Greetings from the Dean
Welcome to Alumni Corner! You’ve reached a space designed especially for Faculty of Science alumni like you. Here you’ll find in-depth coverage of exciting research, profiles of faculty, students and alumni, news about current campus events and a close-up look at some of the cool items scattered around the McGill campus. Plus, at Alumni Corner, you’ll find a host of easy links to other places you may find of interest (including my blog) on the Mcgill Web site.
On behalf of the Faculty of Science, I invite you to come in, make yourself at home, and look around. Also, feel free to leave comments or suggestions on how to make this space more interesting and relevant to you and your fellow alumni.
Dr. Martin Grant, Dean
What’s happening on campus
Top gun teachers
Professor David N. Harpp is the Sir William Macdonald Professor of Chemistry and holds the Tomlinson Chair of Science Education at McGill University. During his over 40 years with the Faculty of Science, he calculates he has taught over 50,000 students and supervised 33 graduate students.
If you have kids (or were ever once a kid yourself) you are likely familiar with the super-bouncy balls sold in toy stores, and handed out in party favor bags. Specifically, you know how much fun they are to play with.
Do you remember
Students and visitors to McGill’s downtown campus in the early 1960s will remember a massive building site at the corner of Sherbrooke and University Avenue – the new Otto Maass Chemisty Building was under construction.
Here are a few trivia questions to test your wits. The answers can be found in this newsletter. Take a moment to respond, and then check the answers page to see how you did.
1) What is the name of the McGill Bird Mascot shown here?
2) Where does the “nano” in nanoscience come from?
3) The atmosphere is vitally important to climate. What is the other major factor?
4) Males process pain differently than females – true or false?
Tools of the trade
Every science needs the right tools to move it forward. For astronomy, the crucial tool was the telescope, for biology, the microscope. Now, nanoscience — the science of the very, very small – is coming of age, thanks in part to tools developed at the McGill Nanotools Microfabrication Lab (MNM).
Spotlight on department
What is the weather going to be like tomorrow? This winter? How about ten years from now? How serious are the threats posed by climate change, and what, if anything, can we do to prepare for them? Studying these difficult questions – and educating people about possible answers — is the focus of McGill’s Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (AOS).
Why do some people feel pain more than others? Why do painkillers help some people but not others? Answering these complex questions is the research focus of Dr. Jeffrey Mogil, McGill Psychology Professor and E. P. Taylor Chair in Pain Studies.
A McGill degree in geological science was the start of a very successful career in the Canadian petroleum industry for Brian Mills. Three decades after graduation, Mills is giving back to McGill in a big way with a donation that helps support undergraduate science research here.
Focus on student research
When Victor Chisholm was an undergraduate student at McGill in the 1990s, his uncle suggested he get a summer research position with a professor. “I thought they would only hire graduate students,” Chisholm recalls. “I didn’t even bother to apply. Instead, I spent the break from school working at a retail job.”