THIS WEEK: Congrats to Dr. Roshan Achal (from University of Alberta), who had just convocated at the time of recording! In this episode, he tells us about the work he does, organizing, corralling, and placing individual atoms for nano-devices. We also talk about is 90-second video series on Twitter, and Science Communication at large.
CHECK OUT: Roshan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheSmilentist (@TheSmilentist)where you can find his 90-second physics videos
AMPLIFY: A few links for you this week. Working on the nano-scale requires a strong understanding of quantum physics; check out Dr. Charles D Brown II, (@CDBrownII) who I had the pleasure of meeting last year. He is a brilliant quantum physicist from Yale, currently doing a post-doc at UC Berkley. Also, for more materials science, Dr. Lyndsey McMillon-Brown (@DrMcMillonBrown) is building solar-cells at Yale and just recently had a project accepted to be sent up to the International Space Station! Follow for that clean energy tech. Lastly, my friend Karmela wrote about the virtual meeting held by the American Physical Society regarding racial inequity in physics and in our society. Spoiler: we aren't doing great.
Thanks for listening! If you enjoyed this episode, subscribe to our channel on YouTube , Anchor and our email list at www.scientificanada.ca .
THIS WEEK: Gracielle grew up in Brazil immersed in science (communication). Her dream has always been to be a scientist by day, and writer by night. She currently studies computational ecology at Université Montréal, and we talk about her work, communicating science, and the difficulties English Second Language (ESL) researchers have. Some of her work includes organizing SciComm training with IGNITE.
CHECK OUT: SciComm in Portuguese: https://github.com/graciellehigino/divulgacao-cientifica-pt/blob/master/lista.md… (ap.mcmaster.ca/mcauth/login.jsp?app_id=1505&app_name=Avenue)
SciComm training: https://github.com/graciellehigino/IGNITE… https://ignitescicomm.comIf (https://ignitescicomm.com/)
email: graciellehigino [at] gmail [dot] com
AMPLIFY: I dug into ecology twitter and found a research group focusing on ecosystem health using computer modelling led by Dr. Samniqueka Halsey (https://twitter.com/Samniqueka_H) that's currently looking to recruit M.Sc students (https://twitter.com/theHalseyACELab). Also check out Danielle N Lee's (https://twitter.com/DNLee5) article on diversity and inclusion in behavioral ecology (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0003347220300890?dgcid=author). And for something really unique, check out Asia Murphy (https://twitter.com/am_anatiala) , a scientist who is also writing an ecological fantasy novel (https://www.patreon.com/am_anatiala)
Thanks for listening! If you enjoyed this episode, subscribe to our channel on YouTube (https://youtu.be/971JN4g-dmE) and our email list at www.scientificanada.ca .
THIS WEEK: Sarah Turner studies Community Health Science at the University of Manitoba, focusing on breast milk, epidemiology, and health promotion. Her work in science communication stems from interest in science policy and advocacy. We talk about her research, scientific/non-scientific writing, and she gives some tips for writing your first OpEd.
CHECK OUT: CHILD study: https://childstudy.ca/ Quick tips for writing your first OpEd: https://evidencenetwork.ca/resources/write-a-snappy-oped-2/ Twitter: Sarah = https://twitter.com/SarahTurner11 , and the Azad Lab: https://www.azadlab.ca/
AMPLIFY: If you want to learn more about the science of infant health and breastfeeding, Sarah recommends following Kimberly Seals Allers. Check her out on Twitter (https://twitter.com/iamKSealsAllers) or her website, (https://twitter.com/washingtonpost)
Thanks for listening! If you enjoyed this episode, subscribe to our channel on YouTube (https://youtu.be/971JN4g-dmE) and our email list at www.scientificanada.ca .
