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From laser shows to mind-control demonstrations: it's Science Odyssey!

From May 12 to 21, try 10 Concordia events that will pique your curiosity
May 8, 2017
By Elisabeth Faure


For the first time, Concordia is participating in Science Odyssey, a cross-Canada event organized annually by NSERC to promote science to people from all walks of life.

And the university is not going halfway.

Led by Kim Sawchuk, associate dean of Research and Graduate Studies for the Faculty of Arts and Science, and an intrepid group of graduate students, 10 events will take place across both campuses.

“If this has meant anything to me it is the possibilities that open up when you stage radically interdisciplinary collaborations across the sciences, the humanities and the arts,” says Sawchuk.

“This is like a petri dish, a microcosm, an experiment in what can happen when you bring different elements together in new combinations.”

Running the gamut from art exhibitions to laser shows, there’s something for everyone at Concordia’s Science Odyssey 2017. Here’s your handy guide.

Science and art combined

Across both Sir George Williams and Loyola campuses, the Lab Life Image Gallery will exhibit visuals captured in Concordia science labs. They depict a broad range of research, from wildlife studies to brain imaging.

Running for the duration of Science Odyssey, the gallery will allow visitors to view the beauty of science in a whole new way.

“This indicates to our science community the expertise and interest of our artists and cultural critics in what they do — and forging new alliances,” says Sawchuk.

When: May 12-21, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex (EV) Atrium (Sir George Williams Campus), and the Richard J. Renaud Science Complex (SP) Atrium (Loyola Campus)

Learn more.



Amazing lasers!

Lasers from Loyola’s lab facilities have been transported to the Sir George Williams Campus to allow the public to observe how nanoparticles interact with light.

“Fiat Lux: Let there be light” will give viewers an up-close look at how scientists are using this laser-driven technology to find more effective ways to diagnose and prevent disease in the future.

When: Friday, May 12, 12 to 4 p.m.
Where: J.A. DeSève Cinema foyer, J.W. McConnell (LB) Building (SGW Campus)

Learn more.

CO2 — love it or fear it?

Scientific heavyweight Geoffrey Ozin, widely considered the founder of Canadian nanoscience, will discuss the carbon dioxide challenges facing the world. He will ask whether science can transform this often-feared compound into renewable fuel.

“Jar of Fears: Do we fight CO2 or embrace it?” aims to provoke discussion on this timely topic.

The event will also feature opening words from Concordia’s president Alan Shepard, remarks from NSERC Québec manager Robert Déziel and presentations by both Sawchuk and Christine DeWolf, chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

When: Friday, May 12, 5 p.m.
Where:  J.A. DeSève Cinema (SGW Campus)

Please note: this event is invitation only. A cocktail reception will follow.

Learn more.


Science for all ages

Concordia’s Loyola Campus will open its doors to children of all ages for Jr. Science Odyssey Day, designed to showcase science to younger audiences (grown-ups are welcome, too!).

Organizers are hoping to instill a sense of wonder and curiosity in visitors, and perhaps inspire a few budding scientists to pursue a career in STEM. In true Concordia spirit, visitors will be encouraged to get their hands dirty with a variety of interactive experiments.

The event already has Buzz — the beloved Stingers mascot will be on hand to interact with visitors and promote a healthy and active lifestyle.

When: Saturday, May 13, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: SP Atrium (Loyola Campus)

Learn more.

It’s alive! Learn what’s in your yogourt

What’s REALLY in your yogourt?” invites participants aged 10 and older to try their hand at isolating microbes that are normally invisible to the eye on petri dishes. They’ll also learn about the microbes present in products we use or consume every day.

The hands-on workshop, led by communication studies PhD student Maya Hey, will be followed by a tour of the Speculative Life Lab. Participants will be invited to view the results of their work at the Odyssey’s May 18 art exhibition.

When: Sunday, May 14 from 1 to 4 p.m.
Where: Rooms 11.725 and 10.835 of the EV Building (SGW Campus)

Learn more.


Climate countdown

For five consecutive days during Science Odyssey, the public will be able to view a projection of the Climate Clock on Concordia’s Sir George Williams Campus.

It’s a project created at the Human Impact Lab and headed by musician David Usher and Damon Matthews, professor of geography, planning and environment in the Faculty of Arts and Science.

The clock counts down in real time to when the earth is expected to surpass 2°C above the pre-industrial global temperature, which experts indicate will make the effects of climate change irreversible. It was previously projected at Concordia in 2016, and viewers are invited once again to witness the effects of climate change.

The Climate Clock will also be screened as a video clip, which will play on digital screens across both campuses throughout Science Odyssey.

When: May 15 to 19, all day
Where: The J.A. DeSève Cinema foyer (SGW Campus)

Learn more.

Beyond Disciplines — and beyond science!

The Faculty of Arts and Science signature public event series, Beyond Disciplines, closes out a smash second season by teaming up with Science Odyssey to look at worlds where science and fiction collide.

Science Facts and Fiction!” will feature a range of Concordia science experts looking at everything from superhero powers (can Dr. Spock put people into comas with a nerve pinch?) to the undead (is zombie infection realistic?) to mind control (yes, it’s apparently possible, and you’re going to see a real-life demonstration).

Get your superhero or supervillain on and learn how science and popular culture may — or may not — be related.

“The Odyssey is about breaking down misconceptions about the scientific enterprise and showing its profound links to all aspects of our culture, including pop culture!” says Sawchuk.

There will be a science fiction–themed reception to follow featuring interactive exhibitions.

When: Tuesday, May 16, from 5 to 7 p.m.
Where: Room 1.605 of the EV Building (SGW Campus)

Learn more.


Eye-popping art, featuring the Cabinet of Curiosities

Science-themed works of art will take over the fine arts side of Concordia’s EV Building during this afternoon event. The multi-level exhibition will showcase interdisciplinary works of all kinds.

Visitors must check in at the marble table located near the Mackay Street entrance to receive their maps for the exhibition tour.

Inspired by the cabinets of curiosities during the Renaissance era, this event will include a scientific journey through time, featuring equipment from over a century ago up to today’s state-of-the-art lab technology.

Held in the EV Building foyer, the Cabinet of Curiosities will allow guests to witness how science has evolved.

When: Thursday, May 18, from 12 to 7 p.m.
When: EV Building (SGW Campus) Reception to follow (18+)

Learn more.

PERFORM joins the fun

This year’s PERFORM Centre Research Conference is being held under the Science Odyssey banner. Now in its fourth year, the conference will examine the topic of “Physical Activity and Aging: Multidisciplinary Applications.”

The event will feature leading experts in preventive health from around the world.

When: Friday, May 19, from 8:15 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.
Where: PERFORM Centre (Loyola Campus)

Learn more.

The ultimate goal?

Sawchuk hopes Science Odyssey will open up new ways of perceiving and talking about science.

“We need this now, in our society: spaces for discussions of science in dialogue with ethics, politics and art.”

And, she says, all the credit goes to the students.

“Most of all, this highlights the amazing students we have at Concordia. They have made this their project. They have really learned from each other, and they continue to amaze and impress me.  Not only are they mixing it up: they are shaking it up!”


These Science Odyssey events are supported by the Office of the Provost and the Office of the Vice-President, Research and Graduate Studies.

Find out more about Science Odyssey at Concordia, May 12 to 21.



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