By Jonathan Yazer
Wearing a tie made entirely
from refrigerator magnets, Bob McDonald, host of CBC Radio's
Quirks and Quarks, gave a presentation entitled Miracles or
Mad Science: The Love/Hate Relationship Between Science and
Society at Talbot College theatre Tuesday evening in front
of approximately 150 people.
Using simple language and a host
of analogies, McDonald began by explaining the intricate process
that allowed the audience to physically hear what he was saying.
For Jocelyn Tindale, a third-year chemistry student at Western,
this was the best part of the speech. "He was very engaging," she
"It's amazing what we know about sound waves and light,
knowledge that comes from institutions like this," McDonald
said."But there are some things science doesn't know, like
how the sounds we hear become a thought. We think we're so
smart, but our ignorance is so much greater than our knowledge.
Science has to be open-ended enough for change."
reviewed some of the greatest scientific moments in history,
including the accurate measurement of the Earth's circumference
by Eratosthenes over 2,000 years ago and the discovery of DNA
50 years ago.
"No one has a clue how gravity works. If we did,
we could turn it off or reverse it. We don't understand the
most fundamental force keeping you in your chairs," McDonald
Turning his attention to the environment, McDonald
explained "Earth has been frozen, baked and hit, and has experienced
five major extinctions. I'm not worried about its resiliency.
I'm more worried about us."
Ultimately, however, McDonald's
outlook was optimistic: "I think we can survive."
a second-year engineering student, concurred with McDonald's
ideas. "The most promising technology is the hydrogen-fuel
cell. We just need more initiative," he said.