AMPLIFY: This week Tareq introduced me to a few brilliant neuroscientists on Twitter. Give them a follow:
@jarildy @futuredrdukes @danne_phd @RackebT
THIS WEEK: Tareq is a Ph.D candidate at Dalhousie University studying Neuroscience via the retina of fish. He is attending ComSciConCan-2020 (a virtual science communication meeting run by grad students, for grad students), and I got the chance to meet him before the conference to talk research, communication, what he hopes to get from the conference, and a little bit about blue light filtering glasses (among many other things).
CHECK OUT: Tareq has a nutrition podcast! No BS Nutrition: https://linktr.ee/nbsnpod
Also check out Open Think blog: https://blogs.dal.ca/openthink/author/tareq-yousef/
And of course follow Tareq https://linktr.ee/tareqneuro !!
Thanks for listening!
Shawn has been writing covid-related grant proposals and Adam has been running at-home labs for first-year physics students. Adam shows off the best way to organize your spaghetti.
We are are YouTube! Subscribe to never miss an episode! https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3yvaNqkpRZD_yvpkxolfIkwrdmb27C5N
Dr. Jacobs is an assoc. professor at the University of Guelph studying seabird ecology, with what I would call an extra special focus on mentorship, knowledge transfer, and equity in academia. We talked about academia's response to the "C" word; the opportunities but also the long-range issues it may cause. You HAVE to listen to this one.
Follow Dr. Jacobs on Twitter: https://twitter.com/shoshanahjacobs
Watch the interview on YouTube: https://youtu.be/kxwvuI6xRAs
If you haven't already, please subscribe to the podcast and our YouTube channel. It really helps!
The Science Sucks x AlmaMAC collab we've all been waiting for! Ive Velikova is a Science Communicator who did her undergrad at McMaster, started the Science Sucks radio show, and is juuuuust completing Canada's only Masters program focusing on Science Communication (at Laurentian). Adam and Ive talk all sorts of SciComm, and discuss the Masters program. It sounds cool!
For part one, check out Ive's podcast: Science Sucks !
Follow Ive on Twitter!
** pintofscience.ca **
Alexandra Gelle is a Ph.D candidate at McGill University studying green chemistry. But today, we are talking about Pint of Science Canada 2020! Alexandra is the Director of the Canadian arm of the international festival, and it's coming up NEXT WEEK. We talk about some of the exciting talks you can tune in for next week, including the SCIENCE OF SEXTING (did I get that right?!), MAKING CLOUDS AT HOME, BEING AN ASTRONAUT and a tonne of other topics. It's totally free, but you have to sign up at www.pintofscience.ca
Ben Davis-Purcell smashes particles at the Large Hadron Collider as a part of ATLAS. He is also giving a talk as part of the Pint of Science Canada Festival next week. Tune in for a sneak peak into Ben's research, a discussion about whether space or the ocean is scarier, and curdled-milk cocktails.
To see Ben's talk, register here (it's free, but you have to register): https://pintofscience.ca/
Follow Ben on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BenDavisPurcell
Watch the interview on YouTube:
The Maillard reaction what makes a lot of foods taste great. When sugars and proteins are heated, they created a cascade of delicious molecules that make toasted bread so nice, seared steaks so satisfying, and coffee drinkable. The Maillard reaction usually requires heat, but in some cases (sparkling wine), it doesn't. The reason is still a mystery.
Whiskey is one of those drinks that seem to command a higher price the older it is. As a whiskey ages, things happen to its chemical makeup that changes, making it more desirable to whiskey-lovers. However, having to age a product for years means high quality whiskey production requires a huge investment in both time and money. But what if you could get the same effect without having to wait years and years? What if whiskey could be artificially aged by blasting soundwaves at it?
On this episode, Adam talks to Hannah Charnock about her work in various beverage industries, studying how the Maillard reaction affects the end product of some of our favorite fluids. They also talk about her upcoming Pint of Science Canada talk, where she will be presenting some of her work on the aging of whiskey.
