McGill University Office for Science and Society
801 Sherbrooke St. W.
Hey! There Are Cockroaches in My Chocolate Ice Cream!
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.
Joe Schwarcz (PhD McGill 1973) is Director of McGill University’s Office for Science and Society, a unique enterprise dedicated to demystifying science for the public, the media and students. Dr Schwarcz also teaches a variety of courses with emphasis on health issues and on the application of chemistry to everyday life. He is well known for his informative and entertaining public lectures on topics ranging from the chemistry of love to the science of aging. Using stage magic to make scientific points is one of his specialties.
Professor Schwarcz 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. Schwarcz was also awarded an honorary Doctorate degree by Athabasca University in the spring of 2002.
“Dr. Joe” has appeared hundreds of times 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 hosted “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” and “The Healing Power of Vitamins, Minerals and Herbs” and contributed the chemistry chapter to the best-selling “Mental Floss.” His books “Radar, Hula Hoops and Playful Pigs,” “The Genie in the Bottle,” “That’s The Way The Cookie Crumbles,” “Dr. Joe and What You Didn’t Know,” “The Fly in the Ointment” and “Let Them Eat Flax” have been best sellers. The books have been translated into five languages and are sold around the world. “An Apple A Day,” was released in January, 2008 and became the #1 Canadian national best-seller after just three weeks. “Brain Fuel” was published in September 2008.