We have been participating in this Canada-wide celebration of science since 2015, but this year really is special. We could not be more enthusiastic about welcoming you to our McGill events, some virtual and others in-person. The theme of this year’s Science Literacy Week, taking place September 19-25, is Mathematics. It is such a wonderfully broad theme that, together with our campus partners, we were able to organize an array of learning opportunities for you.
I thought that I would break it down day by day with a few insights, but first there are two exhibits that have already launched and that you can check out right away. There is a Math / Music exhibit at the Marvin Duchow Music Library with materials from their collection that demonstrate the rich connections between the two disciplines. There is also a Mathematics Redpath Book Display, both physical (in the Humanities and Social Sciences Library) and virtual for some interesting reading material.
Stats-wise (12-1pm; in person): I was a student of Professor Rhonda Amsel during my undergrad at McGill (last century!) and she truly is a wonderful educator. I cannot wait to hear her talk about the ‘why’ of statistics. This presentation is for everyone.
Plant Walk and Harvest (12-1pm; in person): The folks at Redpath Museum have been huge supporters of Science Literacy Week since the beginning. There are limited spots available for this McGill garden tour.
Charting Numbers for Understanding and Communication (12-1pm; virtual): Our Assessment Librarian, Giovanna Badia, knows a thing or two about charts. I recommend this workshop if you have your own research project and want to learn about the different ways to represent results.
Learn to Spin! Drop-in and try out a 3D printed spindle (Drop in anytime from 2:30-4:30pm): This is me! I wanted to encourage everyone to try out our Library 3D printers, while simultaneously introducing this spindle spinning skill. Please drop by to chat about 3D printing or fibre arts, or try out a spindle yourself.
If you are looking for something relaxing this semester, McGill Visual Arts Collection invites you to a Science Literacy Week edition of their on-going De-Stress + Sketch series.
Our Science Literacy Week guide also has lots of virtual exhibits and links promoting resources and materials at McGill Library and beyond, including the wonderful Ocean School from the National Film Board of Canada.
Join us as we help spread the wonders of science Canada-wide!
If you can’t make it up to Osler Library, we have a touch table coming to Schulich Library tomorrow that will allow you to explore the Knowing Blood exhibit from Tuesday to Friday.
The fun with technology does not stop there, however, because we have 3D printing and learn to code workshops. You can also explore virtual reality technologies with the Oculus Rift. I will definitely be there for that.
I haven’t forgotten about the bees…we have hives on the roof of Schulich Library and they make the best honey. Take a visit up there with an experienced beekeeper.
There is more happening than I can mention here but I don’t want to leave out Wednesday’s Wikipedia edit-a-thon on women in science, or the talk from Dr. Joe Schwarcz on the facts and myths of eating right on Thursday afternoon.
I will leave you with the calendar of events to explore. Now if only we had transporter rooms… Well, there is always next year!
I liked watching “Star Trek: The Next Generation” when I was a teenager. I liked the character of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, who was a scientist, diplomat, and Shakespeare-lover all rolled into one.
The film, “Star Trek into Darkness,” started playing in cinemas this past weekend. As a homage to the movie, Phil Plait provides an amusing look at the science errors in the Star Trek franchise in his blog post, “The Top 6 Star Trek Science Mistakes.”
There is room for everyone in science and researchers are harnessing the enthusiasm of everyday people (not to mention their free time) to work on projects.
Galaxy Zoo is perhaps the most famous example of citizen science, with over 200,000 volunteers classifying galaxy images taken from a robotic telescope. Citizens have always played an important role in astronomy but now anyone can contribute without buying expensive equipment. We humans are needed to describe the images but the task is too large for a researcher or group of researchers to take on. Thus far over 150 million galaxies have been classified by volunteer astronomers (zooites) and a few have gone on to make really neat discoveries.
A more local example is Phylo, a citizen science project from McGill. A lot of these projects are actually games that people can play (yes, science can be fun!) and this one uses your pattern recognition skills to solve DNA puzzles in order to learn more about gene mutations and genetic disorders.
Who doesn’t like their fashion with a bit of high-tech functionality? From the lab to the runways of some of the most glamorous fashion shows, wearable electronics and other futuristic fabrications are catching people’s attention. I can’t decide which I like the best from this CBC image gallery of high-tech fashions: the solar paneled bikini or the cat ears that move around in reaction to my brainwaves.
While gearing up for the holidays, I found this entertaining video with Engineering Professor Larry Silverberg (a.k.a. Dr. Silverbell), from North Carolina State University, who explains how Santa is able to deliver gifts to children around the world in one night by modifying the space-time continuum and using nanotechnology:
I gave several workshops in the past two weeks, as did many of my fellow librarians. One of the topics we cover in our workshops is the importance of making the distinction between popular and scholarly literature, namely the difference between scientific articles that are written for the general public and those that are meant to communicate ideas and results of scientific studies among academic researchers. Today’s post is about a scientist who most certainly writes for the general public but is no less fascinating or important for it. Just don’t cite one of his popular publications if you’ve been asked to find scholarly and peer-reviewed articles :-/
Oliver Sacks is a physician, best-selling author, and professor of neurology at the NYU School of Medicine. He writes primarily about people with neurological disorders, but it doesn’t stop there. His latest book, Hallucinations, comes out in November and the title is pretty self-explanatory. If you’d like a taste, read an excerpt called Altered States from The New Yorker (Vol. 88 Issue 25, p40-47) published this summer. Just search for The New Yorker from the Journals tab on the Library homepage and then, from within the journal, search for this volume/issue and read it online. Easy! Oh, and here’s a video from The New Yorker of Sacks, in anticipation of his new book, discussing the hallucinogenic mind…
Check out some other classic titles in the McGill Library catalogue including: The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: and Other Clinical Tales and of course Awakenings, the book that the 1990 film of the same name is based on. Happy reading…