[Hannah is working toward an MSc at Brock University's Cool Climate Oenology & Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), focused on investigating the impact of sugar-type on Maillard Reaction (MR) associated flavours in sparkling wine under supervision of Dr. Belinda Kemp & Prof. Gary Pickering.] (https://www.linkedin.com/in/hannah-charnock/?originalSubdomain=ca)
Adam has put his PhD on hold for a semester to help emergency-redesign some of the first-year physics labs at McMaster. Because of COVID, the summer term will have to take place all online and at home. On this episode, Adam shows off the ultra-minimist kit he's helped design (to be mailed to students), and walks Shawn through a few of the experiments.
(Originally broadcast on Instagram LIVE. Visit us on Thursdays at Noon at www.instagram.com/almamac_radio )
Arthur Michaud has a Ph.D from the University of Strasbourg in France, in developmental Biology. He is now working at Institut Pasteur France. He is also an extremely active science communicator. Arthur and Adam talk about what seems to be a societal difference between science communication in the French-speaking world compared to Canada.
PS: Pardon the audio. I was/am experimenting with webcast audio. We are all doing our best in these Trying Times (tm).
Dr. Karen Kwon is a recent chemistry graduate from Columbia University, and freelance science writer. I talk to Karen about being named a AAAS Mass Media Science&Engineering Fellow which includes a 10-week placement at Scientific American, gaining writing experience, being a "journalist" rather than "communicator", and freelance writing from her temporary home in Vermont.
LIGO, writing for Scientific American, a bit of Ed Yong fanboying, and maybe.. just maybe... the birth of a new project?
SciAm article: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/mind-the-mass-gap/
Twitter profile: https://twitter.com/Sumeet_kul
I had the chance to talk to Dr. Karmela Padavic-Callaghan about the brave new world of virtual conferencing and how it's making science more accessible. The conference she attended was SCIENCE TALK '20.
Pretty much everything has shut down, and a lot of people are trying to work from home. Adam and Shawn hosted an Instagram Live show where they talked about the difficulties they are having with staying motivated, and how importance of face-to-face time with other people. Keep it up everyone, we'll get through this.
On episode 161 Adam talks to Hilary Caldwell, a kinesiology PhD candidate at McMaster University. One of the things Hilary is involved with is developing the concept of "Physical Literacy".
From wiki: Physical literacy is a fundamental and valuable human capability that can be described as a disposition acquired by human individuals encompassing the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding that establishes purposeful physical pursuits as an integral part of their lifestyle. For more info, Hilary recently had a paper published (open access!). Or check out wiki:
Shawn talks with Celeste Suart from the Truant lab about ataxia! Find out more about ataxia research at SCAsource and Huntington's Disease at HDBuzz which her lab also works on. Read more about how SCAsource was started here.
If you want to reach out to Celeste on Twitter, you can find her here @suartce and she's open to collaborations! Feel free to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved!
It's a big "Communicating Science" week at the AlmaMAC!
Shawn asks Adam about an article he got published called Researchers play with elastic bands to understand DNA and protein structures. It was written for non-experts, but is laying the groundwork for a presentation Adam is giving next week in Denver. Shawn and Adam also talk about the lecture they gave on Monday about how hard it can be to know your audience and package up your research just for them. Shawn briefly talks about the SciCommTO conference held last weekend.
Matt is in the Hoare Lab studying drug delivery with nanoscaled particles for cancer treatment. He's also the winner of McMaster's 3MT in 2019! Watch his winning talk here.
That really long word he used is poly(oligoethylene glycol methacrylate) and you can read more about its applications in the Hoare lab here.
Tweet him @CampeaMatt and his supervisor @HoareLab!
On Monday, Adam co-moderated the 2020 McMaster Researchers' Night. The topic was FOOD, and included four panelists from diverse research backgrounds. Adam had a chance to sneak a question or two in during the evening and got some audio from the event. Have a listen!
