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2006 - Keynote Speaker – Dr. Joe Schwarcz

Keynote Speaker
Dr. Joe Schwarcz


No, there really are no cockroaches in chocolate ice cream. But one of my radio listeners did jump to this conclusion after misinterpreting what had been said about a certain food colorant. Being on one end of a microphone and in front of television cameras for over twenty years has afforded some fascinating insight into the public’s perception of science. It has also provided an opportunity to separate sense from nonsense in areas ranging from nutrition and medications to cosmetics and pesticides. This highly visual and entertaining presentation examines some serious as well as some frivolous experiences in dealing with the public and emphasizes the importance of fostering critical thinking.

Dr. Joe Schwarcz
Director, McGill Office for Science and Society

Joe Schwarcz (PhD McGill 1973) is Director of McGill University’s Office for Science and Society which is dedicated to demystifying science for the public, the media and students. He is also a professor in the chemistry department and teaches nutrition and alternative medicine in McGill’s Medical School. Dr. Schwarcz is well known for his informative and entertaining public lectures on topics ranging from the chemistry of love to the science of aging. He has received numerous awards for teaching chemistry and for interpreting science for the public. Among these are the Royal Society of Canada’s McNeil Award and the American Chemical Society’s prestigious Grady-Stack Award.
Previous winners of the Grady-Stack have included famed science writer Isaac Asimov, New York Times columnist Walter Sullivan and Don Herbert of TV’s “Mr. Wizard” fame. Dr. Schwarcz is the only non-American ever to be honored with this prize. His latest award is the Royal Canadian Institute’s Sandford Fleming Medal.

“Dr. Joe” appears on the Canadian Discovery Channel, TV Ontario, Global Television, CBC-TV, CTV-TV and various radio stations. He hosts the “Dr. Joe Show” on Montreal’s CJAD and Toronto’s CFRB every Sunday from 3-4 PM. He was also the host of “Science To Go,” a 13 episode show on the Discovery Channel that focused on common foods. Dr. Schwarcz writes a weekly newspaper column in the Montreal Gazette entitled “The Right Chemistry” as well as a monthly column in Canadian Chemical News. He was the chief consultant on the Reader’s Digest best sellers “Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal” (2004) and “The Healing Power of Vitamins, Minerals and Herbs” (1999) and contributed the chemistry chapter to the best-selling “Mental Floss.” His book “Radar, Hula Hoops and Playful Pigs,” published in 1999 was a Canadian best-seller. “The Genie in the Bottle,” also a best-seller, was published in May, 2001. “That’s The Way The Cookie Crumbles” was released in November, 2002 and made the best-seller list in its very first week. It also received the 2003 Independent Publishers Award for science books. “Dr. Joe and What You Didn’t Know” another best-seller, was released in December of 2003. “The Fly in the Ointment” was published in August, 2004 and his latest work “Let Them Eat Flax” appeared in November of 2005. The books have been translated into five languages and are sold around the world. Dr. Schwarcz was awarded an honorary Doctorate degree from Athabasca University in the spring of 2002.


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