Don’t Panic

Advice from Science Undergraduate Society President Neil Issar

Neil Issar is majoring in Biology with a minor in Anthropology. He is shown here with Martin Grant, Dean of Science. Photo: Owen Egan.

Neil Issar is majoring in Biology with a minor in Anthropology. He is shown here with Martin Grant, Dean of Science. Photo: Owen Egan.

For those entering McGill in September, you will begin walking on a well-traveled road paved with opportunities for learning, insight, and understanding. For those returning to McGill for another year, you know that the road is more akin to rapidly shifting quicksand, filled with impending deadlines, absurdly thick textbooks, and haemorrhage-inducing papers. However, for both new and returning students, I’m going to quote some straightforward words of advice made famous by Douglas Adams: Don’t panic. (more…)

Computers Everywhere

Martin Grant, Dean of Science

Martin Grant, Dean of Science

There has been at least one unnoticed revolution in modern science: computers. When I was a young assistant professor in the 1980s, physicists suggested that we further split the discipline from our self-conscious dualism (theorists and experimentalists) and add a third category of computer modelers. With hindsight this seems quaint. Computational work has superseded any self-conscious categorization, and is now completely integrated into the work of all theorists and experimentalists, and indeed the work of all scientists. (more…)

May Convocation Photos, Afternoon Ceremony

Front row (left to right): Adina Feinberg, Madison Dennis, Carl Nagy, Ioan Filip, Stephanie Teo, Jessica Douglas. Back row (left to right): Timothy Johnstone, Vincent Larochelle, Julia Evans, Philippe Sosoe, Martin Grant (Dean of Science), Kiril Mugerman.

Front row (left to right): Adina Feinberg, Madison Dennis, Carl Nagy, Ioan Filip, Stephanie Teo, Jessica Douglas. Back row (left to right): Timothy Johnstone, Vincent Larochelle, Julia Evans, Philippe Sosoe, Martin Grant (Dean of Science), Kiril Mugerman.

Here are pictures of the Faculty of Science’s honorary doctorate recipient, as well as some major undergraduate prizewinners, following their B.Sc. graduation at the afternoon Convocation ceremony on May 25, 2009. The students are shown with Dean of Science, Martin Grant; or with the Dean and some of their family members. Congratulations to all graduating students! (more…)

May Convocation Photos, Morning Ceremony

Front row (left to right): Laura-Isobel McCall, Jean-Daniel Lalande, Susan Bragg, Joshua Gurberg. Middle row: Daniel Blum, Jean-Sébastien Doucet, Martin Grant (Dean of Science), Adam Fontebasso, Back row: Kiyoko Gotanda

Front row (left to right): Katherine Velghe, Jean-Daniel Lalande, Susan Bragg, Joshua Gurberg. Middle row: Daniel Blum, Jean-Sébastien Doucet, Martin Grant (Dean of Science), Adam Fontebasso, Back row: Kiyoko Gotanda

Here are pictures of the Faculty of Science’s honorary doctorate recipient, as well as some major undergraduate prizewinners, following their B.Sc. graduation at the morning Convocation ceremony on May 25, 2009. The students are shown with Dean of Science, Martin Grant; or with the Dean and some of their family members. Congratulations to all graduating students! (more…)

From Star Trek to Dark Trek

Astrophysicist Vicky Kaspi Reviews the new Star Trek film

Prof. Vicky Kaspi

Prof. Vicky Kaspi

Professor Vicky Kaspi, McGill’s Lorne Trottier Chair in Astrophysics and Cosmology and Canada Research Chair in Observational Astrophysics, is an internationally respected expert on neutron stars. Her list of accomplishments include, most recently, being the first to witness the cosmic act of recycling, involving a dying pulsar devouring material from a nearby companion star. Kaspi, once an avowed Trekkie who credited her early interest in science to the original Star Trek television series, gladly agreed to review the new Star Trek film for us.

Star Trek, the cliché goes, is all about the characters. As much as I hate clichés, I tend to agree with this one. The original series had an interesting, natural mix of people that made their interactions plausible and recognizable. (more…)

Many Years From Now

Martin Grant, Dean of Science

Martin Grant, Dean of Science

More than 100 years ago, the 20th century ushered in a golden age of science, technology, and scholarship. This golden age was so deep that it is almost incomprehensible to think many key figures of the time—such as Albert Einstein, Vladimir Lenin, Sigmund Freud, and Marie Curie—were contemporaries, sharing their views and rubbing elbows together, in the same cafés, conferences, and colleges.

However, the luminaries involved in all that change at the cusp of the 20th century were not all European. Indeed, one of the brightest stars of the time was a Canadian from Knowlton, Quebec named Reginald Fessenden. Fessenden was an inveterate tinkerer, an inventor almost without parallel. Among his hundreds of patents, the most famous was his method of down-shifting radio waves, improving their resolution and strength, thereby allowing radio to be used for the first transmission of voice over the ether, the progenitor of modern telecommunications. (more…)

Blog authors are solely responsible for the content of the blogs listed in the directory. Neither the content of these blogs, nor the links to other web sites, are screened, approved, reviewed or endorsed by McGill University. The text and other material on these blogs are the opinion of the specific author and are not statements of advice, opinion, or information of McGill.