2012 Spring Lecture Series

What’s the next big thing?

Physicists, scientists and other innovators across the globe are developing prototypes for the materials, medicine and computers you’ll use tomorrow.

How will their discoveries in materials affect your daily life, your health and longevity, the way you communicate and travel?

Sign up today for six weekly talks on the future of your everyday life and home.  

Part two of “The next 20 years” lecture series will address how earth-changing innovations will affect climate, global economies, population and the world order. Stay tuned for details.


Friday, March 30, 2012

The extraordinary potential of small but mighty nanomaterials

Geoffrey Alan Ozin

In the 20th century, materials science drove technology, profoundly altering our everyday lives. Now, we’re embracing the next revolution: the science of nanomaterials—materials with dimensions on an atomic and molecular scale. Consider the meteoric evolution of palm-sized devices that connect us wherever we are. Find out how nanomaterials in fuels, chemicals, plastics, pharmaceuticals, targeted cancer therapies and more are reinventing our world today and in the future.

Geoffrey Alan Ozin is Distinguished University Professor at the University of Toronto, and a founding fellow of the Nanoscience Team, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. In 2011, he won the Albert Einstein World Award of Science for research that benefits humanity.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

New ideas in transportation could change the way you travel

Merrilees Willemse

Where are you going and how will you get there? As more people share our space, the demand for flexible mobility increases. How will transportation innovations move people and goods? How will they combine convenience with lessening the impact on our environment? How will ideas from around the
world solve North America’s biggest transportation challenges,
while transforming your commute?

Merrilees Willemse is an urban planner in Toronto. She has worked on transportation projects across Canada. She is currently working on the Gardiner Expressway and Lake Shore Boulevard reconfiguration and is part of the MOVE! Transportation Charrette, examining the 10 biggest transportation challenges in the GTA.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tomorrow’s computers may be only skin-deep

Michael Terry

Will computers become as ubiquitous as light bulbs and electrical outlets? Will they be embedded in our bodies, walls, furniture, plumbing fixtures, and store shelves? Computers are
predicting our wants, needs and desires, our health, and our actions, even helping us compose novels, songs and other forms of art. The very notions of authorship and creativity will undergo radical changes as computers take even more active, collaborative roles in the culture of tomorrow.

Michael Terry is associate professor at the Cheriton School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo, where he co-directs the human-computer interaction lab. His research examines how to make computers easier to use by applying techniques from design, machine learning, and data mining.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The art of the future: is all the world a stage?

Paul Hoffert

Music was the canary in the digital mine for the arts and entertainment industry. As the first artistic genre to navigate a sea change of digital formats―CDs in 1980, web in 1993 ―how will the music industry survive? How will musicians, filmmakers, actors, writers, and entertainers transform their medium to embrace new models? With the Internet democratizing entertainment, will actors still perform live and writers still seek publishers?

Paul Hoffert is digital media professor at York University, and former faculty fellow at Harvard Law School. He is a recording artist, performer, author, film composer, and cofounder of the rock group Lighthouse. A former colleague of Marshall McLuhan at the University of Toronto, he uses McLuhan’s frameworks to present a vision of arts and entertainment in the next 20 years.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Will nanotechnology in medicine lengthen your life?

Sylvain Martel

From witchcraft to vaccines, medicine has entered an era that merges physics and computer technology to unleash the power
of atoms, molecules and genes. Recently, the field of nanorobotics has demonstrated that by linking nanotechnology,
robotics, and current cancer therapy, new agents can navigate
our vascular network to deliver advanced medications directly to a tumour. Will nanoparticle treatments replace chemotherapy as a weapon against common cancers? Will the progress in gene therapy cure genetic diseases, such as cystic fibrosis?

Sylvain Martel is professor in the department of computer and software engineering, and the Institute of Biomedical Engineering, and is both director and founder of the NanoRobotics Laboratory, École Polytechnique de Montréal. He pioneered several innovative technologies, such as the first parallel computing platform for remote surgeries.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

How social networking will inevitably change what it means to
be you

Nora Young


You may already be living in the future. Perhaps you use Facebook to share things you “like” with people in your social network. For many of us, daily life in the Internet age increasingly involves putting out a stream of seemingly trivial data about our movements, behaviours, tastes and patterns. What are the implications of the confessional culture of “oversharing” on the Internet? The information we generate about ourselves will not only affect our self-understanding, but also the world at large, where our data can be used for big business and the greater good.

As host and creator of CBC’s “Spark: Tech, Trends and Fresh Ideas,” Nora Young pursues her love-hate relationship with technology, culture and armchair sociology on radio, on television, in print and online.