International Year of Chemistry, 2011

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International Year of Chemistry 2011

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Are Cows More Trustworthy Than Chemists?

Activity by Frances Sutherland   |   added on Jan 19, 2011   |   Canada Official_iyc_logo

Sponsor(s): Edmonton Section, Chemical Institute of Canada, Telus World of Science, Edmonton Science Outreach Network, Alley Kat Breweries

A public lecture presented by Dr. Joe Schwarcz, Director of McGill University’s Office for Science and Society, January 27 at the Telus World of Science, Edmonton, AB, Canada.



A story in Time magazine about the relative merits of conventional and organic produce featured a curious quote from a professor of nutrition education at Columbia University.  When asked if she preferred butter or margarine, she replied “I would rather trust a cow than a chemist.”  Unfortunately such negative comments about chemistry are not unusual these days as the lay press often focuses on “toxic chemicals” in our air, water, food and even in our blood.  It is incumbent on chemists, especially during the International Year of Chemistry, to put chemical risks into perspective for the public and to try and allay unreasonable fears.  An examination of some of the current chemical concerns  can provide background information to help present a realistic picture of chemistry to the public.





Joe Schwarcz is Director of McGill University’s “Office for Science and Society.  He is well known for his informative and entertaining public lectures on topics ranging from the chemistry of love to the science of aging. 
Professor Schwarcz has received numerous awards for teaching chemistry and for interpreting science for the public and is the only non-American ever to win the American Chemical Society’s prestigious Grady-Stack Award for demystifying chemistry.
He hosts "The Dr. Joe Show" on Montreal's CJAD and has appeared hundreds of times on The Discovery Channel, CTV, CBC, TV Ontario and Global Television.  Dr. Schwarcz also writes a newspaper column entitled “The Right Chemistry” and has authored a number of books, “Radar, Hula Hoops and Playful Pigs,” “The Genie in the Bottle,” "That's The Way The Cookie Crumbles," “Dr. Joe And What You Didn’t Know,” “The Fly In The Ointment” “Let Them Eat Flax” “An Apple A Day,” “Brain Fuel,” “Science, Sense and Nonsense” and “Dr. Joe’s Brain Sparks,” all of which have made it on to the best seller list.
He is also an amateur conjurer and often spices up his presentations with a little magic.  Dr. Schwarcz has been awarded the 2010 “Montreal Medal” which is the Canadian Chemical Institute’s premier prize recognizing lifetime contributions to chemistry in Canada.



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Topic: celebrating chemistry, chemistry education Audience: general public, students, teachers, educators, professional chemists
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