Sierra Clark has been reading National Geographic for as long as she can remember. Even before she learned to read, she would eagerly flip through the magazine’s glossy pages to admire its photos. From this young age, she had her sights set on someday working for the publication as an archaeologist.

In the twenty years that followed, Clark had a few changes of heart. When she began her undergraduate degree at McGill University in 2011, she was enrolled with a major in Anthropology. But after sitting through a few convoluted lectures in an introductory anthropology course, she realized the program wasn’t the right fit for her. One meeting with an academic advisor later, she settled on a major in Geography, and swiftly fell in love with it. Upon graduating in 2015, she swiftly enrolled in a Master’s Program in Epidemiology at McGill, which she is completing now. All the while, Clark continued to read National Geographic religiously. Continue reading