The panelists included:
- biophysicist and expert in molecular gastronomy: Dr. Christophe Lavelle from the National Research Centre in Paris, France
- Dr. Geneviève Sicotte from Concordia University, Montréal, professor in literature and expert on the representation of food,
- Dr. Parmjit Singh, PhD Psychology and expert in mindfulness at McMaster University,
- Dr. Tina Moffat, professor of anthropology and lead of community-based research projects in Hamilton.
The event has passed, but some of Adam's posts about the researchers are still available on Facebook. If any of the panelists piqued your interest, read more about them there.
See you next week!
Dr. John Bandler is back this week to talk about the Three Minute Thesis Competition. He is hosting a workshop to help get you started on THURSDAY FEBRUARY 13th, and in anticipation of that, is here with Adam to dissect some award-winning examples, like Canxiu Zhang’s (Brainwave Analysis for Stroke Detection) and Daniel Tajik’s Microwave Holography for Medical Imaging.
For the full experience, make sure to follow us on YouTube where we will be posting the full interview including video of the presentations.
Check out the School of Graduate Studies’ YouTube channel for more videos, too.
Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a university-wide competition for graduate students in which participants present their research and its wider impact in 3 minutes or less to a panel of non-specialist judges. The challenge is to present complex research in an engaging, accessible, and compelling way, using only one static slide.
For more examples, and some other workshops Dr. Bandler has hosted, find him on YouTube.
Never miss an episode, and be the first to know when new episodes come out (we have a super-special episode coming out on Friday) by following us on Instagram and Twitter! We actually post there now!
Here's the deal. You can get a 45 minute workout done in 10 minutes... but it's going to be tough.
Billy Bostad is working towards a PhD in McMaster's Human Performance Lab. His work focuses on the physical responses everyday people have to extremely short, intense bouts of exercise, and how to encorporate this type of exercise into a healthy lifestyle that anyone can benefit from.
We also learn about how Billy found physiology at Guelph, earned a MSc in it at Queen's, got a job, then left to pursue his PhD at McMaster.
You can follow Billy on social media (Twitter + Instagram).
If you are interested in his work, you can email him directly (bostadw at mcmaster dot ca).
If you are reaaaaally interested in his work, check out the Human Performance Lab! I betcha they are recruiting students and volunteers.
Shawn had a chapter from his thesis accepted, to be published in Cancer! Hear about going from side project to accepted, with all the iteration and uncertainty in between.
But first, we talk about commercial gene sequencing company 23andMe developing and selling drugs based on their customers' data. Also - the coronavirus has been found in the US. No confirmed cases in Canada though several travelers are being held for observation.
Matthew Jordan graduated from McMaster's Arts & Science Department, earned two Masters' degrees at Oxford, and came back to teach McMaster undergrads about the history of science, and history, policy, philosophy, and ethics of Artificial Intelligence. Adam and Matthew talk about those things, plus music, and performing improv!
Follow Matthew Jordan on Twitter.
Follow The AlmaMAC on Twitter and Instagram.
Follow Adam on Twitter.
Watch the interview on YouTube this Friday.
"Scientist He Jiankui showed the world how human embryo editing is relatively easy to do but incredibly difficult to do well." (read more here).
Adam and Shawn discussed this case, what CRISPR can be used for, the use of CRISPR in somatic vs germline mutations and overall the ethics of this case.
What happens when a cyclone tears through a spider's habitat? It gets mad. Like, generational anger. A grudge that gets passed down through their DNA? This year I am transitioning from graduate student to science writer, and I have successfully pitched my first paid article! It's based on an interview I've been sitting on for a few months. The full thing will be released closer to the article, but here is a taste of what to expect!
Be sure to follow scientificanada on your favorite podcasting app, and leave a rating if applicable!
We are now on YouTube for those who would prefer captions to read along with! I am also hoping to start putting up some video content in 2020. Like-Comment-Subscribe!
