I really have to give those guys at McGill University’s Office for Science and Society credit. They’re fast. Remember how I pointed out that I’ve been away at the Lorne Trottier Public Science Symposium? This year, the theme was Confronting Pseudoscience: A Call to Action, and I got to share the stage with Michael Shermer, Ben Goldacre, and, of course, our host, “Dr. Joe” Schwarcz. Sadly, I couldn’t stay to see The Amazing Randi do his thing yesterday evening, but at least I did get to have breakfast with him before I left.

In any case, the reason I have to hand it to Dr. Joe and his team at McGill is because they’ve already uploaded all the videos for symposium events. Here’s the main page with the videos (the 2010 Trottier Symposium occurred on October 17, 18, and 19), and here are the individual links:

And, because I can’t resist, here are some photos taken with various people’s cell phone cameras. First, we have a lovely poster of woo that I saw at the restaurant where we had lunch on Sunday and just had to snap a quick picture of:


Bummer that we missed the event.

Sadly, even the McGill University Bookstore is not entirely immune to woo. Fortunately, the alternative medicine section was quite tiny compared to the science and medicine sections, and Dr. Joe is around McGill to try to make sure that things don’t get too far out of hand. But it did exist, and Michael Shermer and I couldn’t resist mugging a bit with a reflexology book while Dr. Joe observed off camera with a bemused look on his face:


I also got to hang out a bit with Ben Goldacre, who is a really fun guy. Sadly, our schedule was so packed that I never got a chance to hit a pub and hoist a pint with him. I did, however, manage to persuade Ben that he really does need to check out a certain obscure British SF show from the late 1970s/early 1980s that continues to inspire a “friend” of mine:


I also got to meet Dr. Richard Margolese, who is a huge name in breast surgery, having been a major player in many of the classic NSABP studies that defined how we treat breast cancer today. Foolishly, I never got my picture taken with him, but you can see him in the roundtable discussion we had as proof that I was in the same room with him, at least.

Finally, here’s the crew:

From left to right: Dr. Joe Schwarcz, James Randi, Dr. Ben Goldacre, yours truly, Lorne Trottier, and Dr. Michael Shermer.

Not pictured is Emily Shore, who did incredible work organizing the event, herding the cats, and making sure speakers got to where they needed to be when they needed to be there. A great time was had by all, and I can’t begin to express how grateful I am to Dr. Joe Schwarcz, Dr. Ariel Fenster (to whose chemistry class I gave a talk on Tuesday), Dr. David Harpp, Emily Shore, and, of course, Lorne Trottier, who funds this conference every year and, I hope, will continue to fund it for years to come.


Posted by David Gorski

Dr. Gorski's full information can be found here, along with information for patients. David H. Gorski, MD, PhD, FACS is a surgical oncologist at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute specializing in breast cancer surgery, where he also serves as the American College of Surgeons Committee on Cancer Liaison Physician as well as an Associate Professor of Surgery and member of the faculty of the Graduate Program in Cancer Biology at Wayne State University. If you are a potential patient and found this page through a Google search, please check out Dr. Gorski's biographical information, disclaimers regarding his writings, and notice to patients here.