Our Annual Banquet 2009

Photo Album of Banquet Pictures

The annual McGill-Montreal Chapter Banquet Speaker Dr. Robert Boily winner of the 2008 John P. McGovern Science and Society Award presented the lecture in the McCord Museum Bombardier lecture theater at 6 p.m. on Friday the 17th of April. He Surveyed the development of the information era in the last twenty years. He said that "Since the 1980s, we truly live in the « society of knowledge »… a period of time marked by the rapid evolution of computers and information technologies in general. This has resulted in profound changes in the way we see, use, work and interact with knowledge. In the history of Humanity, there has never been more accesses to scientific information than today : journals, books, magazines, television, radio, DVDs and, of course, the Internet. This is very good news for the democratization of science, as more and more people can be informed about research activities from all over the world. However, serious problems have also resulted from the overabundance of information (also called « infobesity »). The growth and quality of scientific information are now out of control for the most part. In recent years, even peer-reviewed publications had their share of problems regarding credibility, and the public opinion was affected negatively as some very unfortunate events were revealed in the mass medias. Because the population is better informed, we have seen in recent years numerous pressure groups being created to keep a close eye on scientific research. This lecture will present some of the main challenges that scientists have to face in this new reality."

The talk was followed by a lively discussion in which the sequence of information giving after it had been fully analyzed and interpreted what could be called knowledge that further distillation of the knowledge could give wisdom. Many of the graduate students took part in this discussion lasting over forty minutes. Dr. Zackary Jacobson the Northeast Regional Director also took a lively part in the discussion. He attended and gave a report on the Sigma Xi Society in general.

Crossing the road to Le Caveau our favorite haunt for the Banquet climbed the stairs to our private room and whetted our apetite at the bar! The meal then commenced and the introduction of new members followed and excellent main course and a good report from our Treasurer. Zackary Jacobson the north east regional director gave us an update on Sigma Xi Headquarters and the Sigma Xi Centre. Dr. Peter Roper the winner of the Evan Furgusen Award for dedication to the Society was introduced by Prof. M. A. Whitehead who outlined all the work that Dr. Roper had done both in the Chapter and as a Director of the Society including the time that he had to deal with a report sent in by Prof. Whitehead to headquarters and then went on sabbatical leave. Dr. Yelon asked Dr. Roper to explain his research into arousal in airplane pilots. He explained how pilots brains became more active (hence aroused) when dealing with take off, landing and unexpected events while flying. It was interesting to learn that experienced pilots did not experience such arousal during routine operations while their inexperienced collegues were aroused.

The new members present, signed the McGill-Montreal Sigma Xi Chapter book and were presented with the chapters certificates of membership: Alexis Goulet-Hanssens and Ben Akih Kumageh. Our former President Prof. Juan Vera was presented with an inscribed pewter mug as appreciation for his service to the Chapter. The evening concluded with an outlook for the future by the President Prof. M. A. Whithead and an excellent fruit tart for dessert.


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