Finally, you can follow me on Twitter @adamfortais
The whole team is here today! Hear what Matt, Shawn, and Adam have been up to this semester (getting awards, giving away thigh muscles. "Matt-leave", etc.), an interesting fact about Rhianna, and what your hosts are planning for next semester (a field trip to SciCommTO?)
Did you know we have a podcast channel with nearly 30 episodes from 3 different shows, including old episodes of The AlmaMAC? Listen here!
Emily Sirotich has got to have the hardest job. She is trying to create evidence-based protocols for when patients with a rare bleeding disorder come into the emergency ward. These are usually life-or-death situations, but because of the rarity of the disease, there is very little evidence in the literature for which to base a protocol off of. Emily tells us the techniques she uses, including retroactive studies, that let her make strong, science-based recommendations for treating these patients.
Tara is a 2nd year MSc. student in Dr. Heisz' Neurofit Lab in the Department of Kinesiology. She studies how physical activity and sleep interact as a protective measure for cognitive function
Find out more about her lab's previous work on exercise intensity for improving memory here as well as the paper she mentioned throughout the interview about how physical activity impacts sleep and cognition here.
If you are interested in helping her recruit participants, please contact her with her contact information below:
Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Hamilton Ontario has been dumping sewage into our protected wetland consistently for 4 years via a leaking sewer. When city council found out, they chose to cover it up rather than address the issue. The Hamilton Spectator broke the story on November 20th, and I go through some of the information they dug up, including a Timeline of Events written by Matthew Van Dongen. Then I talk to Thea Kozakis, a climate scientist who took the city of Ithaca to task on their climate policies. Hey Hamilton, let’s do the same.
Amanda Farias Zuniga is a soon-to-graduate PhD candidate in the kinesiology department focusing on biomechanics. Recently, Adam volunteered for one of her studies which involved simulating carpal tunnel in his right arm. In this episode, Adam and Amanda talk about carpal tunnel, the details of that study, and graduation!
Follow Amanda on Twitter or check out her publications!
Also consider following Adam on Twitter. To listen to more sciencey stuff, check out scientificanada wherever podcasts are found.
This episode is a bit of a deviation from the norm. Graduate students who work as Teaching Assistants are part of a union (CUPE 3906). The union was set to go on strike starting next Monday, but in light of a new tentative agreement, the strike may be avoided. Host Adam is a member of the strike committee, and talks to undergraduate Andrea Klaver about how things have progressed since the summer. Adam also talks about a magazine article he has been working on.
You can listen to CUPEcast, Adam's other show for union updates here.
For more information about the union and potential strike, go here.
Follow Adam on Twitter!
Michael is a 2nd year MSc. student in the Parise Lab in the Department of Kinesiology. He studies how Omega-3 supplements can help in muslce repair in elderly. Find out more about his lab's previous work here. If you are interested in helping him recruit participants, please contact him with his contact information below:
Mobile: (647) 808-5893
Spoiler: Conciliation didn't go anywhere. We will be in legal strike position by the end of the month. Here's what you need to know this week.
You can follow Adam on Twitter @adamfortais
This week Adam talks to Ben Pearce about his PhD work studying the origins of life. But he wasn't always a physicist...
Ben first graduated with a degree in electrical engineering. Like many, he was enticed by the nice pay and began working in the oil industry, but was never really passionate about engineering. This lead him to Berlin, where he realized, through long conversations with some interesting a brilliant young people like himself, the Big Questions like, "where did life come from" were questions he could totally pursue. So he came back to Canada, earned a degree in astronomy, and ended up here at McMaster in the Origins of Life Institute.
Follow Ben on Twitter
Follow me on Twitter
If you like what you hear and want to help support the show, please visit our Patreon.
Tuesday is the big day. Conciliation is happening this Wednesday, and as such, there is very little to report in terms of bargaining, so this one is pretty short. Adam briefly talks about one of the important bargaining points, paid pedagogical training, and why the University should be pushing for this harder than we are. Adam also talks about the Six Nations Polytechnic school that CUPE 3906 has agreed to help support (it's really cool!)
