Research in the park

Catching some rays and expanding your mind don’t have to be mutually exclusive activities. As part of the city’s 375th anniversary celebrations, an offbeat noontime lecture series is getting local researchers out of their labs and into public spaces throughout the Montreal core. Six McGill researchers are participating in Les midis Ville-Marie, discussing topics that range from designing a sweeter-sounding city to cracking the universe’s deepest secret.

As part of the City of Montreal’s Vive 375 programming, UQÀM’s Cœur des sciences centre is presenting a free series of 24 “informal, playful and participatory” presentations called Les midis Ville-Marie. Hosted by theatre students, each noontime lectures features a researcher from a Montreal university or institution. These offbeat outdoor events take place in public spaces throughout the Ville-Marie borough, which includes downtown and the Old Port. The series runs until October 4, 2017.

McGill biology professor Louis Lefebvre presented the fourth instalment in the series on June 7 – he talked about the intelligence of pigeons while standing, appropriately, in bird-friendly Phillips Square – and there are five more noontime lectures by McGill researchers to come:

Énigmatique énergie sombre (June 28): Astrophysics PhD candidate Gabrielle Simard will shed some light on dark energy, one of the biggest puzzles in the cosmos. (Place Pasteur)

La tempête sous le radar (July 19): Frédéric Fabry, professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, will discuss how radar lets us see into the heart of storms. (Place Jacques-Cartier)

Dans les bras de Morphée (August 9): What happens to our bodies while we’re sleeping? Dr. Diane B. Boivin, Director of the Centre for Study and Treatment of Circadian Rhythms at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, unlocks the mysteries of 40 winks. (Parc de l’espoir)

Vers une sixième crise d’extinction? (September 13): Biodiversity loss is increasing at an unprecedented pace. Andrew Gonzales, Director of the Quebec Centre for Biodiversity Science, discusses the causes and impact of these extinctions, and what we can do to change the planet’s current course. (Location to be announced)

Halte au vacarme! (October 4): Romain Dumoulin is an acoustician and project manager at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology (CIRMMT). He will discuss how the sounds of the city affect our well-being, and offer some ideas for the future of urban sound design. (Location to be announced)

See the Les midis Ville-Marie website for the full schedule – and don’t forget the calendar of McGill activities celebrating Montreal’s 375th and Canada’s 150th anniversaries.