BALL Events Archive

Title Description Date
Small is Big: Nanotechnology and Nanomedicine
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There has been a significant push in recent years toward the development of new ways to produce and store energy, generate interesting and useful materials and to diagnose and fight disease, by harnessing the potential of things at the nanoscale. There is certainly a lot of potential and a lot of buzz around all things “nano”.  But what is really going on?

This lecture provides an overview of several nanotechnology and nanomedicine examples and explores the opportunities, challenges and pitfalls of going small to tackle big problems.



Mar 13 2017
Climate Change: Around the World and Here at Home
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Climate change is now the greatest challenge facing our civilization. The scientific consensus is clear: human activities have pushed atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations higher than it has been for millions of years. We are now entering a domain beyond human experience. Evidence of our changing climate is all about us, most notably by rising insurance costs and disruptions due to extreme weather. I will describe what climate change is and review the most recent scientific results on global warming. I will show how our climate is changing here, where we live. I will discuss some of the predicted impacts on our planet and on our societies. I will introduce you to the ‘Six Americans' and discuss why so few among us are concerned about the changes that are coming. Is it too late? No, there is still time on the Carbon Clock. Is there anything we can do? Yes, we can become more resilient.

Nov 7 2016
Special Lecture - Patterns of Change: The Arctic in the Modern Era
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Profound changes are affecting the Arctic today.  The ecology is facing dramatic change as the climate warms. Social structures have evolved rapidly for the Inuit, from a nomadic culture to one that is now characterized by urban communities, with attendant challenges and problems.  The Arctic has become an important focus for national geopolitical gamesmanship.

What is happening in the Arctic today will have significant ramifications on the national and global scene for years to come.  For many Canadians it is still a land that is largely unknown.  This lecture provides an overview of this remarkable place, its landscapes, its people, its challenges and its promise for the future.

Feb 25 2016
Special Lecture - Ukraine, the West and Russia: Where do We Stand Now?
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Much has happened since April 2014 when Professor Black spoke to BALL members about the crisis in Ukraine.  This address will serve partly as an update and partly as an explication of the international manifestations of the crisis. What are the temporary and permanent consequences of the tragic events in Ukraine -- for Ukraine and for its neighbours?  Have international alignments shifted? Has it impacted the much heralded 'global economy' ? Have sanctions vs. Russia worked? Will anyone benefit? Will everyone lose? So many more questions; so few answers -- so much to think about!

Oct 19 2015
Reflections in the Hall Of Mirrors: American Movies and the Politics Of Idealism
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American movies have come to echo the secret aspirations and dashed expectations of the country’s deeply divisive elements. This series examines how key American movies from the last sixty years reflect the political and cultural ideals of their time. The series starts by considering movies made in the early sixties when John Kennedy, newly elected President, announced a New Frontier. The series concludes with a look at movies made after Barack Obama was elected in 2008, amidst a new wave of idealism.

To view the list of film clips presented during these lectures, visit Reflections in the Hall of Mirrors Filmography.

Sep 14 2017 to Oct 19 2017
Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven
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The Group of Seven, also known as the Algonquin School, was a group of Canadian painters formed in 1920. Believing that a distinct Canadian art could be developed through direct contact with nature the Group of Seven is best known for paintings inspired by the Canadian landscape.  They initiated the first major Canadian artistic movement.


Mar 2 2017 to Apr 6 2017
Beauty and Belief: Art and Philosophy in Eastern Cultures
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Beauty and Belief is an exploration of the connections between art and spirituality in South and East Asis, mainly within Hindu and Buddhist traditions.  It investigates the creation and symbolisim of religious art and its use in community and private practice.  Along the way, the series explores a variety of art forms including ritual objects, paintings, sacred space, poety and other media, uncovering the intriguing links between art, ritual, philosophy and spirituality.  

Jan 12 2017 to Feb 16 2017
The Poet and the Astronomer Seek Meaning in an Expanding Universe
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“The world is large-

                                    It contains multitudes.

                                    I look with all embracing eyes

                                    And tell you what I see.

                                    Do I contradict myself ?

                                    Very well, I contradict myself.

                                    If you are not bedazzled yet

                                    Look differently, and marvel !”

“Leaves of Grass”

Walt Whitman


Modern scientific discoveries have shed considerable light on the questions of how did it begin and how did we get here? However, it is only when science, concerned with “knowing” and poetry, concerned with  “feeling”, converge, do we come closer to a complete picture of ourselves and our place in the Universe. These components of our human experience are not mutually exclusive but complementary. No wonder the night sky is the hunting ground for scientists, theologians, philosophers and poets.

Oct 20 2016 to Nov 24 2016
Peace: Its Meaning and Achievement
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Project Ploughshares is an unwavering beacon for peace in the world.  Several of the outstanding “voices” associated with this organization, share their expertise regarding the complex and ever-changing realities that are part of the challenges that constantly confront the pursuit of peace in the world. 

Sep 8 2016 to Oct 13 2016
Our Beautiful Baffling Brains
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The human brain is the source of our thoughts, perceptions, actions, and memories. It confers on us the abilities that make us human, while simultaneously making each of us unique. In this golden age of brain science neuroscientists are making significant leaps in understanding the brain. Advances in neuroscience over the last decade allow us to envision a comprehensive understanding of the brain in action, spanning molecules, cells, circuits, systems, behaviour, and even thought.

Note: No Lecture April 7, 2016

Mar 3 2016 to Apr 14 2016