For more bargaining news, head to https://bettermac.ca/
*** Note: I may have said conciliation is Wednesday. It is actually Tuesday.
It's the AlmaMAC Halloween Spooktacular, and this week Adam and Matt tell two terrifying tales.
Adam tells a story of a man found guilty of murdering his wife and that blood splatter that got him, 35 years ago... and why, perhaps, the investigators were wrong after all.
Then, Matt talks about a slime that learns and teaches by fusing with and incorporating other slimes within itself. Matt terrifies Adam with the idea that the students he TAs might try to eat him for his knowledge.
For more on blood and the real homicide case, click here, and here.
For more on that marvelous, terrible slime, click here.
And hey! Make sure to follow the AlmaMAC on Twitter. You can also follow Adam, and be sure to subscribe to Scientificanada on your favorite podcast app to have access to back episodes of the AlmaMAC, and hear new episodes of some new shows like CUPEcast, Adam's CUPE3906 TA Union podcast.
Have a spooky and safe Halloween!
This week we bring you up to speed on McMaster's Board of Governor's meeting, and hear from CUPE 3906 President, Nathan Todd.
A few important dates:
General Member's Meeting: October 30th at 12:00 pm in BSB 108
Conciliation begins: November 5th
CUPE strike training: Nov. 15 from 9 am to 5 pm
Tafadzwa Machipisa is a 3rd year Ph.D. student in the Population Health Research Institute (McMaster) and Hatter Institute of Cardiovascular Research in Africa (University of Cape Town, South Africa).
She currently investigates genes that are involved in predisposing people to rhematic heart disease with populations on the African continent.
Find out more by listening to this podcast and read up about her labs here:
Tafadzwa's Master's Research
Dr. Pare's research
The Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology Laboratory (GMEL)
Prof. Mayosi's research
Prof. Mark Engel's research
Welcome to CUPEcast, a show about CUPE 3906 , the union for McMaster TAs, RAs, sessionals, postdocs, etc. In this first episode introduces the reason behind this podcast, introduces your host Adam, and will bring you up to date on the bargaining between McMaster and Unit 1.
Looking to help?
Let’s keep this momentum going!
Reach out to your Department Chair or Executive Committee for letters of support like those linked above.
Similarly, if you are involved in an organization on campus that supports our bargaining priorities, ask your fellow members for a public statement of support!
Use social media to increase pressure on McMaster to return to the table ASAP. Our Twitter and Facebook accounts tend to have lots of content for sharing.
You can also take a picture with the #BetterMac window sign and tag us on these platforms. Visit BetterMac.ca for a copy of the sign, or drop by the Union Office at Kenneth Taylor Hall, room B111 to participate.
Sign & Share our Petition!
JOIN THE STRIKE COMMITTEE!
All are welcome + the kind of work will vary. There is something for everyone!
Next meeting: Wednesday, October 23 | 12 PM – 1PM | Mills Library Room L304 (third floor)
Please note: This committee is ratified after every strike vote and is generally tasked with organizing pickets and other essential duties that arise in the unique event of a strike. Forming this committee does not mean that we are any closer to having to call a strike. It simply means that we are making the necessary preparations, just in case.
For a complete list of past bargaining updates, click here.
The Unit 1 Bargaining Team
WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) and the SciGSA are hosting a very exciting talk on Tuesday, October 22nd. They are hosting Dr. John Bandler, decorated engineer and passionate science communicator, who will talk about the Ethics of Science Communication.
This week I talk to Rachelle Ho (ex-WISE president) and Dr. Bandler about the event coming up, and how to ethically speak about science and research. We all want to tell a riveting story, but what you say and what people hear aren't always the same...
Sign up to attend in advance here (but if you just show up, it'll be ok.)
Follow Dr. Bandler and Rachelle on Twitter!
Follow me on Twitter if you wanna!
Thank Boonie personally, for supplying music to the show at Boonie.Rocks
The Canadian (American) Federal (Presidential) elections are looming. This time around it seems like there is just as much discussion about the integrity of the candidates as there is about the media reporting on the candidates [cite]. #fakenews has become a globally recognized hashtag, one-line-comeback, and an agonizingly slippery threat to democracy [cite]. By exploiting human psychology, the news industry is constantly presented with a shape-shifting slew of threats to its integrity.
Today I talk to Dr. David Venus of the Physics and Astronomy department at McMaster about the need for media numeracy, and what he's doing to help (teaching a course on it).
For details about the course, see the description here.
I mentioned some of Dr. Venus' opinion pieces. They are here and here.
Hey, you can follow me on Twitter @AdamFortais !
And be sure to follow us on your favorite podcasting app (eg. Spotify, Apple, Google...). I've started posting back episodes under the new flag Scientificanada. No specific announcement yet, but do note that I re-introduced this episode under a different name... :)
This week we heard from Biology Ph.D. candidate, Adrian Forsythe and he told us all about his research with white nose syndrome in bats!
You can follow him on Twitter at @adrian_forsythe.
Read his latest findings on how adaptation occurs within White Nose Syndrom pathogen Pseudogymnoascus destructans among strains in eastern North America here https://aem.asm.org/content/aem/84/16/e00863-18.full.pdf
If you like what you heard, want to chat, or maybe want to be a guest, let us know on Twitter @almamac_radio or by email at email@example.com.
Today's guest was Shane Simon, a PhD student from the MiNDS Program in Psychology. We discussed the differences between the graduate neuroscience program and psychology program at McMaster (vote PNB!) as well as his research on the development of inhibitory neural circuitry!
Find out more about Shane Simon on his podcast: GET LEARNT at https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/get-learnt
This week I went for a walk and stood in a line with Sian Ford from the Earth Science department. We talked about her research on the origins of life. Specifically, how “lipid membranes” (the things that surround all the important junk in your cells) could have formed. We also talked about all the birding she does in her spare time!
You can follow her on Twitter at @sianford
I opened the show with a quick announcement of the winners of the 2019 Ig Nobel Prizes.
If you like what you heard, want to chat, or maybe want to be a guest, let me know on Twitter @adamfortais or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
See you next week!
I hung out with Carmen Lee (a fellow soft matter physicist) at one of our favorite places to study and she told me all about Soapbox Science (an outreach event in Toronto that she will be presenting at), and a really cool Nobel Prize conference she got to attend in Germany.
Note: We had some microphone difficulties about halfway through the episode this week. Sorry!
Hamza joined my lab a year ago. In his undergrad, he did some horrible things to microwaves, and wonderful things to grapes. Here, watch this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGX289yjew8
His work on grape plasma went viral. https://www.altmetric.com/details/55788275/news
We then talked a little about the Ig Nobel prizes, and why researching fun questions can be useful. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ig_Nobel_Prize
Completely unrelated, ever wonder what Earth would be like if it were made completely out of blueberries? Blueberry world: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1807.10553.pdf
Follow Hamza on Twitter, and ask him about anything! Grapes or non-grapes. Whatever! https://twitter.com/hamzakhatt
Placenta is an incredible organ, and Christian Bellissimo tells us why.
I guess I kind of always though the placenta was like the white of an egg. Oh boy was I wrong!
Of course we know that early life stressors, including those during pregnancy, impact
long term health of the baby. Usually we think smoking or drinking, but maternal obesity is also something than can affect the child. Christian and I talk about his work trying to understand how changes in development of the placenta may increase the risk of offspring disease later life.
You can tweet questions to Christian here.
You can read about the work that goes on in the Sloboda Lab (where Christian works) here.
Aaaand... I joked about placenta recipes on the show, but I don't think I'm going to share any links. Use your judgement. Or consider getting on the list to donate it?
Arsenic is bad for you. It can be found in large quantities in rat poison, and it can be found in smaller (but still dangerous) quantities in groundwater. This is of particular concern in South-East Asia, and more specifically Bangladesh, where citizens have been developing cancers, skin lesions, and other horrible effects due to long-term arsenic exposure. But unlike many water contamination issues, human's aren't totally to blame!
This week we welcome Reisa San Pedro, a 2nd year MSc student in the Geography and Earth Sciences department at McMaster University. We discuss the origin of the arsenic, why it's dissolving in the groundwater, and what's being done to better understand and avoid arsenic contamination in these affected countries.
For more details on her work, you can visit her supervisor's website.
PS. Reisa is defending her MSc in September! Wish her luck! (not that she needs it...)
Connor studies hard condensed matter. This is a branch of physics that might not take centre stage in the media, but is at the heart of nearly every technology you interact with daily.
Despite all of the useful things that have come from this area of physics, Connor studies "fundamental" questions. That is, he tries to solve problems that don't necessarily have no applications, but are at least not application-driven. And that is not just "Ok", that's absolutely necessary for science to work . Connor tells us why he does what he does.
Here is a nice description of hard condensed matter.
B U R N O U T
How to tell:
Matt Berry: To treat burnout you will need to stop working. Rest. Seek counseling and/or medical help. You need to lower your expectations of yourself and virtually eliminate what others expect from you. Find activities that relax you and being you joy and focus on those for a start and detach yourself from work if you can. Ultimately, because work is about expectations (either self-imposed or set by others), I believe that you can continue working and recover from a burnout slowly over time (it is not a quick fix). But eventually you will be able to manage it all again. You got this, I believe in you. Take it easy on yourself.Activity: if you're anxious or depressed and have a hard time getting your work done split it up and tackle it. Make a list of things from 1-100 of what you need to accomplish and start tackling them. Pick one or two big things like a paper or presentation and split it up into 100 little pieces to finish. No piece is too small. When you're done you won't have just done one thing you will have done 100! You got this!Modules:
Adam put together a podcast! Random Walk is a podcast about interesting stuff Adam finds that doesn't quite fit into the format of The AlmaMAC. In this episode, Adam had a chance to interview Dr. Joe Kim, wherein they discuss the theory of "multiple intelligences", the myth of "learning styles", and how Dr. Kim applies research-based techniques to his first year course.
Follow Dr. Kim on Twitter here
and Adam here.
Matt talks to co-host and PhD candidate Adam Fortais about the experimental physics research he does.
Adam studies "soft condensed matter", or, squishy things. Specifically, he is working with thin elastic fibers (10x thinner than a human hair) to understand how everything from undersea cables, to DNA, to your headphone cables respond to different stresses.
This is a video of Adam's supervisor describing the exploratory work they do in the lab.
Adam talks about DNA supercoiling, one of the major inspirations for his current work. This is a short (bio-heavy) description.
And finally, while all this looping is cool, it can damage your cables if you aren't careful. Here is some practicle advice on how to avoid damaging cables (not actually Adam).
You can follow Adam on Twitter here or check out his blog at www.fortais.com
Adam and Matt talk to recent graduate Shay Freger about Arthur, the Amorphophallus Titanum, aka, the Titan Arum, aka, the Corpse Plant. This plant, a roughly 6-foot behemoth, typically blooms only once every 7 or so years... and guess what! It's blooming right now!
You can watch a nice, succinct description of the Titan Arum by NPR here.
If you want to dig deeper, Wikipedia has a very good intro to to Titan.
There is an extremely long video of a plant blooming "live" from a while ago here. Fast forward to hours 73-119.
If you would like to visit the green house at McMaster or volunteer (anyone from the community is welcomed), the hours and location are posted here. And be sure to follow the greenhouse on Facebook and Instagram to hear about upcoming events and plant sales.
Be sure to tune in Thursdays at noon at 93.3 CFMU or at http://cfmu.ca/shows/57-the-almamac to hear the show LIVE!